Sometimes, things are beautiful. So beautiful they make you want to sing and jump and cry- all at the same time. Sometimes, you can so clearly see the work that God is doing it’s as if you can almost taste the goodness.
Those things are beautiful.
A few days ago, we experienced something beautiful. An international team was in the area, and we were able to go into villages to screen hundreds of children for heart defects. Performing hundreds of echocardiograms; hundreds of EKGs. So many squirming, wriggling, oh so precious little bodies…heartbeat after heartbeat echoing down through the rooms. The emotion in each room was high. Anxious parents holding their hopes and dreams in their arms, waiting to hear the coveted words…”Your child has a beautiful, healthy heart”…while bracing for the worst. Sighs of relief at good news heard are palpable, then quickly followed by endless thanks. But the sharp intakes of breath- the dashing of those hopes and dreams- are what pierce my heart instead.
Please…please help us. This is my child.
A family came to this clinic, with a precious twenty day old gift. The little boy was clearly very sick, with a tell-tale blue-ish tint. Again, the familiar chorus from the wearied father…”Please. He is my baby boy. Please help him”. He was diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)…a complex CHD. There wasn’t much time, but the visiting surgeon thought that he could give him a chance. In God’s perfect timing, he had come into town…just in time to meet this little gem. He agreed to operate as soon as possible, as early as the next day! Plans were made and things fell into place…this little one had hope. As soon as he could arrive at a city much farther south, he would have his chance. A chance to grow. A chance to flourish. A chance to live.
This. This, my friends, is beautiful.
But sometimes, sometimes things are painful. Sometimes things are so painful that you can’t begin to understand. You can’t think. You can’t shout. Sometimes, you can’t even cry. You can only sit stunned, and pray that things will begin to make sense. Pray that it’s wrong…that this can’t be true…that there must be some mistake.
These things are painful.
Yesterday, we experienced something painful. Something that wrenched my heart, pierced my soul, and left me raw…questioning…trembling. This precious one, for whom mountains had been moved and great hope had been placed…
He passed away.
Just minutes after reaching the hospital in the south. Just minutes before a life-giving surgery could begin. And it was too late. It was shocking. It was unexpected. It did not match in the slightest our expectations of the hope and joy in this day…for this boy….for his family. Hope was dashed. Life was lost. The reality stings.
This. This, my friends, is painful.
But there is beauty in this pain. Because you see, this little one had a chance. He had a hope. He was not turned away…sent home due to a broken medical system…or given up on. His story here was rewritten, and the hope in it shines through.
He was fought for. He was given a chance for life. And he was loved.
In a country where this type of medical care is rarely seen…where thousands of children with heart defects have previously sat on medical waiting lists without a chance or a hope for an unbroken life…this story infuses hope. Because maybe someday, all the children of Iraq will have the same chance at life this little one was given. Maybe someday, all the children with broken hearts will be mended, learning to run and jump and play, experiencing life like they never have before.
This little one was so worth it. He is the symbol of the hope that is to come. Because out of this dusty, broken country where hope is dry…He is creating beautiful things. Because his chance, his fight, his life…is the beauty.
Hope is rising. Can you feel it?
Hope is springing up from this old ground.
Out of chaos, life is being found in You.
You make beautiful things,
You make beautiful things out of dust.
You make beautiful things,
You make beautiful things out of us”
– Gungor “Beautiful Things”