Big Brown Eyes

The last thing I expected to see when I walked into Reem’s room was her big, brown eyes gazing up from under her blankets. For most of the time she’s been here she’s been sedated, but as they were switching her sedation medicines, and they hadn’t fully kicked in yet, she was placid, albeit not fully awake. Maybe for the first time I really looked into her eyes; some part of me, knowing her chance of survival looks dismal, wanted to leave because I hated to think that this beautiful girl might not be with us, and still at the same time, that thought compelled me to stay just a little bit longer.

Written on the white board in her room was the abbreviation PHTN, which stands for pulmonary hypertension, which is her diagnosis. The head doctor of the ICU kindly met with Colin, Georgia, and me to explain the full picture for Reem. This particular type of pulmonary hypertension exists without cause; there is no surgery that can help her, the problem has to do with her lungs. They even tried a new treatment recently and it has come to no avail.  They are now considering transferring her back to a Gaza hospital because they have reached the end of treatment options here. Reem’s going back to Gaza depends on whether the hospital there says that they can provide the equipment and medication needed to sustain her life.

What remains is that she may die either here or there, but if she lives it will take months to recover, waiting on a ventilator, and even then the prognosis is unknown, what kind of quality of life she’ll have is unknown; she could live maybe until she is nine or ten, we do not know. Please, in this, pray for wisdom for everyone involved in making these decisions, and that only God’s best would be done in Reem’s life and the life of her beloved mother.

As the magnitude of uncertainty looms large for Reem and for her mum, the story of Jairus’ daughter comes to mind but not for the reason you may think:  the reason Jesus was delayed in coming to her house to heal her while she was still alive was because a woman with a discharge of blood had touched the hem of his garment and had consequently been healed. He wanted to know who had touched him, for her perceived that power had gone out from him. When the woman comes forward, he tells her, “Daughter your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” Her faith was not that she would be healed, but rather in the one who healed her. And so I ask you to stand with us in prayer, fixing our eyes solely on the one who can heal. Don’t look to the right or to the left, don’t fixate on what might happen, because so much is unknown.

We can have all the faith in the world, but it won’t matter if the object of our faith is not Jesus. We believe in miracles, but what’s more is we believe in the God who can do them.

We’re expanding our current 24-hour prayer for Shakar to also include Reem; please click here if you’re able to talk a half hour shift.