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Sunday, March 15, 2015

In like a Lion, out like a Lamb?

March has been one angry lion so far, ripping into our Serge field.  The month started with two funerals for close family of Sergers.  Then a medical evacuation, and soon after a political one as the peace accords in South Sudan faltered and rumors of conflict abounded.  Every few days it seems we have deep conversations with Sergers who are wondering if they can make it, life is just so hard.  Evil abounds, and last week threats and pressure caused our beloved head teacher at Christ School to resign, probably a victim of tribalism and greed.  His loss to our team there is huge.  Our teams live on the hot and dusty edges, where there are dangerous thieves, fatal diseases, needy demanding people day-in and day-out, bugs in your food, conflict with others, and the chronic background sadness of being lonely for loved ones and familiar places.  We endure separation and danger and then at some point it becomes just too much.

For me, the battle is up close and tactile, and sometimes all-night.  One call this week, amongst the 50 or so kids I was covering on our three services were a list of diagnoses so long and diverse you can't even make this stuff up:  a congential brain tumor, a teenage schizophrenic, a toddler with a perforated esophagus leaking into his lungs after swallowing a caustic chemical, a baby of uncertain gender due to an enzyme mutation that affects hormone production as well as life-threatening fluid and salt balance, several new spina bifidas, meningitis, TB, a kid with AIDS who had been doing well but came in respiratory distress, tiny premature babies, the usual malnutrition.  Yesterday on Saturday I went in at 8 am and did not stop until Sunday 2:30 am except for a quick "lunch" at 4ish.  We admitted seven new patients, including two babies with critical brain-damaging levels of jaundice that have to be treated with an exchange transfusion, in which we remove and replace the entire blood volume of the baby twice over, a little bit at a time, which takes HOURS.  Another baby who had lost almost 1/3 of his body weight in two weeks of not feeding, leading to kidney failure and labs that were off the scale.  And for good measure, a 28-week 930-gram premature delivery to a mom whose first two pregnancies ended in deaths in utero.  She's so far tiny but pink and fighting.

March has been, in a word, relentless.

This morning, as I struggled to stay awake after going back in to the hospital briefly, I thought about the Lion and Lamb image.  All through the Old Testament, God uses the Lion as a way to describe his own chosen rulers, and Himself.  A ruler, who can rend judgement in no uncertain terms.  Unpredictable.  Frightening to those who do evil, which on some level includes all of us.  CS Lewis used these passages to develop the character of Aslan, who is most decidedly NOT safe, but GOOD.  Then 1 Peter speaks of the devil as a lion on the prowl, seeking whom he may devour.  So as we go through these trying circumstances of sorrow and harshness and loss, we sense the lion tearing in.  Only we don't know, is this God allowing suffering for ultimate redemption, or Satan attacking?

Or both?  March is a picture of the span of redemption.  It comes in like a lion, with judgement and fear.  But goes out like a lamb, because the lion ultimately wins not by ripping apart the enemy, but by becoming the lamb of sacrifice.

May we see the rule of the Lion of Judah, won by the bloody helpless death of the Lamb of God.  May we fight injustice with the dangerous teeth and courageous zeal of the King of the cats, but be willing to suffer the consequences with the humility and voluntary brokenness of the smallest of lambs.


Anonymous said...

Praying for you to know the Lamb of God's power and peace in every moment...

Deb Smith said...

March may be relentless but we serve a God who is more relentless and will not fail
Isaiah 45
Praying relentlessly as well.

Sarah said...

A hearty amen to this! I love the imagery, helps me to think some more through the heartache and struggle here...which lion are the wounds and tears coming from? Either way, trusting that the Lamb brings healing and redemption to the wounds, one day. And the Lamb and Lion of Judah are the only hope I have in the midst of this.

Eli and Krista said...

We're part of a small group that's reading through the Chronicles of Narnia this year and it's been thought-provoking to consider Aslan and the parallels to the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God. So much beauty, so much grace and love, and so much to make us tremble. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the Lion in a mission context. I pray you will see evidence of the victory of the Lamb at Kijabe before this month is out!

Unknown said...

As I read this blog post on Good Friday - I find myself moved to tears by your final paragraph. Thanks for continuously grappling with what it means to follow the Lion and the Lamb God and for writing about it so beautifully.
(Rachel wife of Menno)