She is always the last woman to arrive to Tuesday morning bible study. She has a significant limp, obvious visual deficits, poor balance and always requires assistance to walk. That's right, despite her deficits, she walks to bible study EVERY Tuesday. This past week while we were driving along the dirt road to the church, we saw her up ahead limping towards bible study. We stopped and asked her if she would like a ride. She and two friends loaded into our car and off we went. Worlds apart, no idea her story. It looked as though she had suffered a stroke but given the history here, we feared her story was much deeper.
Tuesday we learned her story. And there are millions of stories like hers. Many years ago, her family was attacked. Her husband and son were both killed. She was beaten and cut repeatedly all over her body with a machete and left for dead. Actually her attackers thought she was dead and that is the only reason she survived. One week later, she was found by a soldier, covered with insects, but she was alive. She thought her story was over, but God’s plans were different and her story was just beginning. The soldier took her to the hospital, where she spent months after suffering a significant head injury. Her understanding of speech slowly began to return, but for years she was unable to talk or read. 10 years ago she heard the transforming story of Jesus and decided to follow Him. She has been limping towards Him every day since. Every Sunday for 7 years, Pastor Ezechias has picked her up in his car and taken her to and from church.
Over all of these years her speech has begun to slowly return but not her ability to read. Last week she opened her bible that was given by friends of ours who visited in January. She began to read. She has no idea how, but she can read. When she shares her testimony she gives all glory to God.
Hebrews 12:1 says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” We all have a limp. And Satan wants more than anything is for it to entangle us. But I see stories every week of incredible redemption in Jesus. Healing, unthinkable forgiveness, unbridled joy and hearts that look like HIS. None of these stories make sense apart from the Gospel. Our relationship with God was fractured by man in the Garden and sin entered the world. But Jesus walked a perfect life, died a death that we deserved and defeated death and the grave so that we may have eternal life with Him. Psalm 23:5 says, “you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” It is a table for 2 and Satan has NO seat at our table. This country continues to strengthen my faith and remind me of my need to follow Him daily, even if it’s with a limp.