He died last night. Steven was 17 years old, had leukemia, and struggled with life for several weeks while in the intensive care unit. He and I had a fairly good relationship, sharing stories and simple hellos. His mother is who I couldn't relate to. She was angry, obstructive, abusive, and confrontational. And she was a Christian. She had incredible faith but little tolerance for reality. As a Christian I tried on many occaisons to try and see past her faults and the way she treated us. I wanted to simply put my arms around her, pray with her, share scripture with her, and pray with Steven. She wouldn't let it happen. Her character and her demeanor prevented it. Or so I thought. Once again, my pride and ego prevented me from looking past "what" she was and really seeing "who" she was: a mother hurting as her son died.
As we prepare for our medical trips, we will be faced with those countries who hate us, who don't want us there. It is that very obstruction that we must look past, with Christ in our hearts, accepting the slap and "turning the other cheek". I could have done that with Steven's mother but chose not to. When we feel there is nothing more we can do, look to see if it is really true. It may simply be because we chose not to do anything more. And that is where we need Him in our lives to guide us forward.
In all things, give thanks.