A good friend, Billy, died Friday. He was 41 years old, a father of three young kids a follower of Jesus Christ (one of the few on this island). Billy’s body was flown within hours to another island for burial. We had been sitting with him in his hospital room 2 days prior and, though he was a shell of his former self and couldn’t intelligibly speak, his death caught us very off guard.
We believe in the sovereignty of God and delight in His goodness. But this leaves us hurting and wondering. Our hearts break for Billy’s three young kids whom he loved so much. The three were recently taken by their mother who fled the country with them. A month ago we grieved as Billy wept for his children. He had no clue when or if he would see them again. Now we ask how these kids will hear the Good News? Their mother isn’t a believer nor is any of their family…just Billy. We’re asking who will tell them? How will they hear? What is God’s purpose? Is this working for His glory? Death on the island is always hard to stomach but in this situation we can rejoice that now Billy is whole.
Fast forward to Sunday night.
We had just put our two year-old son in bed when we heard a loud commotion outside our house. I went to the porch and looked down on the path below. What I saw shocked me. The teenage boy from the house next door lay on the path in the fetal position as his mom hit and kicked him. A man in the family (not the father, maybe an uncle or cousin) was standing there also yelling. When the mom finished, the man yelled even louder, while kicking and hitting the defenseless boy whose screams got louder and louder. The noise drew the attention of more and more neighbors who were using their cell phones as flashlights to watch. After 5 minutes the beating subsided and the village went back to being dark and quiet.
However the event, really the whole weekend, left us unsettled, confused and just sad. This was not our typical weekend. However sometimes the task here seems so huge. Life on the island is rarely a tropical vacation but some days are harder than others. The emotional and spiritual toll here is hard to comprehend. We find comfort, strength and meaning when we remember that Jesus is our anchor, our only anchor. He is comforting us. He is watching over Billy’s children. He loves the boy who was beaten and He loves the family who was doing the beating. Jesus is on the throne.