I Will Change Their Shame Into Praise

Today, I’m going to share a bit from my journal. I think I may start doing a bit more of that. This particular entry was written after attending church with my patients this past Sunday. The story we learned about was the story of the ten lepers Jesus healed from Luke 17. Here is an excerpt to bring you up to speed:

“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

The typical format of a service like this is for the story to be told in depth by one of our chaplains. Then we tell it to each other. Then the chaplain talks over it again bit by bit while asking us open ended questions that allow us to draw meaning from the passage. Usually she also asks if anyone has experienced anything similar to the story–and almost without fail, someone stands and shares.

This day however, three patients whose wounds I have dressed, shared their testimonies at the beginning of the service and gave praise to God for their healing. Another also shared her testimony at the end.

Here is my journal entry from immediately after the service concluded. I couldn’t get to my cabin fast enough. The tears just started coming.

28 January 2018

After Rose (a patient who previously had a neurofibroma tumor on her face) shared her testimony, she sang this (in French):
“He sees you,
He knows,
If you confide/trust in Him,
He will see you through.”

It was off-pitch and soft, but seeing her closed eyes and hearing her shaking voice give glory to her God was far too beautiful to describe.

Story today: 10 lepers healed in Luke
Exit song: “I Know Who I Am”

Overcome w/ emotion today. When I read through Jesus’ miracles, I don’t really identify with being sick or lame or outcast. But when I listen to a story of Jesus healing people while in the presence of my patients I cannot help but be overwhelmed.

I hear their grateful testimonies (4 today) and am simultaneously overcome with sadness and joy. Grief over their suffering & joy that God is still healing the sick & restoring the outcasts into their communities today.

What I didn’t write about in my entry was the fourth and final testimony. A mama stood after the story was told and shared about her experience of being outcast. When her baby was born, her in-laws said “we don’t know what kind of baby this is but it is not of our family. Get it out of here. Take care of it (unclear what that meant exactly).” Now, after surgery, she is confident that her child will be accepted and she will not have to hide.

If anyone ever asked me, “Kirsten, do you have any experiences similar to being a leper?” It would be a quick “no.” For this reason, I think I  do not easily grasp the depth of Christ’s ministry. He wasn’t just healing physical infirmities.
He was restoring.
He was giving people their lives back.

This is the work he is still doing through us.
This is this work we must do.

And I will save the lame
    and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
    and renown in all the earth.
Zephaniah 3:19

Maeva before surgery to help with burn contractures on her left leg and hand.

Maeva, plastics patient, at the HOPE Center in a pretty pink dress and shoes that she couldn’t wear before.

One thought on “I Will Change Their Shame Into Praise”

  1. I also observed some of this directly; the healing I observed on the Africa Mercy and the Hope Center goes beyond the physical healing. It restores lives and elevates hope. What a joy to be a part of that, even if it is a support role.

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