On a cold Sunday many years ago, the local sheriff called me at my home. I was a teacher in a small town school and some of my students had been found unattended and deserted in their home. I was well acquainted with three of the boys who were in my class at school and there was also a sister and a baby. The sheriff found a lady, recently widowed, who had applied to run a foster home and she took all of the children to her home that very day. I never expected to see them again because it was in a different part of our county.
But I had a surprise in store! When Monday came I was at school when a car drove up and three boys came into the building. I did not know them but they went to my room. They had been transformed from poverty stricken unfortunates to three clean, healthy, beautiful boys. They had been at the low end of society, almost mentally handicapped, and I marveled. During the next few weeks I saw a miracle occur. Not only did their appearance change, but their school work improved and their self-esteem was completely overhauled. These three brothers who had ended up in the same class became socially acceptable with the other children. They were finally moved to a different school, but they continued to stay with their foster mother. Over the years, I heard bits and pieces of the boys’ doings and they were always positive. I know one of them was even president of his class in high school.
The lesson to be learned is found in changing a person’s self-esteem and environment. A person’s surroundings have been proven to alter or predispose them towards certain attitudes or weaknesses—failings that can affect their physical, emotional and psychological health. Many people of the world are victims to circumstance, but even those who are severely disadvantaged have been able to overcome trials and change their lives for the better. Sometimes all it takes is a change in surroundings—and a transformation of attitude.
Do you know that Almighty God, the God of the Bible, promises just such a change for the entire earth? A time will come when Jesus Christ will return and establish God’s Kingdom on earth (Revelation 11:15), and an equitable society will be set up where people will be unshackled from poverty, sickness, filth and squalor (Isaiah 65:20; Jeremiah 31:13; Ezekiel 47:1, 12).
They will be introduced to love, opportunity and a better environment, according to the prophecies of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me, to preach good tidings to the poor, He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1).
Who will be the teachers? Christ will not return alone (John 14:1-4). The world is full of a need to be cleaned up, fed and loved, and there will be those who are called now for the purpose of learning how, through suffering, to teach and comfort others who have suffered. This is the mission of God for the future.
In Isaiah 60:15, we read: “Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no one went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations.” Like the three brothers where I saw the miracle happen when they were at bottoms end, the earth and the people in it need change. The change I saw was temporary, but it proves what can happen when the environment is changed, whether it is the home of five small children, or the entire world.
Just look at the news today, to see how obvious the need for change is—but there is living hope, and it is being worked out—even as you read this. Remember this if you are struggling, perhaps even close to giving up. God might be calling you to be a part of that hope.