Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Missing the Blessing

I got the call from a veterinary friend of mine that there were two sick horses in a village not far from me, and he asked if we'd like to come along. The owner was also a missionary. I knew Abby would be excited, so her and I jumped on the motorcycle and zipped down the road to where our friend was waiting. 
After a good deal of puddle-dodging down a back road we finally came upon the missionary and his horses. He had brought them out onto the road for the doctor to get a good look at them, and the commotion had stirred up quite a crowd of locals. I noticed very quickly that there were two types of people watching the doctor make his diagnosis, there were those who wanted to learn and those who didn't. 

My daughter, along with a few of the villagers, watched with laser-vision every move the vet made. He checked the gums, the eyelids, the muscle tension, all sorts of things, and explained to us exactly what he was doing. Abby absorbed every word, asking questions and taking a mental log of every detail, in case she ever needed to make the same check on her own horse. She got to listen with a stethoscope for the first time, to hear the heartbeat of this grand animal, to hear her labored breathing. A few of the men next to us also paid close attention, and they were very grateful for the opportunity. Then there were the rest. 

They sat at the side of the road, mocking. Making fun of every move, laughing at the vet when the horse tried to kick him. They made as many jokes as they could, speaking loudly to draw attention to themselves. Some of the girls laughed at the disrespect of the men. Some of the children were also watching as they pretended the white doctor knew nothing. 

Here was this man who had paid a great deal of money for his education, who had years and years of experience in the field, and he was in their village, looking at two horses free of charge, out on the street in full public view. The opportunity to learn couldn't have been more obvious, and yet they learned nothing at all. Instead they asked no questions and only made jokes, trying to discourage the vet. 
"These two horses are like my babies." The missionary said. "I love them so much. I try to give them everything, I train them. They are my companions." The vet gave his recommendations for medicine and rest, and we thanked him for letting us come to see. 
Then the next morning I got a message from the vet. 
"Someone killed one of the missionary's horses in the night." He said. "Hit her so hard in the head that she died."Abby was devastated, and we prayed for the missionary since we know he is struggling with forgiveness and grief, especially because during the exam we found that same horse to be pregnant. Sometimes it seems insurmountable in Haiti to understand that we are living illustrations, in spite of persecution. God's examples are all around us, and how we act or react is often the measure not just of the man, but of the Christian. How many times have I failed at just that point? 

During devotions as I was reading the Bible in Kreyol, Oberline began to laugh at my dialect, making fun of my words. She couldn't help herself, and it was so easy to laugh at me anyway. Ironically, she completely missed the verse I was reading, James 1:25, which translated in the Kreyol reflects this, "If you're not a person who lets the Word of God go in one ear and out the other, if you do what the Law asks, you'll find blessings."

We can be so distracted by one another that we miss the workmanship of God. We can take the easy road, hardening hearts with our tongue, discouraging, mocking, and hurting in the name of being comfortable with ourselves, but aren't we missing something?  Yes! We are missing the blessing.It's only the condition of our hearts that keeps us in the darkness. If we will just soften and open even a little bit, there's a beautiful light. It's warm, and there's enough to go around. Why do we choose to bicker in the cold? It all comes down to the name of Jesus, and whether or not the knee will bend. The truth is they will bend. Every one. The only question is whether it's here or there.

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