It should have been an ordinary Sunday morning. The children who live with us had gone to their Pathfinder meeting. Toussaint was running errands, and I was home working on monthly reports. But it was day four of the war between Russia and Ukraine. As I grappled with a war that had broken out in Europe, I was terrified by news that got more alarming by the hour, and I had a hard time focusing on my tasks.
When the children returned from Pathfinders, 14-year-old Chabi, the oldest, asked to visit his mom, who had been sick for some time. His family is highly dysfunctional; he has lived in orphanages or with foster parents since he was five. In the past, he couldn’t care less about his mom. But God had been working on his heart. That day, Chabi returned, saying that she was not doing well. The expression on his face told me that he was really worried.
His older brother took their mom to the hospital the previous week, but they had left without finishing her treatment for some reason. The brother then dropped her off at their grandma’s house and left. For a week, we didn’t know what Chabi’s mom was suffering from, which clinic or hospital they had visited or where her hospital records were. I sent Chabi to his grandma’s to find out more information, and he learned that relatives had found the records we needed to pursue further treatment.
By the time Chabi returned with the papers, Toussaint had come home. Toussaint took the records and headed to the little hospital down the road. When he was sure Chabi’s mom would be admitted, he called me, and I sent Chabi to get her. Although she could not walk, talk or sit on the moto-taxi unassisted, the two piled on. After several hours, she was admitted, examined, and her treatment began. Had she remained home another couple of days, she would have died. Chabi stayed at the hospital with his mom to help care for her. No one else from the family was willing.
When Toussaint returned from the hospital that Sunday, our neighbor Martine came over. While chatting, Toussaint asked her why her WhatsApp status showed a picture of Daniel—a young husband and father and mutual friend. She looked at us with surprise and asked, “You haven’t heard that he’s dead? He died in a motorcycle accident three days ago!”
With this, I had enough devastating news for the day. I grabbed the leashes and called for my dogs; I needed to get out. As I walked through the fields listening to music, I placed myself before my personal Wailing Wall and cried out to God. I tried to process all that had been happening that day. The walk, the music and the beautiful sundown calmed my spirit. When I returned home, I took out my Bible, looking for comfort and encouragement. The Holy Spirit directed me to Luke 21:
“When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away” (verse 9).
“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (verse 28).
As I write, Chabi’s mom is still at the hospital, and Chabi got sick from the stress and anxiety. The war is getting more intense, turning women and children into refugees and ordinary men into fighters.
Time is short. Let’s re-evaluate our priorities and re-focus on what’s really important. As long as we still can, let’s tell the world that Jesus is coming soon!