When a dear member of my extended family and her husband were diagnosed with HIV a few years ago, we wept with and for her as if they were already dead.
When I visited with her, she clung to me tightly, tearfully asking what would now befall her children, all with whom I had grown up together and played.
Worse, malicious talk and finger-pointing (Isaiah 58:9) soon followed, with friends, neighbours and relatives – not least those who had enjoyed their material support in the best of times – “prayerfully” asking how much longer they would both live, and if their home could still claim God’s protection and provision (Psalm 127).
A devout Christian, she kept her heart steadfast, trusting in the Lord (Psalms 112:7), who has since made her family triumphant before its foes, and their children not only successful in school but also mighty influencers in various spheres of the land (v.8, 2).
Though much that goes for life did not seem to make sense for her when she first got the bad news, God – in His wisdom, love and sovereignty – gave her the grace to rejoice in Him, His salvation, strength, and ability to lift her up (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
In a way that continues to amaze us all, God is still using her physical infirmity and initial fears to powerfully demonstrate the power of His Spirit and wisdom (I Corinthians 2:1-5).
She has not lost her saltiness, and none of our self-righteous, “prayerful” efforts are dimming her shining light in the community (Matthew 5:13-20).
To think about: In which ways are we “prayerfully” missing out on God’s intentions and movement within our families and communities in these times of HIV?
Written by: Jesse Masai is a freelance journalist and editor, with a passion for community transformation. He serves with the St. Paul’s University Community Chapel in Limuru, Kenya as well as his local Reformed Church in the country’s Rift Valley region.