One of the songs our worship leader chose today is a remake of the hymn "It is well with my soul". You should listen to it right now. The stillness of soul is not predicated upon a well-ordered calmness of circumstances, it comes in the midst of the waves and winds of distress. This, is faith. One of the choruses says, through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you, which reminds me of 2 Chronicles 20:12. When the people faced impossible odds and potential annihilation, they had no recourse but to look to God for deliverance. This story became very meaningful to us in some hard days in Uganda.
Playing it today, our hearts went out in prayer to many windy, wavy, heartbreaking situations for people we love. Dear friends, who were colleagues in Uganda and are now finishing graduate training in the states, found their infant son blue and lifeless yesterday morning. After CPR and an admission to the pediatric ICU he is alive and yet the cause of his life-threatening event and his eventual outcome are still not certain. Other supporters and childhood friends also had a baby this weekend, a difficult delivery during which mother and baby both nearly died, and this infant is also tenuously holding onto life in a neonatal ICU. Here in Africa, one of our teams has had an inordinate burden of struggling kids and crumbling infrastructure, in what feels like a wave of spiritual oppression. Two other teams are in areas with cholera outbreaks, a potentially deadly infection. The rainfall in Kenya still lags behind normal (about a quarter of the expected this season). We encounter loss, hardship, conflict, mental and physical illness, loneliness, every day. Our oldest needs to make a pretty life-determining decision this week about his residency choice, and needs prayer for clarity that will carry him through the next decade of intense work. The second will be jumping out of an airplane five times in the next week; we pray the weather holds for him. Near-death days for beloved friends, chronic struggles for weary teams, life directions for our own flesh and blood. We feel the buffeting of those storms.
Yet in that very place of shaking, of breaking, we pray for the grace to cling to the truth that all shall be well. One who is good, fiercely so, painfully so, writes the end to this story.
When Job struggled with the big questions of suffering, God told him to look at the hippos. Literally, to ponder the wild beauty and independence and balance of creation. Besides playing for worship, the highlight of the week was a visit from our great friend Bethany which prompted us to do a little walking safari Friday evening. We can walk from our house across the highway to a small Kenya Wildlife Service preserve by the lake. On this particular evening, we saw wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, impala, waterbuck, hippos, more zebra, fish eagles, cormorants, pelicans, storks, herons, egrets, plovers . . . and just at dusk, two black-backed jackals sauntering across the path and into the bush. It was a holy moment of wonder, of remembering a goodness that undergirds all of us, of glimpsing a glory that has been obscured by brokenness but not erased.
Enjoy Scott's photos of the evening, and pray for those we love to know that all shall be well.