Monday, January 21, 2008

It is Well

January 21

.... When peace like a river attendeth my way
.... When sorrow like sea billows roll
.... Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
.... It is well, it is well, with my soul

The words of this old hymn really hit me hard last night. Whatever my lot, especially in Africa right now, God has taught me to say, "It is well, with my soul." It is my choice whether to believe in His faithfulness and say them. Even if my conflicting emotions say different, it is what I know to be true that matters...It is well.

I got home from Cameroon and headed to work to see all the patients that came in while we were gone. One was an old man who got too close to the fire to warm himself. Half his skin was severely burned along his back, chest, neck and one arm. It brought tears to my eyes to see everyone avoid him like the plague while his wife led him bent & stinking, rasping for air, covered in flies, inside for his dressing change. The nurses stood as far away from him as possible while gingerly picking his bandages off without touching a hair on his head.

I finally couldn't stand to see the poor man alone, naked for all to see as they passed, swaying back & forth with no support. So I sat down next to him and cradled the side of his body with the least burns against me. Immediately he leaned hard onto me, clasping my hand with his swollen one, and turning to muffle his agonizing cries into my chest. As the burn ointment, mingled with blood & pus ran down over both of us, I stroked his head with my free hand, whispering to him in English, and wishing I could bear just some of his pain. His rasping screams felt like they were coming straight from my own heart.

The injustice of the situation sprang open in my mind. All the special procedures for burn patients in the States...and this man in Africa, dealing with raw indescribable pain constantly, in a place reeking with infection, with barely a few ibuprophen pills to stem the pain a notch. "God, why such suffering to the undeserving?!"

As the man sobbed onto my scrubs, tears soaking in, I let my chin rest onto his head and glanced up. "No, God, You are faithful and holding this man closer than I am. It is all in Your hands...It is well.

Some of you have been asking how I'm doing and all I can say is, God has taught me to say, "It is well, it is well, with my soul."


  1. Sarah,
    An interesting fact about this hymn. It was written by Horatio Spafford in 1883 while crossing the Atlantic with his wife at the spot where she had miracuously survived a shipwreck in which all 4 daughters died. They had left their riches in America to start a community in Jerusalem to help the poor. They devoted their lives to nursing the sick, feeding the hungry and caring for the orphaned. This community of poor became very successful because of them.

    It reminds me of how you are treating the Tchadians. Also, from the words of Jesus; "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matt 25:35-40.

    "Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." Eph 6:10-11.

  2. I keep praying every day that this world won't be around long. But until that happens, God puts us where He needs us. Thank you so much for being Gods hands and arms and voice over there. I know it's difficult to be there sometimes but just remember if you hadn't been there for that old man...who could he have leaned on?

    We love you and miss you and constantly pray for you and everyone at your little hospital.

    Love, Lynda H.

  3. Hey Sarah!
    I miss you!!! Wow, experimenting with new diseases again???( There is a better way to learn about them you know:) I'm sorry that was probably inappropriate- I am praying for you that you will feel better soon- Meanwhile, I studied all last week and these past two days for one of my nursing tests and guess what? I finally failed one ya!!!Hehehe, I'm kinda in denial- but anyway, I was wondering if my package has gotten to you yet???It has goodies to cheer you up a little- Futsol- is going, well, let's just say I'll keep you up dated- the McChicks are doing great again as expected, The Winning team (which I'm on this year) actually isn't doing too bad- and the VAMPS are back! When will they ever leave! I miss you sooooo much and I just want you to know that God is ALWAYS holding you in His hands- even when it doesn't "feel" like- He's there,
    Love ya,
    Lisa Hulse