Love as unyielding as the grave…
After 3 days of ups and downs, I was preparing yet another trip to the hospital to check in on our youngest when there was a knock at my door. I knew. I was woken in the middle of the night with a vision of Jesus sweeping up sweet little Azeezah in His arms and taking her home to Father’s house. Every cell in my being wanted to interpret that vision figuratively. How could I so fall in love with God’s little prophetic messenger of His grace to my life in less than three days?
The knock came and I knew. When I answered the door our family was crowded in the doorway to tell me the news. Azeezah had been taken home to heaven.
I got my things together and walked into the mud hut village surrounding our rental compound to meet and sit with the family and community. They ushered me into a dim mud tukal and I knelt at the bed where Azzezah was laid. I asked Jesus if He wanted me to pray for her to come back to life. And He said, “No. Let her go.” He said so clearly He wanted her and she would grow up in Father’s house in His arms. Azeezah Adanna– Cherished one of her Father– went home. I really can’t say she died. Her body died but she wasn’t there. She is very much alive in His house as much as we all were beliving for healing so she could grow up in ours.
But today I saw another kind of miracle taking place. I knelt by where she was laid holding her small body weeping and unbeknownst to me, a community was opening its arms. I held her grandmother, an elderly Shillok woman from the north bearing the tatoos of her tribe and wept as she wept. We wept together. This too is the Gospel.
Weep with those who weep. As they saw my own brokenness, the community of Shillok and Kawkwa ladies came around to comfort me. The whole family wouldn’t stop saying thank you.
We did all that was possible given the situation. There just weren’t enough resources to med-evac this young one to Kampala where she might have had more of a chance. We prayed and God answered. Grief and death are such common place occurances here. The average life expectancy is 30-35.
Every other night we hear the high pitch death wail. But does it ever stop hurting… no. Not when it is your loved one or little child.
Yet is our God bigger than death? Is love as strong as death, as unyielding the grave? Absolutely.
Death would have to give back the dead before love would give up its loved ones. Love is AS STRONG as death. Death in the Kingdom is NEVER final. EVER. In the Kingdom it always gives way to life– either the dead are raised or go on to enter into the Life that never ends with Jesus.
Today we learned a little more what it is like being Sudanese. A little more what it is like in a place of utter helplessness. A little more what it means to be sacrificial love in the place of pain.
As I knelt in the dirt holding grandma tears streaming down both our faces and watched them lower her little body into the grave and pack dirt on it. The grave. It looks so final. It isn’t. It is an illusion. Through my tears I could see angels joining the community looking on and I saw Jesus again holding her as she smiled and giggled no longer the pain- racked, malnourished little one who came to our door step a few days ago.
Yes it hurts. It hurts alot. But a community knows they are loved.
And little Azzezah is still a prophetic message to us. She came with the name Akish– orphaned. We renamed her Azeezah Adanna… Cherished daughter of Her Father, who was taken to live in her Father’s house in heaven– and there will be a generation once called orphans now called cherished sons and daughters of their Father who learn to live from heaven to earth knowing their place in Father’s house.
And in Father’s goodness, yesterday we took in our 51st child. Victoria Joy. She is the healthiest plumpest, happiest one months old baby I have ever seen. She came to us as Vikki… short for Victoria and the family said we could name her 2nd name. I took one look at her grinning little face and knew. Victoria Joy it was. Her name literally means one who is Victorious through joy. I hold her and feed her and I see Jesus looking back at me through her little face.
God’s mercy took one little one home. His grace brought another little life into mine who is again a message of His heartbeat to us.
I came home to all 50 kids singing and worshiping and the older ones teaching the younger ones Engish. I believe I am one of the most blessed women on the planet. Thank you so much for your love and prayers and responses. Each of you means so much to me.