My shoes were outside and my bare toes made soft imprints in the sandy floor. I was sitting on the edge of a palm-wood bed covered with wheat sacks, trying to comfort the mourning mother. She had lost a small baby girl three weeks ago and today the baby’s twin sister followed. Sadness overwhelmed me.
I looked down at the dirt floor where my footprints were and thought “ When I consider your
heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him?”
Tomorrow my toe imprints will be swept away, never to reveal the fact that I had sat there and wept with her. What is man?
But still God does mind, He does care. He counts the hair on our heads! As I sat there trying to comfort, I was glad that my Yao was limited. Words are so inadequate in times like these. Instead of talking, I laid my hand on her back and silently prayed. Prayed for peace, for comfort, for God’s touch, revealing Himself to her in her darkest hour….
And then Peace reigned in an unexpected place.
Next to the mother lay a 5 year old boy, eyeing me suspiciously. But soon after his mother had fallen into a deep sleep he followed and I saw God gently holding the twins on His lap and they were happy.
She slept through the fight that the family had with her husband. He wanted a burial not as tradition demands but as a believer in Jesus desires. The local religious leaders were angry and did not want anything to do with helping to bury the small body wrapped in a linen cloth. The family heads were angry because they did not want it the Christian way. And still she slept. Deep and peaceful. God was mindful.
And then, 4 hours later the family heads gave in and called the women. The little bundle was placed next to the red flag which marks the house where death has come. My throat closed and tears flowed freely as my husband stood alone in front of the cloth-rolled baby and starts to speak in Yao. For the first time everyone could actually understand what was being said at a funeral – no more Arabic whispers and meaningless chants. Clear and focused he spoke God’s Truth. Jesus is the only Way. This baby is now with God.
Slowly the men gather the little body and walk off in the blazing sun to the graveyard while the women stare and start to wail. But this time, I know, some have Hope. Because God minded and sent His Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not die but will live forever more.
Bella, barefoot on Holy ground.