(To give you an idea of the work of CURE, here’s something I wrote during one of my visits to the remarkable, God-infused place that is CURE-Kabul.)
“She will grow up and never be married. She will be ashamed. She will not go to school. She will live with her parents her whole life, and she will be shunned. Her parents will be shunned as well. She will not have a wedding, and will not be invited to other weddings.”
Dr. Hashimi said this twenty minutes ago, as he hovered over her face — her tiny face — and threaded sutures. “She” is seven months old, a baby with tape over her eyes. We had asked him, “What will happen to her if she does not have this surgery?”
She will never have a wedding. She will be shunned.
But today, she had this surgery. I got to hover over her little face as well, and think, and then he suddenly finished, and looked up, pushed his chair back, and said, “Now…now she will go to school. And she will have a wedding.”
God loves little baby girls. And God loves weddings.
If you read the Bible in an honest way, you can’t miss it: God draws close to the broken-hearted. And He draws near to the poor, the weak, the vulnerable, the powerless, the hurting, the outcast, and the shunned. We, on the other hand, like to draw near to the powerful, the healthy, the popular, the seemingly whole. We grant them status.
But the Kingdom of God turns it upside down. The first are last. And a little girl in Afghanistan, born an outcast with a deformity, called “cursed”? In God’s economy, she has status. I watch her little chest move up and down, and her tiny mouth sewn together, and suspect I’m watching royalty.
This building, this CURE International hospital, is a squat, grey, concrete building, down the road from a former palace that’s now rendered drab. (Oddly: The only bright flash of color on a building I’ve seen here is at “Little Las Vegas”, a very place with a neon sign out front. It’s just down the road.) But forget the palace. the King resides here now. And — Vegas would understand — it’s apparent the King hasn’t left the building.
When I was a kid, we had posters up at school about brushing our teeth. Here, there’s the occasional poster to teach kids about the difference between real toys, and land mines designed to look like toys. Land mines are here, there, and eveywhere.
I asked a knowledgeable person today: “So who’s responsible for all these mines?” and the answer was, “Pretty much everybody.”
To study Afghanistan’s history (and good luck making sense of it, the string of wars and takeovers is unending) is to sigh and scratch your head. Think about it: This country has been invaded from the north, the south, the west, and the east. It has been bombed from above and, as little kids even learn, below. Left and right, up and down, from without and, unceasingly, from within.
And little kids, for centuries, have been collateral damage. I look at her, and I think, No, sweetie, I would not want to be you. I would not want to be a baby girl in Afghanistan.
But this one is in CURE International’s hospital, a place that’s here because some people love Jesus, and love how he loves little Afghan baby girls. And I start crying, because I’m hovering over her face, and this little one is not collateral damage. She is knit together with a seam.
They called Jesus the great physician. CURE’s tagline made sense then and there, it makes sense here and now: “Healing changes everything.”
The Doctor is in the house.
And He loves weddings.