This is going to be a complicated post with two major parts. Sorry, but I have a good story to tell and some issues to get off my chest. Let's start with the story.
Our local accountant had a premature baby last week. The little lady is just short of 3 pounds and is in an incubator in Hospital Number One. Arwen and I went to see her the other day and had a nice visit. Coming down the stairs from the fourth floor (why do they make pregnant women walk to the fourth floor?) I was reminded of Arwen's second miscarriage in 1997. It was a difficult time for a lot of reasons. In 1997 Minas Tirith was reeling from the end of the civil war. Warlords vied for control with armed gangs of men harassing everyone in sight. In November of 1997 a small gang took a Western couple hostage and eventually the lady was killed in a rescue attempt. Our NGO that was run by another agency at the time was in an uproar with broken relationships everywhere and lots of conflict. The Country of Gondor had nothing and was on the verge of being a failed state. Our team was working hard to help people and share Jesus with all who would listen. It was then that we got word that my supervisor was coming to visit. We were sure he would make us evacuate. We tried to make contingency plans to demonstrate that we were being careful. We varied our routes and times as we traveled and I walked around my car to inspect it before getting into it every time I went some where. Having said that we were never afraid and we went places that in hind sight was probably quite dangerous. Arwen was 14 weeks pregnant when my boss was due to arrive. The day before he came she began bleeding. Then she miscarried. She still cooked for us. There was a lady doctor from the West working with our NGO and she took Arwen to Hospital Number One for a D and C. The local medical system was totally nonfunctional but the doctor was able to get some things together and we took Arwen the to Hospital and walked her to the fourth floor. She had a shot of something to deaden pain and make her sleepy. She had the D and C and then, since it was November and it was darn cold outside and inside we took her home. As she started down the stairs I helped her and I said, 'Are you ok, are you still drugged?' She said she was fine. Then she collapsed and very fortunately I caught her. I picked her up in my arms and carried her the rest of the way down the stairs. When we reached the lobby there were ten chairs and more than 20 people there. I stood with Arwen semi-conscious in my arms. I told the doctor to get her car and pull it around front and I would wait here out of the rain. I was concerned that I would have to stand but when I turned back around the room was empty. Those folks did not know what was wrong with that foreign woman and they didn't want to know! I sat down in one of the many empty seats and waited for the car. The other day I told Arwen that I would write up this story but I didn't really have a spiritual point to make. She was quite surprised. She said, 'What are talking about? God provided everything we needed right when we needed it. Gondor was a mess and had nothing and yet when we needed it we had a doctor, and medicine, and support from good friends.' Well, of course she is right. God did all that and more. He always does.
So, on to my rant. A guy came to me the other day from Mordor. He said he needed help to get to the West. I asked him his story and this is what he told me.
"I am a family practice doctor from Mordor. I work with a couple of foreign doctors and I am now a believer. Only my wife knows this and I think my father a little bit. Last week my father found my Bible. He accused me of being a Christian but I denied it and said no, a lot of people want to read this book. He said no, you are a Christian I think. So, I went to the Gondor consulate that day and told them I had to leave immediately, could they get me a visa. They said no, but some guys outside the consulate sold me a visa for $800. Now my family- wife and two children- are here. We have registered with the Gondor Officials and now we have no money left. I can not get work here legally and I don't know what to do."
I asked him, 'Did anyone threaten you? I don't understand, didn't your father help you leave?' No, no one threatened him but being a known believer is a big problem in Mordor. He had to leave. I suggested that he return and he was terrified of the idea. That was out of the question.
Now, let me be clear here. I have no sympathy for this guy. Maybe I should but I don't. If you want to tell me that you are afraid ok. But if you start to tell me that the situation is hopeless I have a big problem with that. Mordor, this situation- and your situation- are not bigger than God. Is life tough? You bet it is. Can I promise that man that if he has faith then no harm will come to him or his family? Nope, I can't and I won't. But our God is faithful. He will walk through even the Valley of Shadow of Death with us. He has walked there with me more than once. Running away is not the answer to anything. Recently a friend of mine asked me what he should do in a very difficult situation and I told him. 'I don't know what you should do but the answer lies with faith. Whatever takes more faith is what pleases God and so I think you should do whatever it takes you more faith to do.' Dangerous advice perhaps but it is based not on our ability to see, understand, or act. It is based on God who is faithful. Any act of faithlessness on our part is not an indictment of our own weakness it is an accusation. When we fail to act because of faithlessness we are accusing God of being smaller than our problems and faithless to act. He is not small or faithless. Stand and see His salvation.