The depiction of Jesus in the Gospels is one of unfailing compassion as he heals the sick and casts out demons and artfully challenges the presuppositions of those around him. His ministry has become our ministry. And today Yousef and I were slated to go to Gaza to pick up a baby permission pending, which did not end up happening. However, there was a young man, twenty-four years old, who had been given permission to come through Shevet Achim. We don’t normally treat anyone above the age of 18, but today profoundly impacted me because it was so out of the norm.
First of all, I was proud that Shevet could help this young man, even though it’s not in the status quo of what we typically do. His name is Alaa. He had surgery at Sheba in 2004, but recently found out he needs another one. He petitioned through the Palestinian Authority who recommended him to Muqassad Hospital here in Israel and another hospital in Jordan. Both hospitals said the surgery is too big and they cannot manage it. Then he reached out to Yousef and Yousef talked to Jonathan who said yes, we could take him to Sheba.
God gave me today as an unexpected opportunity to experience something that has long been on my heart: Jesus striking compassion extends to everyone- children as well as adults. His empathy and love for men or women has drawn and intrigued me. I’ve been thinking about that for a few months now, and today it was surprising when Lindsay told me that there was an adult, Alaa, coming to the border who we would pick up and then go to his echo at Sheba, but I felt this was from God. This young man was only two years older than me, and he was so kind.
Yousef and he talked on the way there and with my meager Arabic I caught part of their conversation about the cheap prices of food in Gaza as compared to Jerusalem. And when Alaa said falafal was only half a shekel in Gaza I couldn’t help but chime in; first in disbelief that it can be that inexpensive, but then secondly, that I might need to go and try some half shekel falafel!
When we got to the hospital, it was, of course, a different experience entirely from being with a child, but there was a mutual respect and an ease in sharing parts of our lives as we waited. We talked a lot about his son and his wife, who’s studying to be an accountant. The doctor attending him spoke Arabic so they had no issue understanding one another.
The outcome of the echo is that Alaa will need a surgery. Next week, God willing, the cardiologists will discuss what surgery is best and when it will be. Please pray for the upcoming surgery for him, and that particularly his relationship to Yousef would grow and he could hear the good news of the One who says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.”