Published by Mary Bernard
He is always near
God sees all of us in our troubles. It doesn’t seem like it sometimes, but He is the “God Who Sees.” This is what Hagar called Him in the desert. After He revealed Himself to her, she knew that God had been there all along.
There is nothing like being confronted by a powerful enemy that makes us run so fast to our Mighty God. There is nothing that exposes like weakness: both to fight the enemy, but also to act the way we should in our day-to-day lives when fighting such enemies.
A consuming preoccupation
Bosena was placed in a hospital bed for five months without anything being done, other than dressings being changed. He was wasting away in that hospital bed. Never walking, emaciated, weak, and terrified because of constant pain, for which he received no treatment. A friend of ours spotted him in that hospital when she was there taking a tour. She called us at CURE and begged us to take him. She felt he was a very short time from death without some intervention.
After the surgery was done and the arm was amputated, however, there was a lightheartedness and freedom about him that was missing before. He knew that what he was carrying around with him was dead. It was poison to the rest of his body. Of course he did not want to lose his arm. But when he was able to trust someone to take care of it for him and do the best thing, suddenly such a burden was lifted from him—he could live again.
By my own hand
We have the cutest little patient at CURE Ethiopia. I love her dearly. Her name is Yeabsira. She has a genetic condition called Apert Syndrome. One component of this syndrome is that her fingers and toes are formed together without any separation.
We recently had a patient at CURE named Girma. I asked various friends what the name means. One answered, “I see Big.” And he waved his hands in the sky and his eyes got big and round with wonder. Another said, “It is like respect.” Finally, I asked a friend who had more familiarity with religious words in English. She said, “It means glory!” I enjoyed hearing the other different explanations for a difficult concept – glory. God’s glory is who He is. When we see some of His glory it is a brief reflection of the tiniest part of who He is.
The miracle of Bethlehem
Bethlehem has had a tough life. Orphaned, she was born with clubfeet that were never repaired. She was 15 when she started working as a house helper, having no other options in life. Because of her clubfeet, she fell into a cooking fire and both of her legs were very badly burned. She suffered severe pain. She was in a hospital for a year while her legs received skin grafts to cover the burns, but her legs healed into almost ninety degree contractures and she could no longer walk. She was bound to a bed or wheelchair.
Ethiopian man stands for the first time in 14 years
Brook is 30 years old. He has been unable to walk since he was a teenager. His body has fused from head to toe due to a disease called ankylosing spondylitis. It is a disease in which his own immune system attacks all the joints in his body and causes severe arthritis. Eventually, the joints become completely immobile. He cannot even sit in a wheelchair because his body will not bend at the hips. He is confined to a bed and only occasionally gets out of the house thanks to friend who carries him like stiff board. He cannot even sit on a toilet.
Open wide and be filled
At this point in the disease, these men could only eat by smearing food on the outside of their teeth and then sucking the food through from between the teeth. Both men were malnourished and extremely thin. Consuming calories was extremely difficult. Their only hope was a surgery to open their jaws again.
How do difficult experiences shape us?
As I ran down the steps from the OR and past the clinic to my office, I just had to stop and greet this patient who came today for a follow-up visit. He’s been through our operating room doors many times. His surgeries began about a year ago. You can see in the “before” picture how twisted his legs were. Now they are straight and strong.
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