It was still dark out but we awoke to the voice of a panicked Hadzabe woman talking in Swahili. I was not sure what was going on, partly because of the sleep like state I was in, but mostly because I don’t speak very good Swahili. I looked over at Raymond, who was getting dressed, he said, “lets go.” Still not sure what was going on I inquired into the details. “Raymond, what’s going on?” I said. He told me and Charlie that Rhema was feeling ill and crying out in pain, “we need to go pray for her.”
As I woke up and gained more information, the pieces stared falling into place. We had prayed that Jesus would heal Rhema, a young Hadza girl probably 14 or 15 years old, of some head, neck, and back pain a couple days prior. She said she felt better in that moment and some others were healed with her. But the pain was back and it sounded like with a vengeance. When Rehma began to cry out in pain earlier that morning the women immediately came looking for us. They wanted Jesus to heal her.
I looked to Charlie, who had been feeling very ill for the last few days. He said that he couldn’t go, he needed as much rest as he could get. I agreed. So I put on my shoes and stepped out of the tent into the dark morning. It was a bit cool, so I grabbed my jacket. Raymond soon followed. Glancing at my watch I noticed that it was around 4:15 am–no wonder it’s dark, I thought.
The women asked if we were ready to go, and motioned for us to follow. We walked after them. They moved quickly along the slender dirt path which cut through the hilly landscape. They had a clear urgent desire to get to Rehma. As we walked I prayed. I was feeling so much pressure. I didn’t want to jeopardize the faith of these young believers. What if we prayed and the pain did not go away. Would they question the realness of Jesus?
All I knew is that I had to rely on Jesus to come through for us. A feeling of intimidation crept through me like a lurking shadow. The fear was powerful and I found myself longing to be back home in the USA in my nice warm bed and with not a deep care in the world. I became jealous of Charlie who was back at the tent asleep and under no pressure to see someone healed. I prayed all the more, “Jesus please come through… Jesus your Word says… Jesus do it even now before we get there… Jesus please… Jesus please… Jesus reveal yourself to these people and show them your power…Jesus please…”
The journey was not short. The night air was extremely cool. It was so dark outside. I brought along my flash light but it didn’t do much good. It wasn’t powerful enough to really illuminate the path in front of us but it was just powerful enough to mess up my night vision.
When we arrived at the outcropping of Hadza homes the women directed us to the one where Rhema was. Apparently she had calmed down or fallen asleep, because I heard no shouts of pain. We entered the stick and mud hut, I had to bend over to fit in the door. It is immediately apparent that there was indeed a racket at some point as the whole family was uncharacteristically awake. The father and several children were gathered around a small fire they had started on the dirt floor of their home, they motioned us into a connecting room.
We entered to see Rhema lying on the floor clutching her head. Raymond touches her gently on the shoulder, and begins to pray. I join him. We pray for several minutes. All I remember is asking God to reveal himself as the living God to these people by healing Rhema. By the time we finish praying Rhema is awake from her brief slumber. Raymond asks in Swahili if she is feeling better. She gently shakes her head no. So we pray more, at this point I have no words and all I can do is groan before the Lord with a longing to see his hand work. He gives me words to say, I don’t remember what they were but I know they are from him. We finish praying again and ask Rhema, “how are you feeling” she says a little better. So we pray again, and again, and again. Finally, she seems to be feeling much better. She is no longer grasping her throbbing head and her forehead is no longer wrinkled in pain. There is calmness on her face. Raymond asks how she is. She confirms our suspicions that she is feeling better and then falls back to sleep.
I walk out of the mud hut relieved to see her well and rejoicing that Jesus manifests his healing for her. I am calm, no longer worried or anxious. I say one final prayer that this time the pain would not return. As I stand outside the hut and reflect on the events of the last hour or so, I am thankful that Jesus counted me worthy to see this young woman healed by his power. Totally worth the early morning wakeup call. I also am convicted of the fear that I experienced, Jesus doesn’t depend on me to do his work, he chooses me to take part in it, but it is still his work. My fear came from a place of pride and the belief that the miracle was dependent on me, it never was, it was always dependent on Him.
God is good!