Helpless and Hopeless

(For the record, I wrote this about a week ago, but am just now posting.)

Today was one of those days where I kind of wondered why I bother. There have been a lot of those  days lately. I find that the more often I am out and about in the community on a regular basis, the more often that feeling occurs. We spent a portion of the day today helping one of the orphan kids get more medicine for his epilepsy. Medicine that his sister/guardian let him run completely out of before she bothered telling us. She had a two month’s supply of medicine, but waited until it was gone to notify us. I am sure there is more to the story than just that, but it seemed to me that she didn’t care enough to get more medicine before it ran out and then it became an immediate problem that she needed us to fix. We had already taken her brother to the doctor two months ago, we got him a new/correct prescription, and we paid for his medicine (and continue to do so). All she had to do was get the prescription refilled. So, why were we scrambling two days after he ran out of medicine to try to fill it for her? It made me want to say “If you don’t care, then why should I? Why did I leave my home and my country and my culture to come and help someone who won’t help themselves.” I didn’t say it, but I wanted to.

Just the other day, I went to a goat beneficiary’s house and one of her goats had had twins. Both twins had died. She said she tried to call us, but couldn’t get us. The first twin died within a day or two of being born, the second died 15 days later. In 15 days, she wasn’t able to get ahold of anyone? We gave her two goats for free and provided access to a (very expensive) buck from America, so the goats could be bred and still she sat there and let both babies die and it seemed like she didn’t care enough to do anything about it. Why do we bother when she doesn’t?

There are so many situations where people aren’t helpless, but things sure do seem hopeless. Today we went and saw one of our beneficiary’s kids that is crippled and they don’t know why. She used to be able to walk.  Now she can’t. By examining her, it is obvious that her back is locked up,  not her legs, but what does that matter, because I have no idea what to do for her. I was literally choking back the tears today as we looked at her. She was so brave and so strong, seemed so unhindered by her condition, yet she can’t walk. Since she can’t walk, she can’t go to school. I just set there thinking to myself, “What is she going to do for the rest of her life? Sit here on this bed of dried corn stalks?” The situation seemed so hopeless. We prayed for her and I know God can heal her, but I don’t know that He will – at least not in the way that I am thinking.

This is the second girl I have seen in the past month that can’t walk. The other was a friend of a beneficiary. They told me that she was 7 years old and couldn’t walk and wanted me to look at her. It didn’t take long to figure out there was more wrong with her than just not being able to walk. I’m pretty sure she had cerebral palsy. She seemed 100% there mentally, but couldn’t communicate clearly, couldn’t control saliva, and couldn’t use her legs. She was 7. She could crawl. These situations are sad anywhere, but here they are literally heartbreaking. As I was praying over her that day, I had to stop in the middle of the prayer to keep from breaking down. It felt so hopeless.

And while it is true, that I often “feel” this way about things here, I know I don’t get to live in those feelings. It is just a feeling, a fleeting moment in a difficult circumstance. Hopelessness. Helplessness. It does not define me, it does not define my time here, it does not define the situation. As believers, we don’t get to live life by how we feel. Sure, we feel things and are only human in those fleshly emotions, but we are supposed to be standing on truth, not our feelings. The truth is that our hope is in Christ and Christ alone. The truth is that He works things for His glory, not ours. That He has a higher plan and higher thoughts and they are not like ours. That even if those two little girls are never healed, if they never walk, they are not hopeless and God is not any less powerful to do so. That He is powerful to take even my blubbering language and seemingly never-ending miscommunications and His Spirit can pierce even the hardest heart, even the simplest mind. That is the truth. It isn’t always how I feel. It isn’t always how I see the situation, but it is the reality of what I have based my life upon. The reality that He is God and He is in control. That He is good and He is faithful. That He works for His glory and my good….even when I can not see it. Even when it doesn’t look like it.

“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

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© 2020 by Katie Murray