There she was again! Poor woman, I thought – a leper. Imagine being a leper! As she shuffled from the medical dispensary to the road, I caught up with her. “Mama,” I said, “Peace to you. Would you like to rest awhile and have some tea and bread?” It was a long walk back to her village. Slowly she turned to me, surprised and shy. “Ego-Ego, yes, I would.” As she stared down at her stiff, clean bandaged feet, we walked to the other side of the mission.

She sat on the wooden bench in the sunshine, grateful for the warmth on her boney shoulders. Quickly I went to the kitchen and returned with a small tray of hot, sugary tea and some bread. How grateful she was! It took her ages to manage it but, later she went on her way. I felt so good about helping her. It had warmed my soul, as the sunshine had warmed her shoulders.

But that was a year ago…how compassionate and caring I had been. But now, I felt no pity at all for this tiny leper woman. I called to my housegirl, “Come and take the tea and bread to the ‘Old One,’” I heard my cold voice say. It was done. My duty over, I returned to my rose-colored bedroom. As I sat down at the desk, my hearts’ true condition came to me. The Holy Spirit showed me where I was spiritually – cold, uncaring, and no compassion at all. “Oh Dearest Heavenly Father,” I cried, “Help me.” The day was long and heavy. There was no joy in anything that I did. The thoughts of being ‘cold’ haunted me until bedtime.

Bedtime darkness, two candles by our bed. No sleep. Suddenly the Holy Spirit brought the verse to me. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” In and instant the plan was formed. I will spend the entire night in prayer. I will not let go of Him until my sins are confessed and I am right before my Heavenly Father. All night the African moon bathed the tiny, rose-colored rug on the bedroom floor. My husband slept peacefully by my side not aware of my ‘heart-changing’ surgery.

Towards the dawn when the earth is alive with its special ‘dawn-sounds,’ my tears started! They ran ‘rivers’ down both sides of my face and my pillow was soaked. My prayers had been heard. Miraculously, I felt clean, fresh, young and more energetic, as though I had slept the night through. However, the best miracle came at 7:30 that morning, when I ran joyfully to take tea and bread to the dear leper woman, MYSELF. God had truly answered my prayers!

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit!!!”


©2000 Thrive


View the original print magazine where this article was first published.