19 May The Lord Restored Her Blessing..
My first experience with the amazing grace of God began with the death of a 9-month old boy.
He had passed away suddenly, late one night, in the hands of a startled nurse at a well-known hospital.
As I recall, the little boy had arrived at the hospital early that evening, where I too had been admitted with my daughter, a toddler at the time.
But by 2am in the morning, the boy’s stay had come to an abrupt end, amidst the agonized screams of his mother.
In all my life, Brethren, I had never heard such a sound.
“Wooi..Mwathani.. Mwathani..ni mwana wakwa woya?”
The guttural, almost feral, wail of a shell-shocked mother.
“Is it my child You have taken, Lord?!” she was screaming. “My child?”
Her only child, her first-born, was gone.
The boy had come in with a mild illness, I was later to learn. But he had instantly developed large black welts all over his body, as the nurse administered his injection. What had meant to heal had unexpectedly turned lethal.
He had struggled visibly for a while, I was told, before taking a final, tortured breath, his mother staring in disbelief.
That’s when she had begun to scream.
No-one said a word in our ward that night. But we all wailed silently with her, deeply moved by the pain of a fellow mother.
It was a deeply private moment for her, but at the same time one that called desperately for the strength of a fellow human.
But as I sat on my bed, my daughter sleeping quietly in hers, I just couldn’t get myself to go to the suddenly bereaved mother. In the strangest of ways, I was terrified, not knowing what to do or say in the midst of such pain. So I just sat there on my bed, a huge lump in my throat.
Then I took out my Bible, desperate for some direction. I just couldn’t accept this as the Lord’s will.
But I couldn’t focus. Too much pain.
Shortly, some rustling on the corridor – her husband had arrived. Someone had apparently managed to contact him.
We held our collective breath – poor, poor man. How was he going to take this?
“What have we done, God, what have we done to You?” Loud, desperate shouts – he too was crushed to the core.
It was clear that someone was with him, from the hushed murmurs on the corridor – perhaps a relative, a friend, a neighbour. And somehow this gave me the courage to move.
So I got off my bed and went to find the distraught father. He was seated on a grey bench on the corridor, his wife still in the treatment room, inconsolable. With him was a lady, obviously a good friend of the family, trying to do her best with some words of comfort.
I had no clue what to say, much less what to do. But as I approached, the lady looked up and for a moment, our eyes locked quietly. Two desperately shaken souls drowning in the sea of someone else’s misery.
“What can I do?” I mumbled.
“We came by taxi,” was all she could say.
Grateful to do something, anything at all, I rushed to my bed, grabbed my purse and run out. I found the taxi parked outside, windows tightly wound up, engine still running, the driver trying to escape the cold. He had been asked to wait, his clients clearly unaware of the shock to come.
I explained the situation, took some notes from my purse and paid. And, chin down, the man quietly received his payment, he too, moved by the tragic turn of events.
Back at that bleak corridor, I gathered the courage to share a few words with the father but, not wanting to disturb him further, I asked for the lady’s number. Her name was Peris, she said.
Later that day our two children were discharged. Mine to our home and their’s.. oh, it was just too painful to imagine.
And naturally, on my way home, the Lord began to minister.
“Stay in touch with the family,” He instructed. “Tell them that I am with them and will not leave them.”
So I did.
I called Peris and she kept me informed of the burial arrangements throughout the process. She also graciously relayed some messages between myself and the father, in the week running up to the funeral.
And on the appointed day, I joined them, as they gathered to collect their beloved child. I watched, as the boy’s mother stumbled past his little casket during viewing, unable to look at her son. And when the time came to leave, it was clear that she would not be able to ride with him in the hearse. So we rode silently in my car, the one hour to their rural home interminably long.
And later, the Lord somehow arranged for someone to hand me the microphone and ask me to speak.
So I faithfully delivered His message:
“Dear friends” I began, “the Lord says that He is with you and will not leave you.”
I shared a few more words of comfort, but honestly the Lord’s message was the only thing that really mattered. It was a long, miserable afternoon, Brethren, and I could only hope that the Lord’s love for this family had somehow been received.
As instructed, I stayed in touch with the family for the rest of that year, speaking with the father from time to time. We somehow managed to create a tentative friendship, despite the circumstances that had brought us together.
The mother and I spoke only rarely, however. My presence in her life was just too painful a reminder of that terrible night, I suppose, and I completely understood.
So as the months went by, I was totally unaware that the Lord had indeed kept His promise to the young family.
A few months after the loss of their son, I was to learn, the couple once again experienced the blessing of conception.
And, almost exactly one year after that terrible night, I received a text from from the newly delivered mother.
“Rejoice with me my sister,” it said. “We have a son.”
After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.` Job 42:10
*I have changed Peris’ name, for her privacy and that of the family.