Mary Bernard: Getting Low

I read a sermon online Tuesday by John Piper about getting low — because Jesus got low (http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/for-his-sake-and-for-your-joy-go-low). The passage it centered on was Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.  But it also made me think of Christmastime and how Jesus got low and became a man.  I love the quote: “Jesus lived to bring God to us; He died to bring us to God” (I don’t remember where I read it, though, sorry!). That God came to us in the form of a man so that we could understand who He is and how much He loves us is astounding.

As I read this sermon, I thought about where I needed to apply it.

On Wednesday we went to the Mother Theresa Charity.  On the gate it reads “Home for the Sick and Dying, Destitutes.”

We were not permitted to takes pictures or video tape.  The people living there do not want to be on display.  There are approximately 600 patients — some are long time residents, and others are passing through.  It was extremely clean and well organized.  I was humbled by the service of these nuns and other volunteers as they cared so well for these people.  There was room after room of patients of all ages with many different problems.  Some were severely mentally handicapped, others physically handicapped, and others — both.  There is a group of patients there with huge facial tumors.  Some of those tumors are destroying their eyes, noses, and airways.  I went there to assess these particular patients.  They will be coming to CURE in January for a hope of a cure.  They have no other hope.

Other rooms were happier places — a maternal ward for poor mothers to come and be cared for before delivery and immediately after.  There were 150 adorable newborns in that section.

There were rooms full of patients with various infections — TB, malaria, etc.

As we left through the gate, one woman rushed up to the guard from outside the compound and begged to have them take her three children.  She could not afford to care for them.

I think the patients that stuck out to me most were the severely mentally handicapped children.  Some, when they saw us enter, ran to us as fast as they could and reached up to be held.   Many had flies stuck to their faces along with the leftovers from their last meal covering their huge grins.   To my shame, I had to remind myself to get low and embrace these children — hold them — despite their smells, flies, and obvious deformities.  I was so thankful to have that recent reminder.  Who am I to hesitate for an instant? Given that the God of heaven embraces me despite all of my deformity?

 Because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.

Luke 1:78-79

I am so thankful that God got low and became a man — “the rising sun came to us from heaven” — to shine on us and bring us peace!

Originally posted at: http://ethiopia.thebernards.org/2011/12/25/getting-low/.

Posted by: Mary Bernard

Mary has posted 49 articles.

Mary Bernard is an anesthesiologist and the Medical Director of CURE Ethiopia. Her husband, Christopher, is philosophy professor serving in Ethiopia with SIM. They have four children.

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