I went to visit Douglas yesterday in the Malago Hospital in Kampala. Douglas is 7 years old and while the Rick Via Medical team was here, his older brother brought him to the clinic concerned about his left eye that would not open. After examining him, the nurses felt a huge mass on his stomach that was as hard as stone.
After running test, it was confirmed that he indeed had a tumor that was growing on his liver. We received the results of the biopsy last week and the tumor is cancerous. It had grown so large over the last few weeks that it has begun to affect his breathing, so he is now on oxygen. The doctors started their first round of chemo last week but are going to do a heart echo this week to make sure that his heart is strong enough to undergo all the chemo. They are also planning on doing a CT scan because they are now afraid the closed eye is an indication that there might also be some spots in the brain.
Malago is a hard place to walk into. I have been there too many times in the short amount of time I have been here. But I am thankful that there is a place that we can take our children. It is in these moments that I find myself getting so frustrated and begin asking the “why” questions? Why can’t He spare the children here with cancer and the diseases that can’t be treated the way we would at home? Why are there so many children suffering? But as I have been reminded so many times over the last few months…He is in our suffering. There is nothing that does not pass through the hands of God before it manifest here.
“With Christ, suffering is redeemed and redefined, and there is no meaningless wound. There is always a point to it, both for us and for others, and usually it is a point of growth or a point of departure. Life is never about our comfort. It is always about displaying God. Humanity is the canvas on which Christ’s glory is painted. We gasp when we realize that sometimes the paint is pain. And sometimes suffering is the brushstroke.” -Nika Maples
The bed right next to Douglas was a little girl that had her teeth clenched the whole time I stood over Douglas bed and I could just hear her making tiny groans under her breath. I knew she was in so much pain yet she did not have any tears. The Lord also led me to her bed to pray over her…her name is Mariam.
You feel so helpless. You feel as though your heart is going to break in two. But God whispers…my Glory, my Renown and My people. I hear it spoken over me as I take in all the horrific sights around me. It’s so much bigger than me. But the simple truth it is not bigger than Jehovah Rapha. As I prayed with every ounce of my being…begging the Lord to spare Douglas and Mariam. I asked that He would remove the pain. I believe God reveals Himself to children in ways we will never understand…so I am trusting that He himself is visible to them. He sits on the bed with them, when they close their eyes they see Him. I pray He is near.
“Who are You God?
Cause You are turning out to be so much different than I imagined
And where are You God?
Cause I am finding life to be so much harder than I had planned
You know that I’m afraid to ask these questions
But You know they are there
And if You know my heart the way that I believe You do
You know that I believe in You
But still I have these questions
Like how could You, God?
How could You be so good and strong
And make a world that can be so painful
And where were You God?
I know You had to be right there
I know You never turned Your head
You know that I’m confused by all this mystery
You know I get afraid
But if You know my heart as completely as I trust You do
Oh, You know that I am trusting You
So is it true that for every tear I cry, You cry a thousand more
As You weep with those who weep
And are You just holding Yourself back
From crushing all the pain
And even in this world for reasons we just can’t understand for now
But isn’t there a day of redemption coming?
Redemption is coming
Come quickly Lord
Come quickly Lord
Come quickly Lord
So who am I God?
That You would raise me from the dust
And breathe Your life and Your love into me
You know that I believe
Stephen Curtis Chapman-Questions