I Didn't Want to Go

by Marti Fisher

Dale and I just spent two weeks in rural Cameroon up in the rainy highlands. Four years ago, Dale asked if I would go with him to visit some of his friends from another religion. He had been building bridges between them and the Christians at the place where we lodged.

Dale walks up the road to meet his friends.

Dale walks up the road to meet his friends.

He loves to take pictures and bring them to distribute the next time he comes. I agreed and enjoyed the time there getting to know some new and very different people. On the way back to the orphanage, I saw a woman who was sitting outside her door and said, "Hello." Her response was, "I'm sick." I went over to see her and Dale joined me. She said that her husband had beaten here so severely that she couldn't stand up straight. We prayed for her, gave her something to eat and then she escorted us to the edge of her property obviously in much pain.

Even though four years had passed, I didn't want to go up the road again. I just wanted to avoid a painful situation. But I went anyway. I needed the exercise.

On the way up a woman caught our attention. She was dressed in an African cloth dress, she was very thin and her arms flailed about as though she was trying to gather up her skirt. She looked like someone with cerebral palsy. As we approached, she said, "Give me something." All we had was a Clif Bar and we fished it out of the bottom of Dale's backpack. Could this be the same woman I wondered.

We finished giving out Dale's photos and headed down the road back to the orphanage to beat the approaching rain. A young boy ran up to us quickly and said, "Thank you. That is my mother." In chatting with him I realized she was the one we had prayed with 4 years ago. I was so touched by the gratitude of this child. I thought about how easily others could make fun of his spastic mother and say unkind things.

As I returned to the USA and thought about this situation it was as if the Lord was saying, "You try to avoid pain but as you face it, I have a blessing tucked inside that you could have missed."

I now realize that navigating in life by trying to avoid all pain isn't wise. Our all loving Lord has much to teach us if we are teachable. I am grateful for what I learned.

. . . give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  — 1 Thessalonians 5:18