I was waiting to get my hair cut, and leafing through a magazine, when I came across a metal whistle. As part of my job, I have to carry a whistle, in case of emergency. I always find the idea funny, because if there is a true emergency, my mouth will be dry and I will be unable to breathe, so blowing a whistle is probably out of the question. But, it is part of the job, so I carry one.
So, this metal whistle caught my eye. It is from a site called Falling Whistles.
The copy said that proceeds went to help children affected by the war in the Congo. I don’t know much about the Congo, but I know that there are many places in the world that are war-torn … and it is the children who always suffer the most. So, I sent myself a text message to remind me of the name. This morning, I went to the website to see what it was about.
And it was about child soldiers.
The boys are given whistles and placed at the head of the advancing forces … they are supposed to blow the whistle to frighten off the enemy. But mostly, they are a fragile barrier between opposing factions, there to catch bullets before they can strike more valuable targets — as disposable as a paper towel.
I have heard about child soldiers before — and I find the idea terrifying. It is a bit of a misnomer to say that these children are soldiers, because they are cannon-fodder, nothing more. They are treated with a cruelty that is hard to understand. I look at those pictures and think of my sons, 16 and 8. Either of them could be in that situation except for a happy accident of birth.
So, gather your courage and read about Falling Whistles. If you are like me, you will feel outrage and impotence. You will feel gratitude for the safety of your children or children that you know, and grief for those who have never had the safety yours have.
I don’t know what to do for these children. I pray for an opportunity to help make their lives safer. But I do know this. I know that the evil that they suffer can only flourish because of darkness and in secret. When I read about the boys thanking God for the food that they received, I could not help but think of John 3:19.
“This is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”
If you can do nothing else, pray for these children, and all children, who are caught in the tides of war. They suffer greatly, and prayer is a more powerful force than we can possibly imagine. And maybe, do one small thing today that is good, in recognition of the burden that children bear. Because the evil that these children suffer is not specific to them. They are at the forefront of a larger battle. In that battle, they are valiant, and precious beyond measure. Any good that we do is a blow against that enemy, and every blow against evil leaves its mark.
“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
Good overcomes evil. The Light of the World overcomes the darkness. Although the war rages in the Congo, it is only a manifestation of the true conflict. And I have read the end of that story.