Monday, 29 July 2013

Waiting in the dark of the night

Well, it's 11.18pm and I'm sitting on my bed safely under the cover of my mosquitto netting (double layer for the win! The one provided with the room was full of holes). Waiting for a primigravida to progress to the second stage of labour and hopefully deliver her baby uneventfully in the next few hours (wishful thinking?).

At any rate, this is my second or third night on call solo and it's been pelting rain the entire evening, which means slippery mud, clothes that won't dry and fewer patients than usual (which makes perfect sense when one considers that there are no tarmac roads and the primary form of transportation here is either by foot or by boda [motorcycle]. Only 'kawaja's' [the Juba Arabic term for white men] and the wealthy South Sudanese own cars - or more appropriately for this environment, four-wheel drives). Hats off to the long-term missionary docs here; I can't imagine doing this - being constantly on call without a break - for years! Just a few months will soon wear me out without the help of God's Spirit.

It calls to mind this particular verse from the Bible:
Jeremiah 12:5 "If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the flooding of the Jordan?"

I've often pondered on this passage and wondered what it means in my life and how it can be so pertinent in situations like these. Ever since I started medical school, and now even more that I've graduated and have entered the work force, my default modus operandi seems to be one borned out of tiredness (it's became a joke in my family that whenever they ask how I am, I reply, 'Tired!'). No, I'm not anaemic (had my haemoglobin level recently checked when I donated blood and besides, I always feel rested so long as I get my beauty sleep). It's quite easily explained due to a combination of bad sleeping habits (sleeping past midnight even when I used to start work before 7am back home) and a multitude of activities always running in the background (severely trying my multitasking skills). Sometimes, I think it's a good thing I'm single because I think the degree of my fatigue would be at least doubled if I had a family of my own.

It also underscores the importance of keeping a consistent quiet time and of being disciplined in seeking rest in God and God alone. As Jesus once said,
Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Of all the promises He's made, it definitely ranks as one of my favourites. And it's one that I have to remind myself over and over to practise, rather than trying to find escapism in trivialities such as the latest TV series, a good storybook or even the higher pursuit of time spent with loved ones. It is in Christ that our souls will find repose. As St Augustine aptly puts it all the way back in the 4th century AD, "Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee." (Confessions).

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