Last week… I had malaria. There I said it.
And you know what? I’m alive and well!
Yep. I read a lot. I slept a lot. I spent a lot of time in the squat pot. A lot.
I guess I need to explain something before you can realize the gravity of this experience…
When the 10 of us arrived in Cote d’Ivoire and were going through our weeks and weeks of orientation, one of those weeks was focus on health and wellness. We went over all those things that could make us sick and I realized in that seminar that I had some real fear brewing inside of me. I remember Rod saying, “You’re probably all going to get amoebs at some point during your time here, and probably more than once”. I was thinking, “No, no, definitely not me. I don’t like being sick and it’s just not going to happen”. Then, when Rod talked about malaria, it just sounded like a four letter word. I thought, “That’s right Naomi, you get malaria and you’re life is OVER! [insert ominous and foreboding music]
So there you have it. Quite possibly my worst fear for this year here was sickness. I’ve had amoebs 3 times (1 of those times those little guys put up shields and went into protective mode, which sounds a little bit like Star Trek lingo to me). Now I’ve faced the dreaded Malaria monster.
The thing is that God doesn’t promise us we won’t face struggle and hardship. He doesn’t promise that we will never suffer or hurt. God does promise that He will never leave His people.
THE SAVIOR OF ISRAEL
1 But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
3 For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;
I gave Ethiopia* and Seba in your place.
4 Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.
Now, I can’t really say that malaria was all that bad. I mean, not “fires of oppression” bad! But God has been so gracious in reminding me that even in the little sufferings (tiredness, homesickness, anxiousness, spending-too-much-time-in-the-squat-pot-ness), He’s always right beside me. What JOY is found in that one fact!
And that “Others” mentioned in verse 4… that there is Jesus. How is it we could be cherished enough to be worth the life of God’s precious Son? Oh goodness, He loves us!