It was an innocent Wednesday morning at clinic and I was in the office getting some administrative work done. At breakfast with our Medical Director, I heard wind of an emergency in the clinic. Dr. Mainviel was taking care of it. (I'd just sit in my office, our staff can take care of it, better for me to not get involved). Before too long, he was up in my office asking me if there are any ambulance services I have connections with.
Fast Forward to today, Sunday, and here's where I'm at.

I live in a world where babies are born falling onto their heads, where mothers don't have help or support in a maternity hospital (underfunded/undersupported, in a slum, overcrowded), where families abandon a family member when her baby dies (of no fault of her own).

Where is God in this?

Does it help or hurt for a 'foreigner' to get involved? The westerner has a concept of western medicine, of who and what can be saved and protected. My first job out of grad school was in a general medicine ICU at a level 1 Trauma Center, death was not necessarily uncommon... but also with the knowledge that EVERYTHING possible was done to help that human being. I wasn't super phased by this. It was part of the job, I was busy, there were more patients to see and help. It was life, part of the professional life as a PT in the hospital. I say that to address that this is not my first time dealing with death.

So why does the death of 2 day old baby Deborah break my heart so completely that I cried all morning at house church and am currently feeling a heartbreak hangover.

Doesn't God value life? Doesn't God value Myriame, a mom desperate for love, support, and help after the tragic death of her baby? Doesn't God hate injustice? Baby Deborah's death was unjust on so many levels and there was multiple opportunities to save her life.

God values life. God IS life. God loves justice. God IS justice. 

It is okay that my heart is grieved and broken. It's okay that I can't shake off witnessing of the dying of baby Deborah (despite stabilizing her in our clinic and keeping her stable in transport to one of the best hospitals in Port au Prince). It's okay that I don't know what to do when Deborah's mom texts me daily reaching out for connection and help.

I was witness to injustice and I hurt. I hurt for this world. I hurt for baby Deborah though I know she is dancing with her Maker in heaven. I hurt for Haiti. I hurt mostly for her mother who is desperate, seeking, grieving, and ill. This is not God's intention. This was not his plan when He created humanity.

I don't have to understand in order to bear witness to tragedy, trauma, and injustice.

Equally important, I don't have to understand in order to grieve and process through it.

I don't have to try to 'make sense' of it or somehow 'justify it' in this broken world. I bore witness to injustice and it has grieved my heart immensely. And I think that's consistent with the heart of God.
Honestly I've been pretty pissed at the world since this happened, even mad at God for this grave injustice and why I was so involved in the whole situation.

My word for the year is 'heal.' I'm slightly sassing at God saying, alright, Lord, we'll see how you heal me from this one. But I know that each of these experiences somehow shows me a piece of the heart of God that I haven't known so well.

1As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
3My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
4These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty Oned
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.
5Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
6My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
8By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
9I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
10My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
11Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42 NIV 


  1. My dear Rachel... I was heartbroken when I heard about baby Deborah as well. I am so very encouraged by what you have written. It is so easy to get numb when we experience tragedy and injustice... and too easy for me to be angry at the Lord. That in the processing of this tragedy you are turning to Him, reminding yourself of the truth of His character does my soul well.

    I love you dearly !


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