stories of hardship met with pure faith
Luke 8: 40-55
I’d like to tell you two faith and healing stories from our recent week in Nicaragua. Like the stories in Luke, these stories also involve two women, one old and one young. And it is their faith in the healing power of Christ that I want to tell you about.
Juana didn’t know us the first time we visited her four years ago. We were told that there was an old woman who had a bad leg, and would we please go to see her. The people who suggested it must have thought that we might be able to help – but Juana didn’t have a clue who we were or why we suddenly came walking across the field toward her home. We told her that we were Christians with a group called El Ayudante, and that was all she needed to know. She welcomed us and – literally – put herself in our hands. Imagine having enough faith in strangers – simply because they are Christians – to let them see the horrible sore on your leg. Believing that they won’t turn away, believing that they will try to help. Because they are Christians. But Juana’s faith in the healing power of Christ went far beyond that first visit. For the other 364 days of each year since then, Juana has taken care of her leg as well as she is able – because she has hope that it can be made better. She believes that by using the clean water from her clay pot water filter, putting on the salve that the doctor gave her, and wrapping her sore in a clean cloth, her leg will improve. Despite the odds (distance, cost, unsanitary conditions, the wound itself), she continues to take care of her leg, day after day, year after year – when most people would have lost hope and given up. She hangs on, with faith that she will once again be visited by Christians who want her to get well. Who have faith in a God who loves and cares for Juana. Who will put their hands on her head, and pray for her, as she sits and silently weeps. She trusts our Lord to remember her and to heal her.
Fabiola is a 19 year old first-time mother, who came to Dr. Medina’s clinic, suffering from mastitis, following the birth of her daughter, Christa, earlier that week. Dr. Medina turned her over to the five women in our group, urging us to do what we could, and to reassure her. So Fabiola allowed us to be her caregivers. Once again, putting herself very intimately in the hands of total strangers. Because Dr. Medina knew we were Christians, and trusted that we would do what we could to help. In Nicaragua, being a Christian carries some serious weight! These people believed that those who called themselves Christians were willing – and able, with Jesus’ help – to do something to ease their pain. They didn’t know us, but they knew Christ, and in Him they put their trust.
Like the woman who believed that she only needed to touch Christ’s garment to be restored to health, or the father who stayed close by Jesus’ side, trusting that his daughter would be brought back to life – these Nicaraguans live their own stories of hardship met with pure faith. We can learn so much from the Nicaraguans. Or from anyone, for that matter, who stays strong and confident in the Holy Spirit each and every day.