As I read, listen, observe, and experience some of what is going on in the world on a regular basis, I become more convinced that we are in big trouble. Why? There is a shortage of genuine and experienced leadership in so many countries.

I want to ask, and perhaps it should be a new TV quiz show titled, “Who Can You Trust?” It takes a person of genuine character to be counted among those who really care about others. Where are the people, who, when they are wrong and have said or done something that hurts another person, are strong enough to say, “I was wrong? I am sorry? I apologize and ask for your forgiveness?”

Our world is filled with people who are emotionally, socially, politically, physically and spiritually hungry, crippled, suffering, discouraged and depressed. Their pain seems almost unbearable at times. Many seem to be near the breaking point. They wonder daily, “Is there anybody concerned enough to understand my situation and to care for me?”

We need men and women, and even those in the younger generation to care for those in need and to be strong enough in character to do something about their problems.

I recently read a devotional by the Rev. Dr. Melissa Pratt. She wrote about Christ and His cross and the last meal He had with His disciples. I now have a new definition for the word C-U-P: Christ Understands Pain. How many of us actually want to understand pain?

Pratt also told this simple, but touching, story about a young boy who bought a crippled little puppy:

“A farmer was sitting on the front porch one summer evening when the newspaper boy came. The boy noticed a sign, ‘Puppies For Sale.’ He asked the farmer, ‘How much do you want for the puppy, mister?’ He replied, ‘$25, son.’ The boy’s face dropped. ‘Well, sir, could I at least see them anyway?’ The farmer whistled and the mother dog came bounding around the corner of the house tagged by four cute puppies, wagging their tails and yipping happily.

“At last, another puppy came straggling around the house, dragging one leg behind. ‘What’s the matter with the puppy, mister?’ the boy asked the farmer. ‘Well son, that puppy is crippled. He doesn’t have a hip joint and that leg will never be right.’ To the amazement of the farmer, the boy reached for his collection bag, and took out a fifty-cent piece. ‘Please mister, I want to buy that pup. I’ll pay you 50 cents each week until that $25 is paid. Honest I will, mister.’

“The farmer said, ‘But son, you don’t seem to understand. That pup will never be able to run or jump. That pup is going to be a cripple forever. Why in the world would you want such a useless pup as that?’ “The boy reached down and pulled up his pant leg, revealing a brace, holding a weak, twisted leg. ‘Mister,’ the boy said, ‘That pup is going to need someone who understands him, to help him in life’.”

God is aware of and does understand your condition. Every tear, every pain, every mistake you’ve made, and every time you may have questioned, ‘God, where are You?’ He gets it. The words of Jesus echo across the centuries and become even louder in our day, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37) — simple instructions that most of us should be able to understand.

There are many people just like that little puppy, who need somebody to understand and help them in life’s struggles. Seen any crippled puppies (an analogy) lately that could use a loving hand?

— Contact Allen Stark at amsstark@msn.com.

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