Dan, Heather, Jeremiah, Emma, Claire, Levi, Josie and baby Jane

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Something More to Offer

17 year old girl with gun shot wound to right elbow.

Trying to close my bag after a random inspection...I warned them (by experience).

Samson, Emma, and Ema, chillin' on the front porch.

After having flown over 18,000 miles (and six flight segments) to attend the four day SIGN conference in Richland, WA, I finally arrived home at Tenwek last night. The highlights of this long journey (but quick trip) were interacting with the hundreds of international SIGN surgeons, presenting the orthopedic work at Tenwek at the conference, spending time with my Galat cousins and the Pavkov’s (who happen to live in Richland), watching two agents try (in vain) to re-zip one of my bags after inspecting it…and, of course, coming home to my family. The low points were the flight from Amsterdam to Seattle…I sat next to a young girl who I think had swine flu…the flight from Seattle to Amsterdam (déjà vu), and laying awake all last night, trying to solve the world’s problems, still on West Coast time, awaiting a new and exciting day in clinic.

Thankfully, today was a “light” day in clinic…only 60 patients, but again with the “box of chocolate” motif in full throttle. One patient, in particular, was exceptionally challenging, the last patient of the day, a 17 year old girl with a completely deformed elbow from a random gun shot during Kenya’s post-election violence last year. As I examined this young girl’s hand, muscles wasted from the ulnar nerve which had been blown away by the bullet, I thought to myself, “there is nothing I can offer her.” Then, as clearly as day, as if to usurp the lie that just traversed my thoughts (and likely influenced by the fact that I was sleep deprived at that moment), I heard another inaudible voice that said, “How untrue…you have something more to offer.” God’s simple rebuke was loud and clear, and I felt ashamed of my humanism and plain lack of faith, but paradoxically, simultaneously strengthened, at that moment, to give what was needed.

After explaining the grim prognosis, I offered to pray with the girl and her family and they eagerly accepted. I thanked God that the bullet was not one foot to the right (potentially hitting her chest), and for the fact that she miraculously had limited, but pain-free and functional range of motion. Then, I asked God simply to heal her for His sake, and Christ’s glory, and after saying “amen,” I noticed the tears in her eyes. That “something more” was, at that moment, exactly what she needed.

As I walked home, I thanked God for taking me to the “woodshed,” and the reminder of my real reason for being at Tenwek…not just to operate, but to be an agent of healing, both physical and spiritual. What is the “something more” that you can offer those God sovereignly brings into your life? Where can you step out in faith, beyond yourself, to be what God has called you to be, for the sake of others, and for His glory? Let us encourage each other in this and consider the words of the apostle Paul as he wrote about his trials to the Corinthians:

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

3 comments:

Frank Martens said...

ok hold on a sec... where did you get the "taking me to the woodshed" phrase from?

My dad uses it all the time. Haha.

Laura said...

Dan your posts always bring tears to my eyes. I am printing this one for family devotions! Thanks.

Rebekah said...

Hi there. I have heard about your family at ARC and received a forwarded e-mail of this post from a member of Autumn Ridge. I also started as an ortho nurse at Methodist Hospital in August 2008, and Michelle regularly posts updates of your work in the conference room! It's exciting to hear what God is doing. Thanks for sharing.