Well, sometimes it takes a few days for jet lag to kick in! I suppose the weight of seeing so many beautiful human beings suffering the devastating impact of AIDS has combined with jet lag to bring me to a place of exhaustion. No worries – it’s nothing that a good nights rest won’t solve! But prayers are greatly appreciated.
One young girl – probably 19 or 20 years old – is lying in the hospital bed. The bed is really like a cot with a thin mattress. She is sharing the bed with another patient. They are ‘spooning’ to make room for each other. Her legs are nothing but toothpicks. Flies constantly land on her cheeks and she is too weak to swat them away. Can’t a person even die in dignity?
As I pray for this young girl, I reach down to place my hand on her shoulder. There is nothing left: nothing but bone. That is when the tears start flowing because I cannot help but imagine – what if this was my daughter? The thought is too much to process. Her strained grimace calms into a peace as she closes her eyes while I pray.
English is the official language here in Kenya even though many people speak Swahili – and Luo, the specific dialect here in Migori. So there is a good chance she understands what I am praying. Just in case, Pastor Ezra translates into Luo.
With some patients, you pray for healing because you see they are strong even if they are very ill. With this young woman, I cannot help but simply pray, “Lord, help Helen to know that YOU are holding her in this very moment; that YOU are carrying her; that YOU are caressing her; that YOU will carry her home; that YOU have a beautiful place prepared for her; that YOU are wholly present right here, right now.” Yet I can never cease to believe that our God is THE GOD of miracles and so I did also pray, “Please heal and fully restore Helen.”
Whether she lives or dies, she is IN CHRIST. I liked what one nurse said as Pastor Ezra asked permission for us to pray. She said, “Of course you can pray so long as you believe that there is ONLY ONE who heals: that is Jesus Christ.” Whether we live and are healed or whether we our broken bodies are healed in the presence of Christ, we WILL be healed.
This is an encouragement not only for those who may be seriously sick, but it is also an encouragement for those of us who are sick in other ways: sick from our sinful lives. YES, HE is the ONLY ONE who saves dirty, wounded, weak, needy, broken sheep like you and me. All this is simply to say: no matter where you are or what you have done, PRESS ON in Jesus Christ.
OK, a night of rest and then 2 full days of jabbering! Pray that my voice will hold and that God will allow me to speak – clearly and freely – by His Spirit.