“Why are you different?”
Written by Caitlin Lawrence, a MedSend grant recipient and nurse serving in Bolivia
This is a story about a hospice patient that I had the privilege of caring for named Doña Hilda. Doña Hilda had metastatic cancer and was already at the end of her life when I first met her. Her daughter and granddaughter came to the clinic asking for medical assistance, but it was obvious that she didn’t have much time left. She had stopped eating, slept most of the time, and showed many signs of frailty, malnutrition, and actively dying. After spending time with the family and helping with her pain, nausea and anxiety, I asked the daughter for permission to pray for them. Without hesitation, she asked me to please pray.
Once we had left Doña Hilda’s room, the daughter asked me, “Why are you different?” I was a little confused and had to ask her to clarify her question. What she said next blew me away. She answered, “All of you in your clinic are so different. The way you care, the way you interact with the patients and families, and you just offered to pray for us, and this is your first time in our house. I asked someone to come and pray with us, but they said that they couldn’t come. You’ve only been here for a few hours and without even our asking you offered to pray for us. So why are you different?”
I took a deep breath and quickly asked for God’s guidance. What followed was a wonderful conversation about having a personal relationship with Jesus. We talked about how having that relationship with the Lord changes who we are and how we practice medicine. Our goal in the clinic is to demonstrate the compassionate nature of God to others, and to be a light in the darkness as Jesus calls us to be.
Despite the darkness around us, God is at work in this city and our hope for the people of Potosí is unshaken. I am reminded of Isaiah 46 where it speaks of idols and how He will accomplish all that He purposes. He is the One True God. There is no other like Him, and He has said “I will accomplish all my purpose… I have spoken and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it (Is 46.10-11).” He is completely sovereign overall. We serve an unstoppable God. Hallelujah!
We might not always understand what those purposes are, or why things happen the way they do, but we can know with complete certainty that whatever God purposes to do here in Potosí, it WILL come to pass. The darkness in Potosí is reflected in people dying in the mines, worshipping wooden idols, sacrificing animals, drowning out their fears with alcohol and abuse, but God is moving. He is the light in the darkness. He is the God who raises the dead. He is the God who redeems broken people. He is an unstoppable God!
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