|Rachel (on right) and her faithful caretaker|
367 Days. That is the number of days that Rachel spent in the hospital. Looking back at her injuries at time of arrival, it is a miracle she survived. She was crushed by a falling tree and came to the hospital with a head injury, multiple broken ribs, punctured lungs on both sides, blood in her left chest, severe injury to her muscles (aka rhabdomyolysis), and a broken back with paralysis from the waist down. After the first week, her acute injuries stabilized, only to fight through a pneumonia, which threatened to claim her. Then she faced weeks of physical therapy.
She developed pressure sores, which did not respond to wound care alone, so she had surgery to try to cover the sores with better tissue. Those flaps broke down creating new wounds. Here in PNG we don’t have rehabilitation centers where patients can go to get intensive physical therapy. We don’t have an outside facility that can perform chronic wound care, or nurses that visit the home to do dressing changes. It was a painstakingly slow process over several months to finally see healing of her wounds. But through it all, Rachel always had a smile on her face and a prayer on her lips. Her faithful caretaker stayed by her side through it all, providing Rachel with meals and encouragement.
This past month, I kept telling Rachel that I hoped she would be home by Christmas. Imagine my delight when one year and two days after coming to the hospital, she announced she was ready to go home! I praise God for his faithfulness in caring for Rachel over the last year, and I pray that she will continue to proclaim his glory throughout all the challenges of returning home.
May we all celebrate God's faithfulness this Christmas as we remember everything he has brought us through in the past year. At Christmas, we celebrate that God entered into our broken world and made his home among us. He joined humanity in our suffering in order to conquer death and prepare for us an eternal home. No matter what trial you may be facing, may the hope of eternity encourage your heart this Christmas season.