Wednesday, February 06, 2008
But the Kingdom Comes
As a team, as a mission, it is much more clear to see that the World Goes Not Well this week than that the Kingdom comes. Violence continues in Kenya, the death toll is getting uncomfortably close to 1,000. Those are not just numbers, they are real people who fled for their lives, whose last moments were terrifying and painful, almost all due to the blunt force of machetes and similar weapons. A Kenyan friend Esther called us this week, to assure us she was still OK. The Carrs and Kimberly are bravely attempting to aid the displaced and disoriented while the country struggles to regain equilibrium. On Sunday we felt tremors from earthquakes that hit Rwanda and Congo. Today we learned that one of the newest WHM missionaries, a 21 year old woman appointed to the Spain team, was killed in a car wreck in Colorado when she traveled from the pre-field training program (MTI) to church. I’ve chronicled some of the heartache of disappointment and loss in the last couple of days here.
Yet the Kingdom comes, even when we can’t see it. Stephanie led a great meditation this morning, hearkening back yet again to Psalm 130, which God seems to be bringing to us over and over, the idea of watchmen waiting for the morning. In the darkness we strain, knowing that light will surely come. She spoke of deliverance, which sometimes comes so subtly and quietly we fail to notice the mercies that flow over us, food and friendship and sunshine and health. Sometimes, it comes dramatically in the 11th hour, just when hope seems to be beyond our grasp, as God keeps us in suspense and stretches our faith. And sometimes it comes after hope has gone, after the worst has happened, after what we dreaded has occurred, as in the death of Jonah. This deliverance is only found in the resurrection, the assurance that death is not the end.
So today let me give a small testimony to 11th hour deliverance, to a taste of Kingdom Come. Mumbere is alive (see his picture above from today and one below from one year ago). I left him yesterday comatose, grunting, floppy, with a body full of malaria parasites and thick snot flowing out of his lungs when I tried to give some chest PT. I really did not think he would pull through this time. As I biked to the hospital this morning, I was trying to decide if I could still manage all I had committed to today if I went to his burial, because I’d really want to be there. But when I walked through the doors, there he was sitting with his grandmother. Awake, alert, grumpy. I gave him a piece of candy I had in my pocket, which he snatched up and opened with no problem. Amazing. His life still hangs by a frayed thread, but he’s not gone yet. The Kingdom Comes, in small slow steps, in small dark bodies, one at a time.