Yesterday I sent a 2.5 year old little girl with cancer home to die. I explained to her hopeful parents that I didn't have the treatment for her disease and that she would die....soon. I told them it would be the most painless for her if they stopped going to the hospital for transfusions and she was allowed to drift off to sleep gradually from severe anemia. The parents understood and were discharged home.
I tell you this not to bring up the heart felt emotions that we have while watching TV commercials showing starving African children who look up at the screen, eliciting enough guilt about a Western lifestyle to generate a $20 donation. I tell you this because it's real life.
There will be no bake sales or t-shirts or dinner's out to raise money for her treatment. No 'Make-a-Wish Foundation trip to Disneyland, hospital gown with balloons or colored picture of family hanging on the walls.
There will be no photoshop image of her on this blog and I won't be sharing her name. This might make it easier to allow her story to slip into the abyss of statistics that plague the countries of Africa but honestly, if we need pictures and dramatic music backgrounds to move our hearts for the poor and the dying, what does that say about us? About me?
My question to anyone reading this blog is: "What would you have said?"
What would you have said to this girl, to this family?
Maybe, "She has an incurable disease."
That's not really true. Her disease is likely quite curable if she was born in a developed country.
Some of you reading this may not believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, as The Savior. Some may not agree with the fact that our hospital delivers both healthcare and the Gospel message. Some have said "Religion doesn't belong in 'charity' work."
Stop. Pause. Reflect.
It was a crushing moment to speak with this family and send this girl home. Whether you claim Jesus as Savior or not, all of us, staring into her big brown eyes long to cry out "LIFE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THIS WAY!"
And it's not.
"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned--for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men." _ Romans 5:12-18
Death reigns because sin entered the world. And the only Hope to break the power of death is HOPE in Jesus Christ who accomplished what we could not do for ourselves.
I could not give this family Hope in any physical thing: not me as her doctor, not medications, not a witch-doctor. There is ONLY ONE who has conquered the grave and He is the only one in whom we can place our HOPE.
Truth is, even if I could treat this little girl's cancer, she will still die one day. And the real point is that we all have a cancer growing inside of us...called sin. Good works and deeds to "out-weigh" this cancer of sin is akin to drinking a lot of orange juice hoping that our leukemia will disappear. The consequence of sin, just like cancer, is certain death.
You won't remember this girl or her story a year from now. And by the end of this week we'll spend more time over our Saturday night plans for entertainment than we will lifting up this girl and her family in prayer.
I'm not going to tell you about the rest of the conversation I had with her family. I invite YOU to have the conversation with her family in your mind, in your heart.
What should be our response?
What will be your response?