I wish I had photo of the one who became ‘God with skin on’ that day in Malaysia.
I remember his name, his gentle face. I could feel eyes watching me along with all the eyes of so many in the room that day.I stood out like a sore thumb. The only one with white skin. The only one allowed in with children.
Holding tightly onto a motorbike helmet, he watched me from a distance. He was young and stood quietly at the end of a hospital bed. His younger sister lay waiting for one of many emergency doctors rushing to and fro. He stood across the aisle and watched, feet shod with gospel.
He didn’t know I had cried out to God with tears that day, didn’t know we’d travelled inland by ambulance hours earlier. Didn’t know the earthquake had rigorously shaken another hospital some miles from here nor did he know that the threat of a Tsunami had almost made my heart fail for fear.
He hadn’t heard my daughter crying as she asked “is daddy going to die?” Couldn’t see her nursing her stitched and swollen arm, crying as she prayed words I couldn’t recognise nor see the little boy by my side still covered in fresh blood, quiet with fear.
He didn’t hear me pray.
I uttered words over and over as we drove by night into the unknown. Street lights flashing, traffic banking, ambulance stop-starting as he lay limp on that stretcher. “God I need you here, I need you with skin on, please God, I can’t see you, I can’t feel you. Where are you?
“Have you left us here to die. Please, send someone with skin on. Someone who knows you. I need to know you’re here.”
I will never forget the words of encouragement he spoke to me, I was so frightened.
His name was Roy. He slowly walked across the room and told me his name and then, ever so quietly, he asked “you are Christian, yes?” and in the sweetest broken English I have ever heard, he said those words I will never forget….
“It is going to be ok…Jesus is with you…I too am Christian. I want you to know He is here with you, it is going to be ok, you’re husband, he will be ok!”
and suddenly fear subsided and I didn’t feel so alone….
God had come to me just as I had asked in the one with dark skin.
Was he an angel sent from heaven?
I don’t know, but to me he was simply “God with skin on”. He stood by my children, watching them with eyes of compassion as I was called again to the injured ones side, but the young doctor, the one who had travelled with us was worried. He asked “who is this man with your children?”
He didn’t know he was “God with skin on”. He couldn’t know that. He didn’t know we were brothers and sisters, connected with cord that binds.
Cords that crossed race and culture.
I knew my children were safe but the kind doctor didn’t understand, he couldn’t see. He walked with concern, back into that long crowded corridor to stand by the one who was ‘God with skin on’ and watched closely over my little ones.
My heart filled. I was touched by the doctor who didn’t know my God. Why would he would care? Disappearing only to later return with food for us. He saw we were so tired, knew we’d travelled long and waited even longer by hospital beds in that city of IPOH. Was he God with skin on too?
We weren’t to know that days later that there would be more as we were surrounded by others who heard our story and come to find us, came to pray.
Today, as I face yet another unknown in this ongoing journey, I know He’s always with us, even when we can’t feel him or see him. I may never see Roy again until we reach the other side but our heavenly Father will never leave either of us nor will he ever forsake us or see us begging bread. He can send help in time of need.
I think God put that steeple by our house to remind me of his presence.
Every day I see it and think of his faithfulness and when the church bells ring, I smile.
Stained glass windows remind me of the cross he bore for me, telling me I that with His strength, I can bear all things.
“When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the cross that is higher than I”
And I think about the gift, the ‘God with skin on’ kind of gift, of the foreign land, of how hopeless I felt, of all the others that came and of all the times God has appeared to me…
‘with skin on’
How often he has shown his unfailing love for me, just a girl who loves this mystery God.