Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Face of Christ

My thoughts and prayers today at with Patricia. Patricia is a patient in the health clinic for chronically ill and rehabilitated persons. She has been there my entire stay in South Africa, and in our first meeting she asked if I would pray for her. Since, we have shared conversations and smiles as she has continued to fight various illnesses. When I went for a visit on Friday, I immediately noticed a dramatic change in Patricia’s condition, and asked Jess, the social worker about it. Jess told me that Patricia was ‘not doing well at all’ and that she had called her family to come and visit. It was clear she was in the last stages on life and it was time to say goodbyes. I went to Patricia, and she recognized me and held out her hand to me. I sat with her as she coughed and grimaced in pain. I believe it was the worst condition I had ever seen a human being in, and up to that time the thought of this moment in my mind was one I had churned over endlessly in fear. I was terrified that in those delicate moments with a terminally ill person, I would be completely overwhelmed and disgusted. However, when faced with this call, to be present with people in times of horrendous suffering, I found myself completely calm and at peace. I prayed peace and God’s presence over Patricia and she agreed with these spiritual truths. I stroked her head and hair and looked deeply into her face and eyes. The words of Matthew 25 flashed in my spirit, and I knew that I was caring for Christ in those precious moments. It was a privilege. Our time came to an end, and I promised Patricia I would return, knowing that there was no guarantee to the hours or days left in her life. But Christ and His loving embrace were powerfully near, and I knew that He would carry her through her anguish. It is moments like these that can never be captured in words, but must only be experienced. They are not reserved for the ‘super-spiritual’ but for each of us, as we are all invited to find Christ in the last and the least of our world. I continue to invite you to come close, to the suffering in our world, and the image of God in each of us. Please pray for Patricia, that her suffering would be minimal and that she would know the powerful presence of God.


Alicia Collins said...

You were trully w/ Patricia in her struggle and pain. You were fully present with her and I am sure that in and of itself was a comfort to her. God is truly doing his work in you. Wish I could be there with you too. Maybe in Mexico in Oct.
love you so, Mom

Kathy Starkey said...

Sarah, Watching as someone begins their "death" journey into life with Jesus is an awesome and fascinating experience. It is one that takes faith and courage. You are in my prayers along with Patricia as you experience her journey with her. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

Kerry said...

sarah - i know i've already said this to you, but i wanted to say it publicly, that your amazing ability to capture what you're going through in what makes your experiences so real to all of us back home. with you making your experiences real, and claiming the truth that is LIFE is REAL through our belief that our God has created us in our image, and that allows us to be free to give that love to others...we can all start to believe that WE can also come close to the last and the least...and you are blazing that trail and making it seem real and possible to us. i hope that all makes sense. love you!

Raymond said...

Sarah, thank you so so much for showing God's people Jesus' love. i pray that God will continue to use you as you spread his love to his people all over the world