Alliance News Feed – When Helping Hurts

By Esther Schaeffer in Burkina Faso

April 4, 2019

Last month, just before our prayer team left the local hospital, we doubled back to greet the chaplain. There we encountered an angry old man, who claimed he had no money and insisted that “this young girl and her baby” weren’t his responsibility.

“This young girl,” Rebecca, had been sent to our city to learn to sew and to live with the old man and his wife. But, before long, they realized she was pregnant. The elderly couple tried to send Rebecca home to her family—but her parents didn’t want her back and her boyfriend refused to acknowledge involvement or responsibility. To complicate matters, Rebecca’s baby boy arrived at just seven months. The old man knew that caring for Rebecca and her preemie while they were in the hospital was beyond his means. He went to the hospital chaplain, hoping that together they could persuade the hospital staff to release Rebecca and her baby so he and his wife could care for them at home.

Sensing the Lord had providentially led us there at that moment, our prayer team told the old man that we would help with the medical bills and pay for the needed medications if Rebecca and her baby stayed in the hospital. Over the next several weeks, we visited them regularly. We prayed for them and helped in whatever way we could. We were encouraged to see him grow and rejoiced when he began nursing. The doctors assured us that he was making good progress.

Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the hospital for our weekly visit and learned that Rebecca and her baby had checked out earlier in the day, without permission. The hospital staff was upset and asked us to help.

Eventually, we located the place where Rebecca was staying. When we walked inside, we were shocked to see Rebecca’s baby lying in loosely fitted, soiled material on a dusty floor surrounded by flies and hardly responsive.

While we changed her baby, Rebecca reluctantly admitted that she had detached his feeding tube, removed him from his isolette, and snuck out of the hospital early in the morning, all because a visitor had told her that only traditional herbal medicine could help him. She had used the money we had given her to take a taxi to a friend’s house.

That night we were finally able to get Rebecca and her baby readmitted to the hospital. We were thankful they were again in good hands. But the abrupt departure the day before was too much for this little boy. The following day we received word that he passed away earlier that morning. I was heartbroken. We had spent long hours and, of course, the emotional investment.

Why did I ever get involved with Rebecca and her nameless, unwanted baby?

But sometimes helping hurts. We pour out our hearts and resources, only to be disappointed and aggrieved in the end. When I think about that baby there is a pain and sadness that overwhelms.

Perhaps you too have experienced hurt as you tried to help someone. If so, you are not alone. Isaiah was prophesying about our Lord Jesus when he wrote: He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down (Isaiah 53:3-4a, NLT). Later this month we will remember once again that Jesus was crushed so that we could be healed.

Helping others can bring with it lots of hurt. But if our Lord Jesus didn’t give up, neither should we. We continue to help and push through the hurt, knowing that one day in heaven all pain and tears will be wiped away.

Click here to connect with Andrew and Esther Schaeffer.

Source: Alliance News Feed – When Helping Hurts

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