The flu swept through the compound. I awoke to the daily routine but it was quickly interrupted with cries of, “Mommy, I am sick.” And so it began, each child came with their set of symptoms. Others reported for the ones too ill to make it out of bed. Before I could finish assessing and medicating one, the next would appear. I wrote down names and the time of their first dose. And very quickly my white-lined page was filled with names numbered to 25. My office circulated with kid after kid. I tried to quarantine; the small girl’s room was 6 beds full, the older girls room 4 out of 6. The boys swarmed the office. I tried to keep them separated without avail and manage the temperatures, some as high as 105. Medication around the clock, times 25: Day One. 7AM to 3AM marked the end of the first day of the epidemic. I looked at my list: overwhelmed. I can’t keep up. I can’t do this alone. I can’t delegate to anyone; All are sick. I consumed Airboure and prayed for my own health. How can I treat if I am infected? I pleaded. The Lord heard my request and I only got a mild case. Day Two and the wretched flu had reached the baby room. All the tylenol in the world could not reduce this fever. Constantly bathing the flaming hot babies. The names continue to be added to the list. The morning round of medication lasting until the start of the afternoon one. And the afternoon round flowing into the evening and through the night. List lengthens. Will this end? Just when I think I can take a breath, another one vomits near the bathroom. I pray for endurance. I don’t have time to cry. My prayers: desperate, my quiet time lasting only seconds and my messages home: a plead for prayer on my behalf. I was dependent on the prayers of those at home. Mine were moments of shouts for help. In the middle of my plead was a psalm:
For He delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and PRECIOUS is their blood in His sight. Ps.72
I expected the answer to my prayer would be healing. Yet the Lord revealed His heart. He was entrusting me with His beloved children. The Lord would sustain me in my weakness, but He wanted to show me how deeply He loves these kids. He has rescued them, and their blood is precious to Him. We sing O the precious Blood of Jesus. And blood is the source of life. Jesus’ blood brought redemption and salvation. The contrast is great, the precious, pure and redemptive blood of Christ; the blood of the children unclean, weakened, and infected. For these kids, blood is the source of their disease. It is their blood, their HIV infected blood that causes the flu to be slow healing. Viral loads high, long lasting infections and secondary ones. The flu will heal; their blood remains infected. Their blood is feared by many, the risk of being infected. Disease is carried through their blood, and yet it is their blood that is precious. Precious: of high value, of worth, treasured. Their hearts pump precious blood. He revealed the depth of His love, so much more than I can measure or grasp. In that moment overwhelmed by the long list, I saw a glimpse of His great love. Instead of names on a page, a inked medication list; it was a list of His Beloved children. How could my heart not swell? In my hands, I held a list of precious-blooded children with precious hearts loved by our Father.
They are precious in His sight