This week has been a great 'hind sight' week. One of those gems God gives you every once in a while to teach you a lesson you would rather learn from a book. Without going into the gory and personal details, the drama involved an illness that required some urgent medical attention. Now those moments, while worrisome and painful are often supported with the best medical treatment the public system can offer. This time however, came within a foreign country. Not a problem in usual circumstances, however given it was a preexisting condition we found that travel insurance would not cover us. Hmmm...so there we were, requiring medical assistance which could not wait, but facing at $5000-$10000 medical bill. What do you do? Do you pay it? Do you hope for the best and not seek the medical help? Do you reach out to wealthier friends and contacts? Do you pray for healing? Do you stop to ponder the plight of the poor in developing nations who face this or worse scenarios every day? Well, I did a lot of the first questions, but the latter was only considered when I reached blog day!
It's an interesting place to be, and one that truly tests your faith, and your values. In regard to faith, you pray for healing, and there is no problem with that course of action. It should always be the first point of call. Having said that, in this case, God had a lesson for us that would not have been learnt by a 'mere' healing. For me, my faith drove me to the realisation that God is good and faithful. His purposes will prevail if we seek Him. That meant forking out some money. Money we had, and could have spent elsewhere without blinking an eye. You see, it wasn't the lack of money, but the value of money that tripped us up. We had the money, but we didn't want to spend it at a hospital! I found myself praying things like "If you heal him, then I could spend the money on mission!" Interesting the bargains you make with God when you are desperate. The point however is this, we value gifts from God, but not always the way He wants us to value them. We value money, and security and safety and health, but we value them because they comfort us, and not always because they help the kingdom. That was a good lesson.
My test of values really came in the form of abandonment. I found myself asking how a country in the developed world could charge 'me' so much for a simple doctors appointment. There must be a way 'I' can scam my way without paying?! And praise God, He found a way for me to do so. However, this is not always the case for all people. Perhaps I value myself, my culture, my nationality, my status too highly, and know that I am allowed certain perks because of it. But do I think that other cultures who don't have access, in their own country, deserve less than I? I guess what I am saying is this. To be without an essential because you can’t, for whatever reason, access what you need, is a terrible experience. I had the resources to cope. Many don’t. It is no less a scary experience for them. I sought help, and it was given. God be with those who seek help and find none. And let us be led by Him so that we can do a better job of making sure there is not a single person who goes without.
Be generous this season...to the people who need your generosity. Merry Christmas!