I remember his tears. Ethen is a seventeen-year-old boy who has faced over a decade of “the system” in over 20 placements. With tears, he steadied himself and stared directly at me. He said, “You have no idea what it is like to sit in an office with people on the phone trying to find me a place to stay, wondering if I will have a place tonight—or standing in front of a judge deciding where I will go. It is the loneliest feeling in the world. I have no one . . .”

(He collapsed with his head on his arms)

For Ethen, the hope of a family or adoption has faded, and now he faces becoming an adult alone.

There is a story in the Bible of a Man in the throws of a decision. He has gone to a garden with friends to pray. His friends are tired and sleeping, and this Man is praying alone. The Man is facing a life and death, heaven or hell decision. He is praying to God the Father. Is there a way to avoid the sacrificial suffering and death that He was facing?

In the garden, He is on his knees, rocking back and forth, fists clenched, heartbroken and in pain. His hair is plastered to his face, and his clothes are soaked with sweat, groaning in anguished prayer to the point of death. This Man is God. This Man is Jesus. You need to know there was an hour that even Jesus could not stand to be alone.

His options are clear: He can avoid the Cross and go to heaven without you. Or, He must literally go to hell for you. On the ground in the garden that night, I believe Jesus looked to the future and saw the gaping abyss of hopelessness for humanity. He saw every child who would face the desperation of being alone. Jesus’ decision took him to the Cross. One scripture says that He was thinking of future believers during those horrific moments.

Today, we celebrate the Cross and resurrection. Jesus’ choice provides for all of us a choice today. Regardless of our pain or our past, because of the Cross, we can have hope. Ethen can choose hope! Every neglected, abandoned, and abused child can have hope. Hope begins with the story of Jesus choosing the Cross for us.

Thank you for your allowing us to tell the story to hurting children. We choose hope today!!