Sunday, May 27, 2012



Romans 5:2-5

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

April came to a somber close with the loss of about 12 children.  As my heart was heavy from the losses, I spent a lot of time with the Lord in prayer struggling with how to rest in His ultimate plan. While knowing in my head that He works all things together so that His NAME goes forth to receive GLORY, my earthly eyes were struggling to see beyond my own tears.   The Lord could have responded to my prayers the way He did to Job during his suffering: “Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right? Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?”

Instead, the Lord was patient with me, opening my eyes to his POWER being displayed all around me:

Frederic came in to HBB without much hope of survival.  He had been hit in the head with a soccer ball a few weeks prior and was now having neurological deficits, felt to be related to a subdural abscess (infectious pus sitting under his skull).  A procedure was done to relieve pressure in his head but he remained comatose.   To make matters worse, the team felt like he had developed another abscess in his head that had to be drained, and a second trip to the OR was undertaken.  After 2 weeks without any movements and no medicines in place that were keeping him asleep, my expectations were low.  I was still dealing with the losses of several children in the hospital and I was counting down the days until we would be mourning his loss as well.  

But then, the Lord poured down his mercy and Frederic began to move his arms.  Slowly but surely, each day he became more and more awake until one day, he reached out to shake our hands and smiled.   A few weeks later, he walked out of HBB without any assistance.

For about 7 days this little girl remained in our Pediatric ward suffering from severe meningitis, seizures, and malaria.  Each day I spoke with her sweet mother explaining her daughter’s serious condition and possibility of death.  We spoke about God’s goodness and power, as well as His provision for us during trials.  We prayed for healing while also praying to be able to accept the possibility of Lord’s choice to withhold his healing power.  I explained to her that we were giving all that was medically possible, but that her daughter was gravely ill.   If her daughter was going to leave the hospital, the Lord would have to intervene beyond earthly medical wisdom.  I felt myself trying to “protect” the Name of Jesus, not wanting her to think Jesus was not powerful when her infant died. 

Three days after that conversation, the little girl opened her eyes and looked into mine as to announce, “I am here!” and her mom carried her home on her back 2 days later.

The Lord reminded me that day that he doesn’t need me.  His hand is far reaching and His ways are always higher than my ways.  He spares the lives of some despite our lack of resources or knowledge, and others are taken away despite “perfect” medical care.  He doesn’t NEED me….but He has INVITED me here to JOIN HIM in His work.  HOW AMAZING!  How freeing.  

And this work, is spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ for which there is no greater HOPE:

“For God so Loved the World that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3:16-21

Last week a healthy baby girl was born and the new dad could not be prouder.  He explained to me that she was going to grow up and get a “good education in the United States.”  I smiled and said that she better come back to Togo afterwards and help her country.  The next day the little girl was going home.  I used to ask for what the baby’s name was, but naming of children in Togo doesn’t happen until much later (weeks or even a month later after they are more sure the infant will survive) so I stopped asking.  In the mean time they are given names that are based on the day of the week they were born.  But when this dad saw me he stopped me and said, “We want you to give her a name.”  I was taken back by the timing of the name being given, and by the honor they were bestowing upon me to give it to her.  I thought about the last month at the hospital and all the joy this dad had for his daughter.  I marveled at the way he was not waiting to name her, but instead planning her future. 

I looked down her perfect face and said, “Her name will be Hope.”