Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!” Psalm 27:14 NKJV
Judith and Mum are pictured at right.
Judith and Mum are pictured at right.
We recently visited a very poor church pastored by a friend of ours who in his own right has shown much courage in that he is now leading a new church because his previous church disbanded. He had to start over after years with the first church. Through a series of hard circumstances there are a few members from the first church now attending the new church but most attendees are new because it was very recently planted. My friend, the pastor, shared with me that the ending of the previous church was a great and painful trial for him and that starting the new church hasn’t been easy at all. I agreed with him that it mustn’t be an easy thing for him, his family or the church.
The Sunday that we visited I preached and two people professed faith in Christ. This was received with great joy as about twenty people at the most, including children, attended the service. We noticed Judith as she hobbled up to join the young people sing God’s praises early in the service. She is a pretty teenager and she sang well and with spirit and she danced as best she could, balancing on her crutches in God’s house. We saw that one leg was visibly deformed. She had to push her body around on the crutches but showed strength and agility and yes, even poise and grace, as she moved. Our hearts went out to her; you could sense her strong determination to overcome her great disability and join her age-mates in singing. She smiled beautifully and fully.
After the service we talked to the pastor. He arranged for Judith and her Mum to go with him and me to visit Katalemwa Center, a treatment center that has helped many Ugandan children and youth with orthopedic disabilities. Judith again showed much resolve, persistence and heart as we went to the center. There we discovered that Judith has cerebral palsy and that she is indeed a courageous young woman. Her Mum thought that she had suffered nerve damage as a result of a massive overdose of quinine when she was treated for malaria as an infant. But the skilled staff told us that she has cerebral palsy and that it’s only by her own resolve that she is as mobile as she is and that it’s really quite remarkable and highly unusual that she is walking as well as she is. We were told that Judith is very gutsy and her refusal to be held down is the only thing that lets her move at all. Most people with her level of disability cannot walk. We helped her to receive braces, therapy and aids.
We count it a blessing that we were able to meet Judith and see her courage firsthand. Her heart touches our hearts; we are helped to continue with and for the Lord in our day to day struggles in Uganda. We see that Judith faces each painful day with its challenge and temptation to quit and just stop trying to move. So far she has chosen to continue to live out her life as freely as she can with much effort in great difficulty and in the face of others’ rejection and misunderstanding. Judith’s trial makes ours seem very insignificant and small. Pray for Judith as part of her difficulty lies in the spasms and impulses that constantly jerk her leg. Please pray for Judith and her Mum today that God will bless them in His great salvation and that both will continue to strive against discouragements and failure in their lives which are filled with so many hardships. Pray that they will look to the Good Shepherd who has gone before them in the path of struggle, hardship and rejection in His striving against sin for us and that they will joyfully and courageously follow Him all their days. Pray that Judith will keep hobbling, smile beautifully, and sing Christ’s honor with joy.