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Friday, March 26, 2010

poisonous blessing

Can a snake bite be a blessing?  Saw it happen this week.  A little 5-year-old boy woke up crying beserkly in the night, and his neck began to swell.  Parents noted what looked like fang marks at the base of his skull.  Snakes can enter mud/thatch homes fairly easily at night, seeking warmth from a kid sleeping on a mattress on the floor, then he turns and the snake panics and bites.  Most envenomations here cause local swelling but are survivable. In this case we noted that his sister, sitting by him in the hospital, looked rather stick-limbed.  We asked mom to bring her records.  She turned out to have sickle cell anemia and be moderately malnourished, qualifying for Plumpynut.  Then since she was positive we tested our little snake victim, who it turns out also has sickle cell disease.  So five days later the family is leaving with a healed and perky 5-year old, but more importantly two kids enrolled in ongoing care, getting daily medicine, and getting nutritional supplements.

I suspect there is a deep underlying truth here.  Joseph told his jealous, plotting brothers that what they meant for evil, God turned to good.  I'm afraid we often live in the moments of post-snake-bite distress, and fail to see the sure, slow good being accomplished.  Severe mercies, poisonous blessings.

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