I began this week, along with other prayer warriors, in deep prayer and in biblical meditation and reflection. We asked God to intervene in a dire situation. He intervened. I do not profess to know the extent of God’s intervention, but I do know that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, that God’s mercy is new every morning and great is his faithfulness toward us. (Lamentations 3:22-23). Without faith, it is impossible to believe, but we must believe that Jesus exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).
One of my students, José, has been battling cancer for the last two and a half years. I have had the privilege of knowing him and his family during this entire ordeal. I have never met a person as courageous as José. Furthermore, I have never met a family that endured as much difficulty, with grace, as this family has. Battling adverse financial conditions, learning a new language, and having no additional family in this country, this family embodies boundless tenacity. Rarely have I met a family as grateful as this family, for they continue to be appreciative of all the love poured on them. They have given the school community an opportunity to show them both love and mercy (through many fundraisers, hospital visitations, a hug, food, etc.). I am proud of all of those who have touched this family, allowing the family to see that God provides help even before we realize we need it. I believe that José and his sister were divinely placed at my school, The Cultural Academy for the Arts & Sciences.
This week the student council at my school had the opportunity to engage in altruism and to encourage sacrificial giving. When they were told that José was critically ill, they decided to conduct a fundraiser to help his family financially. They went around everyday to all of the classes asking their fellow students to donate money for the needs of the family. As the students went around the school, they told their schoolmates that no donation was too small. Any amount was accepted. They then put up a poster reminding the other students of the ongoing fundraiser. Additionally, many students visited José at the hospital. One student, Rosemary, wrote a poem for him, and read the poem to him. José gave her a thumbs up because he could not talk with the oxygen mask. Students bought him flowers and wished José well. Jennifer, a teaching artist, played cultural music for him, leading him to sing and dance. At the beginning of the week, I thought he would not survive, but each day, he woke with a fierce determination to live. I believe the visits of his family, his peers, his school family, and others have helped him gain some inner strength.
Sometimes we do not know why we suffer. Sometimes suffering gives us the opportunity to show love and mercy toward others. It allows us to reach deeply into our hearts to treat others in a manner in which we would want to be treated. For this is the golden rule- Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. For truly, this is the will of God.
As a result of José’s illness, all of our lives are forever changed. May God continue to fill him with his spirit and extend immeasurable grace to him and his family. Please pray!
For further reflection and meditation read Hebrews 11; Lamentations 3, and Matthew 7.