by Greg Arnett
In July 1999 I went on a medical missionary trip to Haiti where I literally pulled teeth for a week. I had always wanted to be a dentist, and God fulfilled that dream on this trip (although that’s another story). However, it didn’t all end so well. Below is an excerpt from my journal after I returned…
Yes, it has been almost two months since I’ve written. Mainly because I couldn’t write because there was too much unknown. I probably should have written and not just waited till I knew… On our last day of clinic I stuck my finger with a needle on my first patient. So, we had Jerry (from the lab) come down and take blood from her. His first test came back positive for HIV. He then ran another test and he thought it was negative, but there was doubt so Mike and Mark (the head doctors) came down and talked to me. They sent me back to the guesthouse to start taking Crixivan and Combiver (two anti-HIV drugs), which I would continue to take for the next five weeks. Then there was the uncertainty of not knowing what was going to happen to me. I remember thinking, “God, I don’t want to die a slow, miserable, painful death!” And the next thought being “like Your Son.” All kinds of thoughts ran through my head. Back in the states they ran tests on her blood and two out of seven bands came back positive for HIV. So, they drew blood from me to get a baseline and continued me on the meds. The meds made me nauseous and the first morning back I had to tell Cathy (my wife). It was the hardest thing I have ever had to tell her.
At a Servant Event training a couple of months after this journal entry, but still while I was on the medications, we got into a discussion about who we would die for. I remember thinking to myself, “Would I die for some lady in Haiti when I don’t even know her name?”
How about you? If called upon, would you die for your dad or mom? Would you die for your brother or sister? Would you die for your best friend? How about just a friend? Would you die for a stranger? Would you die for someone who spits in your face, beats you up, and sentences you to die?
We all bottom out on the extent of our love for our neighbor at some point. Christ did not! He loved even those who hated Him. As they were nailing Him to a cross, which is an extremely brutal way to die, He said “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Romans 5:6-8 puts it this way:
6 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
We as Christ’s servants are called to be huperetes (under-rowers)! Being an under-rower is hard work, and also very dangerous work. We have to follow our captain’s commands without question. We have to risk our own physical well-being for the greater good of the ship. Even as we are working, we have to listen for our Captain’s voice.
Who is God calling you to serve today?
You can follow Greg’s journey on his own blog at: https://gregarnett.wordpress.com/