When the Afghan Nasira is admitted to the emergency room of the hospital, I am really not surprised. Considering her past, we knew this was inevitable.
She is the most broken woman I have ever met. Poverty, hunger, abuse, humiliation, wars, fleeing, group rape, loss of a child, daily beatings, eighteen years of surviving in a refugee center in the Netherlands, and many physical ailments: she knows all these types of suffering.
Contrary to her body, her spirit is full of strength, love, and love for life. Twenty years ago, she had an encounter with Jesus in the isolation ward of a psychiatric institution. The Man who was so different than the men she knew. And that Jesus who forever changed her life.
After she left the hospital, I call her to ask how she is doing. She says, ‘It is going well! I now know I had to go to the hospital because I was needed there.’ I ask more questions. She says she was at a ward with three other people with serious heart problems. One of them was not to get better.
They did not know who they truly were before God
‘There was such a heavy atmosphere in that room’, Nasira shares. Two patients often cried. After two days I could not bear it anymore. I asked, ‘What is it? Why are you so sad?’ An elderly lady said she was dying and that she was very afraid of death. An elderly gentleman also got scared now: what if he were to die too? I asked them: ‘Do you know God?’ They said at one point they had gone to church, but not anymore. I started telling them about God, about His love for us, and about His Father heart, and that being with God is the best thing you can experience. They kept asking me if I wanted to tell more. Even till the last day I could talk to them and pray with them each day. When I had to go home, both patients were emotional. They said they were not afraid anymore and believe in God again.’
She is silent for a bit. Then she says, ‘You know what, Sara? The worst prison in life is not knowing who you are. They did not know who they truly were before God.’ I listen and think: God hides His most beautiful treasures in very broken vessels.
Sara van der Toorn (1976) is a trainer and speaker and regularly writes a blog in Visie, the magazine of EO broadcasting corporation. This blog is used with permission.