Today’s Lent reflection is by Nicky Ward.
As Lent comes to an end I want to introduce you to Rinika and her three-year-old daughter Sreta from Bangladesh.
At an age when children should be running around without too many cares in the world Rinika became different. At merely 8 years of age old she hurt foot whilst playing with her friends and realised there was no pain. She had leprosy! Unfortunately, though she got help, she didn’t finish taking the medicines she was prescribed.
Rinika suffered with fevers and pain, due to her body’s reaction to leprosy, not something that we normally think of but as the nerves become more and more damaged people often suffer a lot of pain. Rinika got ulcers as she was not caring for herself well enough and even fainted at school with a rash and fever due to the severity of an ulcer that would not heal. Eventually she had to have her leg amputated. That was 14 years ago.
Over the last 15 years she has had to spend much too much time in hospital as she has had many ulcers. Things got so bad that a year ago her right leg also needed to be amputated. She got the latest ulcers doing housework and looking after her little girl. Rinika does what she believes is right for her child and her husband but doing this means she doesn’t properly care for herself- “but what alternative do I have?” she asks. She regrets not taking the full MDT treatment when she was first diagnosed as she thinks it would have prevented her losing her legs.
“I was young, I played” she recollects. What more would we expect of a child?
Each year over lent we have the opportunity to stop, think, and pray. We stop to consider our lives in reference to what we are taught in the Bible. We think about how we need to change what we do and how we live. We pray for God’s guidance as we look to Jesus example of true love for others.
Over the next few days we will have the opportunity to take in the story that tells of Jesus, pain and sacrifice because of love. We will hear about the scars that become the proof of love.
When I hear Rinika’s story. When I see her picture. I see the scars of love. Love for her child, a love that sacrifices health to care for another.
Jesus said ‘For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?
Today we have the gift of being able to meet Jesus in the lives of others like Rinika.
And this is such a wonderful gift. May we over the next few days, as we think about Jesus sacrifice for us, remember people like Rinika who live a life of sacrifice every day. Give a gift today.