Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dr. Erica Noyes, "Why bother? They'll be sick again next week."

On the third day, exhausted and overwhelmed, looking down the hall at a sea full of beautiful faces--- yet to be treated. Running low on medicines. Running lower on energy. Hot. Nauseated. Then it hits....desperation, questions, doubts, despair.

Am I doing any good at all here?

Child after child with the same symptoms....stomach pain, diarrhea, fatigue, boils, scabies. We treat it, next child. Moving on. What am I doing? Will they not just drink the water again and be back in the same condition next week? Will they catch the staph and scabies again? What is my purpose here?

I am defeated.

Same day, we open the box of round sugary treats for the kids made out of some corn like product and shaped like balls. We have taken up a collection to give them this special treat that they rarely get on their one meal a day regimen. As we open the box...ants flood out, they have covered their treats. Horrified, I ask for a clean box and start one by one removing the ants from each ball....moving them to another box. Someone teases me, “you know the ants are just going to move to the next box!” Again the feeling of defeat returns.

Why do I even bother?

So here is my question...Why do any of us “bother” when things we do seem to have no lasting purpose. Why do we clean a house that will get messy again, why do we change our children’s diapers when they will mess them again, why do we treat our own children’s illness when they will get sick again? Why do we try to tell others of Jesus who slam a door in our face?

I believe it was Jesus who said “who among you when your child asks for bread would give him a stone.”
Why bother? Because as Christians we cannot do otherwise. Yes, sometimes our work may seem futile but we know that “all things work together for the good to those that love God and are called according to his purposes.” If called to give, we must do so even if we do not see the purpose in it. Trusting that--- we keep trying, though we may never know why, or of what good comes from our labors.

We are compelled to keep trying.

Thankfully God did impart to me some understanding. Those children we loved on and tried to patch up are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They are God’s children and we are called to demonstrate His love, thereby making Him more real to them. They understand that someone cares enough to try to make their life better, even if just for awhile... in His name.

For that short time, we can be Jesus to them, so that later they can be Jesus for someone else. They are the future. They are worth the investment. We cared for them as we would our own. Would we neglect our own childrens’ illness, or hand them food covered in bugs if we could otherwise not?

So what if the ants come back. And yes, unfortunately the cavities and the illness too. At least , they know that somebody in the name of Christ loved them the enough to try. And that makes it all worth it.

We must never be defeated.

Dr. Erica Noyes

4 - read/write comments:

Audie O. said...

Thanks Erica. Sometimes just a glimpse of how things ought to be can set a life on a new, higher trajectory.

Pat Tucker said...

I have always thought that it was important to follow rules, obey parents and others in authority. Why? Because they know best. They always had the wisdom and understanding that I did not have. Even when I did not understand "why?", I always discovered the answer eventually. Maybe it was a few minutes later, maybe when I was grown and telling my kids to do something when they didn't understand "why?".
Our lives as followers of Jesus Christ are like that, too. We are mere mortals--severely ignorant of God's ways and purposes. Romans 8:28 that you quoted has frequently been my "go to" verse. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose". Pretty powerful, if you think about it. It's the answer to ALL of our "whys?" It might not always seem like a good answer, but it is the right answer. God always knows best. We should do what he tells us to the best of our ability--regardless of whether we understand why or see the purpose.
God told each of us that participated in this endeavor to do what we did. Like planting a field and walking away. You might not see a harvest or imagine that there will be one, but that is not your job---that is God's job. Your job is to plant, someone else will water, and still someone else will harvest, but God will get the glory.
Thank you Erica (and the rest of the team)--- for every drop of sweat, every exasperated moment, every loving touch. You will see the harvest one day. It may be in heaven, but you will see it. When you do anything in the name of Jesus, it will not return void. There may be one child that you healed that may have the opportunity to grow up. That child may be the great evangelist that turns India into a Christian country. Mat, maybe it was the child with the Lymphoma---God knows. He sent you all for a purpose.

I can guarantee you that you all accomplished that purpose.

In His service,

erica Noyes said...

We as parents have all experienced it...the hour long kindergarden graduation ceremony where each child must recite a poem or rhyme, the seemingly endless night at the ball field for the little league games, the piano and dance recitals, the school plays and band concerts. Be honest...we endure these monstrosities for that one golden moment. When our child is finally “up to bat”. And why do we do it? Believe me, given the choice, there are many activities I would enjoy doing much more...and so would you! But we as parents not only come to these activities, but come with joy. We bring or video cameras, our family and friends, and all of our excitement because of one thing...LOVE.
And if, God forbid, our child is the one to strike out, or hit the wrong notes, or forget their lines, do we love them any less?
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Really it all comes down to love. We love because He first loved us. He didn’t send and angel or prophet this time, no...He sent His very best. His one and only loved son, Jesus.
And while Jesus was here He gave His very best. He healed. He taught. He died. While we were yet sinners, Jesus died. And He died for us whether we chose Him or not. And most did not.
Because He was here, He inspired another small group to do their very best-- to share His great love, and that group has since changed the world.
God loves to use the ordinary to do the extraordinary, like those 12 men who would have been rejected by the pious religious reign of their time. Like the boy with the small basket of bread and fish that He used to feed thousands. And hopefully, like us. We offer whatever we have, and give our best to God, even if we don’t think it much. God will do what God will do, and we would be honored to have any part in it. He will use whatever we will give to do extraordinary things!
Because he loves us, this loves grows in us and must be shared. Love inspires us to endure pain, whether the pain of sitting through our child’s program, the pain of late nights nursing a sick child, the pain loving and then of losing someone you loved, and the pain of leaving your own family to go across the world to share a little love with someone else that God loves. (Our extended Christian family)
Sometimes we get to see a good response from sharing our love with others, and we are allowed the joy of witnessing what God does with our small “basket of fish and bread”. Praise God for this blessing. Sometimes we won’t get to see how our part was important and must only trust the promises in the scripture that it was.
But sometimes, as it was with Jesus, sharing love can hurt. He experienced misunderstandings, criticism, rejection, abandonment, torture and death. We may experience rejection, criticism, loss, wounds and pain because we chose to love. Sometimes we get hardened by our past wounds and have trouble loving or trusting again. Sometimes is would be easier and safer not to love, but instead to do what makes us feel good.
Our human nature is selfish, but God through His Holy Spirit allows us to be different if we chose to let Him. He transforms us at our very core. His love drives us to take the risk.
And thanks to God that He loves us in the way He does....warts and all. Like a good parent, His love is unconditional and existed way before we did. He loves us even if we choose not to return His love. That is His pain. And He understands ours.
So whatever happens, we push ahead, in the love of Christ who loved us first. We may strike out sometimes. What is important is that we keep trying. Whatever you have, even if you think it small, give it your best and share it in love. Even if it hurts.
Witness God do something extraordinary when you give to him your “ordinary”.

erica Noyes said...

Ok, I really am not trying to "hog the blog". But as soon as I posted this I had 2 things I couldn't get out of my head. First...the song "love bites" by def leppard. (Yes, I know....heavy metal is bad for your brain! ha ha) . And second, an image of God as the parent watching my life's "recital"--- full of missed notes, excuses, whining, mistakes, disobedience and mess ups. Yes, there have been occasional good notes, but I seriously don't know how he has endured it. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.

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