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suffering in HOPE…

I sat around my big wooden table today.

I watched as a little boy with a tumor the size of a baseball in his jaw, happily gobble down Ethiopian injera be wat.

I watched his family receive life-altering, devestating, “God, how can this be??” diagnosis from Dave regarding his tumor.

I watched the Gospel enter in and be the bread and life and hope for a precious family that has no other hope.

Bezenech is a young girl who God has brought into our family. She is a young girl, just 14 who has become a daughter to my heart. She nearly lost her life six years ago, and one of her younger brothers did not live through the flames. In His grace, He gave Bezenech a second chance at life.

Today we sat with her family, explaining to them that her other little brother, Abebiyu has an awful bone cancer in his jaw and there is nothing we, as humans, can do. The grief came as a wave across this table…heads were bowed, tears flowed…questions and doubts and fears were poured out before our Father.

This mother…who is no different, and yet worlds’ different, cried out… “Maybe when my first son died, I was too angry…maybe I was not humble before God. Maybe He is taking my second son because of my sin. My friends told me I should not be so angry. God gives and he takes away, but why does he take both of my sons?”

The grief of this mother’s heart broke mine. Our friend, Biruk, through tears, spoke of God’s truth to her… “No, our God is not like that…even though we don’t understand, He is not like us.” Praise Him.

Dave shared this precious truth of the Gospel to her…that God doesn’t place his wrath or punishment on us anymore…Jesus took all of that, so we don’t have to. Abebiyu is not being punished because of his parents’ sin. He is not suffering because we have a God of wrath. Jesus already suffered. He already paid…but we live in this world—one that will continue on in suffering and separation until the day He returns.

She wept. She needed to be reminded of this redeeming grace. We all did.

Then God swept a fresh wave of faith through our hearts…This precious mother wept, “God took my first son, but gave life back to Bezenech…I thought she was dead, but He gave her back to me…I will believe and pray with this faith that He can do the same for my son.” THIS FAITH. Can move mountains. This faith is all we have. TO rest in the mercy of our Creator and Healer.

We prayed together and wept together. Somehow through these flames, God made us a family for Abebiyu. He gave us a common love, a common hope. The Gospel—the beautiful cross brought two families, two cultures, two languages together around a table of grace and truth where we all laid down together…trusting in His love alone.  This Gospel of HOPE is all we have.

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