Monday, November 11, 2013

Malaria and Worry

Here is an experience we had last year. I felt it was a good picture of the emotions missionaries sometimes have.


Last Saturday night we took Callie (my daughter of 18 months at the time) to the hospital to get tested for malaria. Her test was negative, thank God! Following are the factors that caused us to worry for her sake:

We had just spent a short holiday in a low-risk malaria region, but had to leave early in order to preach for the funeral of a neighbor of ours. She actually died of malaria, and her baby was in the hospital the week of her funeral to recuperate from malaria as well.

Some missionary friends of ours announced that they are leaving their field of service (in Africa) because of malaria and its effects on their toddler.

Then last Saturday Callie got a fever that soared and wouldn’t come down, along with some stomach trouble.

I would normally treat her with Tylenol and wait a couple of days to see if she healed on her own, but the conjunction of these events worried me. We’ve been told before that malaria is not a problem in South Africa, except for select few areas, which we’ve been told do not include our village. But we had been out of our village on holiday near the border of Zimbabwe.

I researched a bit on the internet about malaria and its symptoms, as well as malaria regions in South Africa, and decided to call the doctor. She told me that we actually can get malaria in our villages; and if I was concerned, the only way to know for sure was to do a blood test. This would be considered an emergency, and she would run the test as soon as we could get to the hospital.

We decided to have the test done, though it was almost her bedtime, and my husband needed to brush up his sermon for the next day. Would I normally make that decision if all of these events hadn’t lined up just so? Probably not. But I was worried.

I wonder if my worry was sinful. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

“Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

On the other hand, I talk to myself, believing that I took the course of common sense. It’s not “worry” to take precautions with your child’s health—especially if you believe it could affect your future in missions! I’ve been told I’m a pessimist (translate—“worrier”); I respond that I’m a realist. ;) My husband is an optimist.

Does believing that God works out all things for good to those who love Him mean that we don’t work with all of our might to prevent those bad things from happening (that will eventually be worked out for our good)? Does trusting in the Lord with all of our heart mean, as the prosperity preachers prevalent in our area say, that if we have enough faith, bad things won’t happen, or they will be taken care of/healed, etc.? Obviously not.

But I wonder if I could see the truth in my own heart, how much of my heart was filled with what percentage of these two courses. I doubt I would have changed my decision. I’m glad I know for sure that she is not endangered right now by malaria. But did I sin in my heart—in my emotions? How much of my heart was filled with fear for my baby, fears and doubts about the unknown, and lack of trust in our loving Father’s sovereign hand truly working all things together for our good?

Jonathan Edwards said, “Resolved to examine carefully and constantly what that one thing in me is which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God, and so direct all my forces against it.” I can act for my baby’s good health, but I must do so with unshakeable assurance that God’s ways are best.

Sooo tired.
Sooo tired.
On vacation in a baobab tree.
On vacation in a baobab tree.

1 comment:

Lou Ann Keiser said...

Excellent. I believe you were right to get her checked, since you were concerned. Love the balance with trusting God for our children's health and not worrying. Very good post! God bless!