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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Not a boring life: astonishing things

Healing then, and perhaps healing now (though we don't always realize it), can never be simply a matter of correcting a few faults in the machine called the human body.  It always was and is, and perhaps supremely so in Jesus' actions, a sign of God's love breaking in to the painful and death-laden present world.  It was and is a pointer to the great Healing that will occur when the secret is out, when Jesus is finally revealed to the whole world, and our present stammering praise is turned into full-hearted song.  When Mark urges his readers to follow Jesus, he envisages, not a boring life of conventional religion, but things happening that would make people astonished.  . . .

The closer we are to Jesus, the more likely it is that he will call us to share in his work of compassion, healing and feeding, bringing his kingdom-work to an ever wider circle.  Unlike magicians in the ancient world, performing tricks to gain money or personal kudos, Jesus is concerned to bring his disciples into the work in which he is engaged.  The Christian life, as a disciplined rhythm of following Jesus, involves not only being fed but becoming in turn one through whom Jesus' love can be extended to the world.
(Mark for Everyone, NT Wright, commentary on healing the deaf and dumb man, and on feeding the 4000, Mark 7 and 8)

Not a boring life, for sure.  This yawn (pictured) aside, some days you just need a full-fledged theological pep talk to put the craziness into perspective.  A surgery or an antibiotic are more than just little tweaks to slightly malfunctioning physical systems.  They are signs that flare out the truth, that life has broken into this disintegration and decay, that the end involves a great reversal, that the Creator has not forgotten the dusty specks we are.  And that believing all that leads to the privilege of holding life in your hands and participating in the healing love that pours out on the world.  So enjoy the photos below from the last day or two, and remember the big picture.

This is the baby from the post Scott wrote about the mom that spent hours on buses and vans to get here for her 5th C-section. Blissfully unaware of the danger averted.
A rare theatre selfie--turns out Friday not only were we down to 1 consultant, 1 medical officer, and 1 intern to do the paeds work usually done by a team of 10-12, maternity said they had no spare nurse to go receive a baby from an emergency C-section, so Scott called me to come.

Turns out it was good he did--this little one weighed 950 grams and was born at 29 weeks with only a barely perceptible, slow heart thump.  No movement, no breathing, floppy, purple, scary.  But some ventilation and oxygen and warming and drying and resuscitation brought him to life, for now.  There's always hope, particularly after God brought this experience the SAME DAY . . . . 

. . . we went down to the local protected area by the Lake, walking distance from our house, Friday evening.  As Scott paid our $3 fees, I started chatting with this cute preschooler.  Which gave his mom courage to say:  " I always see you and tell people, that's A's doctor, she took care of him at Kijabe in 2014.  You're Dr. Jennifer right?  A was 900 grams, born at 6 months, and we were in the NICU for 2 months with you.  Now he's in school and doing well."  Well, as you can imagine that was a bit encouraging.

This mom told me her 1-month premature boy was her first live child . . she had previously miscarried twins.  I told her, the same thing happened to me!  And her son was born the day before (and 25 years after) my son's birthday. Kind of sweet.

So many malnourished little ones, needing oxygen, needing fluids, needing attention.  It's tiring but there are also times when we remember, this is a privilege, to participate in renewing their hope.

This is a red-throated white-fronted bee-eater, one of the most beautiful and graceful birds ever, and we have dozens around our house.  We often see them mornings and evenings.  A reminder of God's eye for beauty and care for the small details.

Here are a few more photos (from Scott so better!) of Friday evening's walk to the lake.  Another joy we have in engaging with God's bigger work is hosting team mates from distant places, in this case Rhett visiting his daughter Elizabeth from Uganda for RVA's mid-term break.  

We are always part of a huge world-changing process, but it takes eyes to see and ears to hear.  May we open our hearts to observe.

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