a HEAVY hypothetical.

Here’s something I’ve been chewing on: In the USA, if you put 30 Christians together for 11 days for morning prayer, how many times would there be a request to pray for someone who was directly related to or very close to someone who just died?

Do you have a number in your head?

My guess would be 0 to none, and if there was one death, it would be unlikely and shocking.

Now seat yourself in east Africa and ask that same question.  For me at Amani, the toll was 5.  FIVE in 11 days!  Can you imagine grappling with the pain of death every other day?  I know my stats aren’t 100% here, but the point is how much more frequent death is in other cultures.

When I was at Amani, I would usually arrive at 9am.  Morning prayer starts at 9:30am.  And on a lot of mornings there is one lady in particular who tends to come over to the sitting area early to rest and wait for prayer time.  I started sitting with her a couple of times.  One morning was like no other.  We greeted each other warmly with the normal three kisses back and forth on the cheeks and a hug and holding hands.  We talked about our evenings and just every day things.  Then prayer started and the requests started pouring in.  To my surprise, this gentle woman asked for prayer for her sister because her sister’s daughter died last night.  What?!!?  Her composure was ridiculous.  There are so many cultural layers to this that I could never understand.  To compare my reaction to hers seems unfair, but my heart hurt and I believe that is universal.

And aside from death, the constant sickness that waves through a society can be tremendous.  That same day, another woman’s son got sick where she had to take him to the hospital.  She was thankful she got to go to a good hospital.  She STOOD in line in the emergency room for 11 hours with him, meanwhile watching one woman collapse and another wailing from pain the entire time they waited.  This is seriously wrong.

So I had been thinking about this for a day or two in Kenya and then decided to ask G n S this hypothetical question.  We talked about it and continued with our day.  No less than 8 hours later did they get a phone call that one of their friends in Kenya had passed away {an American}.  heaviness shock. There are just no words to explain how precious life is, a living soul, and to hear news like this, in any culture, is heartbreaking.

I don’t mean to be completely depressing today, but I just need to share.  There are real HUGE problems going on in the world that we/I don’t always like to think about.  And then death happens and we must.  Can I urge us to care even more about the poor and the needs of the world before we have a personal catastrophe happen?  What about the person next to us today?

Does anything matter more in this world than life?

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One Response to a HEAVY hypothetical.

  1. (dan's) katie says:

    Very insightful comments, Ali. In walking through grief, it almost seems that a culture that understands it would be a (sort of?) welcome change, but who *really* wants their culture to know grief that well? No one, I’m sure. We Americans just don’t get it. We feel entitled to life (which seems right, but really isn’t… we aren’t entitled to anything, are we?).

    To answer your question, though, I think the (obvious?) answer is *eternal* life. Without that, what certainty do any of us have? What hope can we possibly have, especially in the midst of suffering & loss? All that is difficult even when we know Jesus. I can’t imagine what it’d look like without the hope He offers & the assurance of eternity with Him. :) Oh, the sweet music of the gospel!

    I’m praying for you & those you are walking through life with in Kenya, friend! If there’s anything I can send you to ease homesickness when it hits, let me know. I am a GREAT peanut butter sender! ;)

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