I answer my phone with shaky hands, fearing the worst. His quiet voice on the other end verifies my fears before anything sensible comes from his lips. He stumbles to find the words, but it doesn’t matter how he phrases it; I already know. She’s dead.
Not this one, I think to myself.
Death has tried to grab her since the first moments of her life. Born in a country where life expectancy runs low. Born to a family trapped in poverty which is a death sentence for many. Born with two diseases that don’t promise much.
This time last year, I sat in front of a hopeless woman. She loved her child in a way that is rarely seen in a culture where it’s the norm for mothers to lose babies. But her child was dying. Surgery was out of the question. $250 was too much for this family and so they watched their daughter’s brain swell, distorting her gorgeous face more and more. Hopelessness had its grip.
I sat in front of a hopeless woman last year and handed her hope in the form of a life saving surgery for her precious daughter. Yesterday I saw the eyes of hopelessness again as we drove her lifeless daughter’s body home prepared for a burial that came too soon. I fought within myself not to question, had I given her false hope? Was it all a waste?
Today I sat with her again, her husband by her side. Grief covered their faces. Tears flowed freely. Words pushed through crackling voices as they tried to explain the pain of the past few days. Telling a tragedy I knew the details of, but they needed to say it. Maybe I needed to hear it.
And again, almost exactly a year after I handed them hope for life for their daughter, hope filled their tiny home again.This time it wasn’t a temporary fix to a broken world. But as this Muslim couple chose to leave behind their religion, family ties, and every sin that has bound them and follow Jesus, they entered into eternal life that not even death can not steal from them.
A year ago I watched as a promise of surgery transformed a woman’s face from one of hopelessness to utter joy. I listened as her desperate cries turned to rejoicing that couldn’t stop flowing from her lips. And today I watched the hope of Jesus fill a couple’s heart so that even in their moment of greatest pain, they couldn’t stop giving thanks. I watched as His light filled their faces and their sorrow turned to absolute joy.