In a Neverland of misty mountains, cloud forests, and a thousand shades of green, there is a subculture of boys who will never grow up.
Boys who will never see more than a glimpse of childhood, yet will never understand what it truly means to be a man.
Chopping grass or chopping wood, working all day for their plates of beans, they will learn to survive, beg, and steal, but never to live.
Little men when they are young, and little boys when they are old.
These are the boys of the streets and of institutionalized care—my lost boys.
They are lost because they are unseen.
They will labor for food, as no child should, and go to sleep with their stomachs full and their hearts empty.
They may hear of love and try to earn it, but love cannot be earned and they will soon give up.
They may hear of God the Father, but what is a father to them but an adult-sized lost boy who screams or beats or leaves or throws them out?
They may hear about the family of God, but what is a family to them other than those who share a sleeping space, the roommates who steal their food and shoes, the ones they hope don’t hurt them when the lights go out at night?
They may hear “Jesus loves you” but what is love to them other than broken promises, and who is Jesus to them other than a name on a bracelet?
Strangers may visit and distribute gifts and hugs and promises, and for a few hours the void will seem filled.
Photographs may be taken and shared, and yet these lost ones will remain unseen.
And when the visitors and promises leave, tears will empty the void once again.
Until one day, they will no longer cry. The light that once sparkled in hopeful eyes will be replaced with a jaded indifference.
Labels will be placed on them now. Rebel perhaps. Liar. Thief. Or Lost Cause.
God sees them, and oh, how it hurts him that they are lost.
But they do not know that.
And as long as they believe they are unseen, they will remain lost.
Unless—there is someone willing to look.
Someone who is willing to oh-so-carefully remove those labels and look at them as if they were their very own children.
Someone who is willing to look deep into the eyes of each lost one and truly see him—not as a project, or a victim, or an orphan, or an experience, or a warm feeling, or a story to tell, or a photo op—but as a heart and a soul hungry for belonging.
Someone who is willing to acknowledge the unshakeable truth that the only way to become unlost—is to find Home.
Until then, they will remain in this Land of Never—never knowing childhood, never really growing up, never knowing the truth that they are loved and wanted by a Father who loves them freely and unconditionally.
Never knowing there is One who seeks them.
Never being seen.
My lost boys of Honduras.