May 13, 2017
I Know Who Takes Care of Lives
Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. – Deuteronomy 5:16
"My children, I would like to tell you what the doctors have said . . .” There was a very long pause, and then, “They can say anything, but I know Who takes care of lives.” That is how my mother told my wife and me the alarming news that she had cancer.
Through her lifetime of personal sacrifices for my siblings and me, my mother had become my friend, my mentor on life ethics, an example to follow, and an ever-present source of inspiration. My wife and I, who had been married in the traditional Kamba way in Kenya, were working in one of my father’s coffee gardens the morning she told us the news. The doctors had found uterine cancer and her case was terminal. She was telling me this so that I, as firstborn, could prepare to take care of my younger brothers and sisters. My mind raced ahead—I had only one year left in college. The thought of my mother not being alive long enough to see me graduate was devastating.
Although I was not saved when she told us about her condition, she had taken me to church and taught me the importance of praying perpetually when I was young. Therefore, it was natural for me to begin praying for her, and I had only one prayer: “God, keep my mother alive.” Soon I came to know Jesus as my Savior, and then devoted my time to praying for my wife’s salvation and mother’s healing.
My mother’s condition brought spiritual landmarks in my life beyond salvation. I learned to trust God even when hoping against hope, and relied on the promise in Isaiah 43:2, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” For the first time in my life, I fasted to seek God’s will in my mother’s condition. And I learned the importance of our initial reaction to trials, which is closely related to the outcome and our attitude during the ordeal. My mother’s response to her illness was to state, “They can say anything, but I know Who takes care of lives.”
College graduation came and passed. I came to the United States for further studies, and there I joined a church that believed in divine healing and sending anointed handkerchiefs to the sick, as the Apostle Paul did (Acts 19:12). With childlike faith, I sent my mother one of those handkerchiefs and explained to her that the cloth itself could not heal her, but it was physical evidence that I and other God-loving people were praying for her healing. Unknown to me, she took the handkerchief with similar childlike faith and started to sleep on it at night. About a year later, I suddenly remembered that I had not heard my mother report on a medical checkup in a while. I called her and asked how she was doing and she said, “Ever since you sent that handkerchief to me, I have never felt sick. In fact, I did go for a checkup, and they found nothing.” Hallelujah! The God she knew, “Who takes care of lives,” had taken care of her.
Thank God for Christian mothers who sacrifice all they have to pass the truth of the Gospel on to their children! May we all learn to rely on the one Who takes care of lives.