sheila

Today as a large proportion of the Christian community reacted online to news of a local court ruling, I received news on my Facebook feed of an all together different tragedy.

In Uganda last summer, the group of young people I was with were served diligently by a beautiful young woman called Sheila. A woman in need with a young family to support, Sheila left some of her children for a few months to come and work with the Kasozi family who were providing her with much needed income for her family. Sheila worked for us tirelessly. She cooked for us, cleaned for us, washed our clothes and served us in every way she could find. While language was a barrier, she built strong bonds with our team, learning our names, hugging our girls and laughing at our fashion.

And while we could never match the depths of her service for us, I loved watching our team care for and look after her little 3 month old baby Martha. The baby that she was providing for in serving us. The baby she laid down to run after our needs. While we left her with some practical resources, she left us with an example and a memory of what it means to serve others.

And yet today news came through that Sheila had passed away. Only discovering that she was living as a carrier of HIV in December. And passing away in May. And leaving little Martha as a 1 year old baby without her mummy, and also facing the same battle with the same illness that her Mother had faced.

Tragic. Devastating. Unjust.

Right now medication and education for her 2 children seem a priority for those of us whom she served. We are working out how to respond, but all day I’ve been left with a nagging thought.

This story won’t make any headlines, and nor should I expect it to.
This news won’t go viral, and nor would I want it to.

But I can’t help think at times that the battles we choose as Christians are often the ones that we have no need to fight. Or the energy we waste arguing about issues that don’t concern God as much as we think. And all at the expense of other situations and injustices that are so obviously on the heart of God.

Last July, Sheila sat quickly in a room with our team as we read together these words:

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

What might seem like genuine religion to us, might look completely different in the eyes of God.
But the life of Jesus and bible passages like this should leave us in no doubt.

Today I am resolved to fight the battles that count.
To speak out against the injustices that matter to God.
To pray and care for those in distress.
And to break my heart for the things that break His.

“the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Advertisements