Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How beautiful on the mountains....

This evening I found out that a boy named Bawa who has lived his life in Mango, Togo lost his lifelong battle with diabetes.  Upon meeting Bawa, even with my trained eyes, I would have guessed his age at about 12 at best.  The years of undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes stole his health, his vision and his manhood.  Although he was around 22, when he looked at me with his cataract-clouded eyes and wasted body, I couldn't help but want to carry him in my arms like a child.

A fellow missionary spent the last several months doing what she could to teach his widowed mother how to do insulin injections and adjust his diet.  They would use the little French mom knew, a small amount of Anafo, and a whole lot of hand motions to try and get all the ideas across.  Against all odds, Bawa actually started to gain some weight and carry some hope for the future.  His dream- to be able to go back to school.

When I was in Mango around 6 weeks ago, we heard that Bawa was taken to the local government hospital and hadn't woken up in days.  When we arrived, he had a blood sugar of 30 but the hospital didn't have any IV fluids that had sugar and he wasn't responsive enough to drink the juice we brought.     My fellow missionary who had been helping the family knew that we were in a losing battle.  We didn't have the resources, money or ability to care for Bawa, even if he got better this time.  We suggested that mom take him home and wrote the name of an antibiotic the family could try, if they could find the money.  We visited them in their 1 room, circular hut for the following few days.  His mom graciously and kindly tried to keep him clean when the small bits of porridge he ate seemed to exit as fast as it entered.  We prayed with him because we knew that our Father in Heaven could hear us, even if Bawa could not.  I left Mango prepared to get an email about his death in the following days.

But Bawa got better.  I knew there was nothing in that hut that could've saved him aside from God's grace.  We all praised the Lord--the Great Physician.

I got an email from my missionary friend yesterday that Bawa was once again in a coma and un-responsive, no matter what his sugar level was.  I thought "surely the Lord will save him again." But Bawa did not get better.  He will never return to school.

How are we, as believers in a loving God, supposed to respond to this?  I weep for Bawa, and the things he will never do.  I weep for myself, and the ever-present reminder that my profession is always a losing one, in the end.  I weep for the injustice of poverty and inequality of power.  And I weep for the unknown outcome of his eternal salvation.

Then the Lord said, "Before Abraham was, I AM". - John 8:58

"As the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" - Isaiah 55:9

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. "- Job 42:2-3

Our response: trust and humility in our Savior, the Creator and Redeemer of this universe. The fact is, God is weaving a tapestry that we can even begin to understand. Habakkuk complained and weeped over similar things, crying out to the Lord:

"How long, Lord, must I call for help,
 but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted."

The Lord's Response:

“Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told"

While I acknowledge that their is a specific context of this Biblical text, it clearly shows that God's response to our weeping and cries of injustice in this world is not "get over it!"or to ignore it. He is saying, "I know you can't SEE it, but I have a wondrous PLAN. One so amazing that you couldn't even comprehend it if I tried to show it to you."

Our response: Faith and Obedience to the One who sees and knows all things. Christ said, "GO and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 18)

The Bawa's of this world need one thing. The same thing we ALL need. The saving grace and hope found in Jesus Christ. But "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)

You don't have to GO to Africa. You don't have to BAPTIZE in the Euprates. You don't have to make a DISCIPLE in Yemen. Have beautiful feet wherever God has placed them.

I know that Bawa heard the Good News, and that gives me Hope. Hope that he is in the arms of the Savior. Weep for those that have not yet heard, and go give them hope...today.