Monthly Archives: November 2014

He Understands-Memories from Africa

Warren Hills Cemetery, Harare, Zimbabwe

Warren Hills Cemetery, Harare, Zimbabwe

HE UNDERSTANDS – MEMORIES FROM  AFRICA

The early morning “clink” of the daily delivery of our milk bottles broke the light sleep I was in. Another glorious day in Rhodesia was dawning and I had a list of “to do” things to take care of. We were living in the small town of Hartley in a simple rented home. I stretched and slipped out from under the mosquito net that covered our bed and caught my breath as the cold from the concrete floor reminded me to put my slippers on.  As I bent over to shake my slippers to dislodge any uninvited creepy crawly that had chosen my slippers as a good hiding place; I felt a twinge. Now I was truly awake, as I was just two weeks out from my due date for our second child to be born. I woke my sleeping hubby and announced that he might not want to stray too far afield as this might be the day or son or daughter had chosen to be born.

We did not have the convenience of modern day cell phones so it was imperative Glyn stay close to home.  The day was August 28, 1973.

Within a couple of hours I knew I was in full labor but needed to do some bookkeeping for our upcoming District Business meeting. So I sat in the office balancing the books and at the same time jotting down the length of time between my contractions! Glyn was anxious as we had a 25 mile drive to the town of Gatooma, where the Maternity Home was; but I was determined to finish the District Quarterly bookkeeping before we left! Much to Glyn’s relief I finally announced it was time to go. The road between Hartley and Gatooma was rather poor and I felt every bump that our car lurched over. We had our 20 month old son with us and he giggled every time we hit a bump!

Upon arriving at the Maternity Home the Matron dismissed Glyn with a wave of her hand telling him to return to Hartley and they would call him once the baby was born! In those days husbands were not permitted in the Labor and Delivery rooms and siblings could not even come during the strict “visiting hours”.

Once I was settled in my room the delivery midwife told me that I was the only patient with the exception of a premature baby who was in an incubator. She told me that Dr. Mossup was playing golf and she would let him finish his golf game before alerting him that I was in full labor.  Then she crisply informed me that I still had a way to go and with this being my second child I “knew what to do” and that she would be back to check on me once she had finished feeding the premature baby. These were still the “old fashioned” times of giving birth “naturally”; no fetal monitors; no epidurals; just hard labor that you endured by sheer guts and determination!

Everything was progressing normally when suddenly I was doubled over with a ripping pain. I had no way to call the delivery midwife, so I half crawled and half stumbled out of bed only to discover I was hemorrhaging badly. I called out for help and an African assistant came running, took one look and raced for the midwife. The pain was beyond excruciating, panic on the part of the midwife ensued; with the help of the nurse assistant they raced me to the delivery room and prepped me for the arrival of Dr. Mossup; who had been frantically summoned. He arrived just in time to delivery our second son. The foreboding silence in the delivery room told me something was very wrong. Hastily the cord was cut, Dr. Mossup scoop up the baby and ran into an adjoining room. It seemed as though I waited for an eternity for him to return and when he did his arms were empty! Brokenly he told me that he failed to revive our infant son and felt that there had been too much loss of blood for him to have a fighting chance.

My mind was reeling; how could this be? Just 30 minutes before I was in normal labor with a strong and healthy baby getting ready to be born and in just a fleeting moment of time he was gone! I became aware of Dr. Mossup pacing inconsolably back and forth and then it hit me. His 21 year-old daughter had been killed in an automobile accident just five days prior; compassion for this grieving man welled up from deep within me; finding strength that could only have come from the Lord; I reached out and took his hand and reminded Him that even when we don’t understand, God does understand. I assured him that God would give both of us the courage and strength to face our raw heartache and heal our pain.

The next hurdle to cross was laid squarely on Glyn’s shoulders. We did not have the money to purchase a burial plot in Gatooma. So the next morning Glyn arrived at the Maternity Home with our young son and the District Commissioner’s written authority to carry the tiny body of our precious son, that neither of us had been given the privilege of holding and saying our good-byes to. The midwife gently carried the cardboard box, placed it in the trunk of the car and then helped Glyn put our living son, Russel, on the back seat of the car. All we could afford was to have the baby cremated and his ashes scattered under the Tree of Remembrance and the only place this could be done was in Salisbury (Harare) at the Warren Hills Cemetery. It was a long heart wrenching drive for Glyn to make; all the while crying out to God for help and strength.

Did God understand what we were going through? Without question or fear of contradiction I assure you God understood our pain and grieving hearts.

There are many cynics that would challenge me and say that a “loving God” wouldn’t allow such a thing to happen to two of his children serving Him on the Mission Field, so he obviously doesn’t understand.

Here is my response to those critics:

The scripture teaches us that God understands more than we could ever imagine……

Hebrews 4:14-15 “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

You see my friends; not only was Jesus the High Priest, the Sacrifice and the Savior, but also He came as God in flesh and blood.

For us today, this truth is so very important to grasp.

Because Jesus was here on this earth in a human body, He understands everything we go through. Jesus experienced feelings, hurts, weaknesses and temptations, just as we do. He knows what it is to suffer, to hurt, to be rejected, ridiculed and mocked. Jesus got angry at the Pharisees, He cried over Lazarus and He showed great compassion to a prostitute.

Why did Jesus go through all of this for us? One word answers this question – Love.

He loved us then.

He loves us now.

He has and always will love us.

This leads me to my next truth that we must grasp…………..

Because Jesus has experienced all the same pain, hurt, tragedy that we go through on life’s journey He fully understands what we are experiencing. Not only does He understand but He has promised “never to leave us or forsake us!”  (Joshua 1:5)

The Lord understands us better than anyone else and loves us more than anyone else can. YES, GOD DOES UNDERSTAND AND HE CARES FOR US WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE!

Isaiah 46:4

Isaiah 46:4

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POWERFUL PROTECTOR

Charging elephant - photographer unknown

Charging elephant – photographer unknown

POWERFUL PROTECTOR

My voice has been silent for many weeks on my Blog. Many of you know that this past month my husband and I have been traversing some very turbulent waters. Glyn contacted a debilitating bacteria and we have had to fight hard for his life. This Blog will give you an insight into the emotional roller coaster ride we have experienced and continue to be on!

A Pastor friend posted this scripture verse on his Face Book page today.

Psalm 116:7-8 (NKJV) Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. For You have delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, And my feet from falling.

When I read his post I messaged him that these two verses summarize the events that have unfolded over the past month in our own personal journey. We have experienced moments of ecstatic joy only to get broadsided yet again and find ourselves plunging into the depths of despair. Glyn’s physical battle with the debilitating CDIF bacteria literally knocked our world off its orbit! Through all the eruptions of emotions, exhaustion, fears and tears that have become our daily onslaughts; one thing remains steadfast…….God’s powerful promises to us.

Having spent years in Africa; we have been privileged to watch firsthand the daily battle between “predator and prey” and experience the ebb and flow of death and life being played out in the African bush. Predators such as adult lions, leopards and cheetah have mastered their art of seeking out and catching their prey. There are certain of the “big game” that these master predators have learned to respect though; one of them is the majestic “gentle giants” of the bush……the adult elephants.

A pride of lions will only go after the sick or small babies of an elephant herd. Should they happen upon a baby or juvenile elephant that has strayed or lagged behind the formidable protection of the herd, they will take the opportunity to come in for the kill, using stealth and speed to spring on their unsuspecting prey.

More often than not, it does not end well for the pride of lions, even though they are armed with claw and teeth which their prey, a baby elephant in this case, has nothing to defend itself with. At the first swat of the dominant lion’s claws, the elephant will begin squealing loudly for his or her mother. Only in isolated cases is the mother elephant ever out of ear-shot of her baby. Upon hearing that cry for help ten thousand pounds of muscle and sinew will explode out of the bush with such speed that it boggles the mind to see an animal of this size move so fast. Every nerve in her massive body will be at fever pitch to reach her baby before the predators succeed in their mission. Her trumpeting rises to a crescendo that is capable of making the blood run cold and the fury of her attack is hard to comprehend. With one swing of her powerful trunk she will send a full grown 300 pound lion flying and then with a swift jab of her deadly tusks she will disembowel her victim. Her screams of defiance and protection bring other members of the elephant herd into the fray. By now the remaining members of the lion pride will hastily retreat into the bush, knowing that they had chosen the wrong prey! Once the mother elephant knows her baby is safe she gently will guide the little one back into the protection of the herd.

I trust by now you are seeing where I am going with this Nugget. God comes swiftly in answer to the cry of his children, to protect them, succor them and sustain them against the attack of the enemy.

At this juncture let put to rest the protestations of those who thrive on theological debates! I am NOT saying that God is a woman!

I am merely painting a picture of the intense protection & caring a mother elephant has for her young to show that God’s concern for His children is even greater! I am attempting to give you a visual “plumb-line” to focus on!

In the midst of the darkest hour and deepest time of testing God mercy becomes a tower of strength and He will bring good out of the direst of attacks from the enemy of our souls.

You may ask………..what about the persecuted church?

What about countless ones in this troubled time that we live; who are dying for their faith?

Does God not care about them? Does God merely have his “favorites” that He protects?

Let my answer reverberate down the halls of time……. NO………ABSOLUTELY NO.

God hears our cry and as we see in Psalm 116:7-8 He deals bountifully with us according to His Divine knowledge and Will.

He will do what is BEST FOR HIS CHILDREN.

For the child of God there is no bad outcome.

If God comes to our aid and delivers us, we put the enemy to flight.

If God in His infinite mercy takes us home to Glory, our earthly suffering is over and our eternal reward awaits us.

So either way, my friends, the child of God wins!

YES – God, in His mercy HAS sustained us.

Through this time of testing He has preserved and protected us.

He has delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, And my feet from falling!

BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!