Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:2&3)
When we were in San Telmo at the Shantytown called El Campo a few weeks ago, a young girl ran up to me all excited. She must have been about five or six. She’d found out that we were giving free eye exams and would be filling out prescriptions for glasses for the people there.
“Can you help my Grandma?” She asked in Spanish.
“What’s going on with her?” I asked in my Portugnol.
“Her eyes are bad and she needs glasses!” She went on to explain that Grandma was sick and bedridden, and had difficulty walking. She wanted me to help bring her grandma to the man who was doing eye exams.
Immediately I thought about the miraculous healing activities of Jesus, especially since I was now in the midst of studying chapters 8&9 of Matthew, recording a plethora of healings that Jesus accomplished during his earthly ministry. I thought about the Centurion who’d asked Jesus to heal his servant at a distance. I thought about the friends of the paralytic who’d brought him on a mat to see Jesus. I thought about how Jesus had compassion on the crowds as they came to him.
And now, here was this little Mexican girl asking me to help her grandma; much like the little Jewish servant girl in Naaman’s household in 2 Kings 5. She knew of a prophet in Israel. She knew this prophet could heal her master Naaman’s leprosy.
There are moments in missions that ask us to step out of our common perceptions and trust God in hitherto unimaginable ways. I am no faith healer. But God is capable of everything.
I couldn’t just say no. That would be unthinkable. We ended up in the church van and drove her grandmother to the place where they were doing free eye exams. They were all very excited and a lot of the local children followed us around. But when the eye exam was done, it was obvious that glasses wouldn’t help her. I had to translate the sad news. She needed eye surgery, not glasses. Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do for her. We drove her back to her house. All I could do was say a little prayer for her.
Now I don’t think it was a failure at all. The grandmother couldn’t stop expressing how grateful she was that we would take the time and the trouble to try to help her. Try to help her. That’s what really mattered more than anything. Too often we think in terms of results, but what matters more is the process. And the little girl who’d tried to help her grandmother wasn’t sad that we hadn’t achieved a good result. What matters is that we tried. And they were so grateful. Sometimes, in missions, that is all we can do.
But I can’t help thinking about them now that I am back in Orange County. And maybe that this is not the final chapter. That maybe there’s someone out there reading this who might be able to help a young girl who desperately wants to help her grandmother see again. She needs eye surgery. I don’t know how much that costs in Mexico, but maybe someone can yet provide a small miracle in their lives.