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Screams of pain

pain 2 0910ed11
The world’s pain is something that continues to perplex and provoke me. I’ve held the hands of dying people, I’ve listened to them pour out their fears and pain. I’ve written about it and processed it. But when I read an account like Neil’s I’m still left speechless. I walked into the children’s…
By Seth Barnes
pain 2The world’s pain is something that continues to perplex and provoke me. I’ve held the hands of dying people, I’ve listened to them pour out their fears and pain. I’ve written about it and processed it. But when I read an account like Neil’s I’m still left speechless.

I walked into the children’s ward at the hospital to screams of
agonizing pain.  I looked around to see where they were coming from. 
Ryan my teammate pointed to a 10 year old boy laying in a steel framed
hospital bed by the far wall.  The boy was lying naked in the fetal
position grabbing at his knee that had been dressed with an inch of
bandage cloth.  I recognized the boy at once. 

Two days ago I was visiting the hospital and he had a bright smile on
his face.  He walked me around by the hand and pointed at things he
wanted me to draw in his notepad.  Last time he pointed to a friendly
giraffe painted on the wall.  But now there was no pointing only
grabbing at his wounded knee.   No one in the ward seemed to notice his
ear numbing screams.  I covered his naked body with the bed sheet.  I
noticed the sheet had big blotches of dry blood.  I held his hand and
began to pray for peace and healing to come into his body.  His
water-filled eyes met mine. 

His screams died to whimpering.  I began to sing softly to him.  But
the pain would come back like electrical shocks every few minutes.  His
neck would crane back as far as it could as he let out shouts of
terror.  I felt so helpless and frustrated that my prayers didn’t seem
to lift his pain from his body.  I tried to be strong for him and look
him gently in his eyes and tell him it was going to be ok.  Where is
your mom, I thought?  Why is no one here for you? 
 Why indeed. Why? Why? Why?
 
We’ve read C.S. Lewis and other wise men explain how we need pain. How without the possibility of pain can there be joy? And yet, there’s a 10 year-old in a Swazi hospital who lays naked and screaming. God help us if we’re unmoved or if we’re facile in our response. Maybe you can help us move toward a place of peace or comfort as we wrestle with this today. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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