It was the end of her fellowship and Alero smiled as she unpacked her gifts. Uncle Lawrence, her godfather, definitely knew how to surprise her. She got a new Macbook, she remembered mentioning needing a new one once in a conversation. She also got a lovely selfie stick and a note saying ‘go see the world’ and a cruise ticket for a Transatlantic cruise over the summer break. She was so thrilled by his generosity but more by his thoughtfulness.
Uncle Lawrence. Together they shared a special bond which only grew stronger as she aged, she thought. Alero had Uncle Lawrence on speed dial, from Facebook to Twitter, Twitter to Skype, His PA knew that Alero’s calls were not to be ignored and their relationship made Uncle Lawrence the savvy tech guy amongst his peers. He was an epidemiologist who worked with the World Health Organisation and travelled a lot, a life and career, which Alero was privileged to share.
Wherever he travelled, Uncle Lawrence always kept in touch with Alero telling her all the medical breakthroughs and work they performed. She knew more than most medical practitioners what Uncle Lawrence did for the medical community all around the world and she often told him how proud of him she was.
After medical school she was interested in epidemiology and after she had passed her primaries was admitted into one of the World Health Organisation’s 6 months trainee Programs. Towards the end of the program, there was a deadly viral outbreak in Ivory Coast and her team was drafted to collect samples for investigation and diagnosis. Three days after she had returned to Geneva with the team , Alero came down with a flu and within 12 hours showed the symptoms of the virus that broke out in Ivory Coast and she was quickly placed under quarantine. Investigations were still ongoing at this time. She knew that whilst attending to one of the patients, she had a minor breach. It worried her but she had tried to ignore the nagging fear. She had spoken to Uncle Lawrence about it. He sounded calm. If he wasn’t she couldn’t tell. However, now she had been compromised and this was no time to pass blame. She needed to reach Uncle Lawrence.
If she could only reach Uncle Lawrence, there will be a solution. She knew!!! He always knew what to do. But she called and called and his phones were switched off. Her siblings (Tosan and Mofe) also couldn’t reach him. It took them a whole day to reach his PA who promised to tell him but even at that, he didn’t call back like everyone expected him to. They waited all through Day 2. There she was stooling and throwing up whilst the doctors put up IV lines to manage her dehydration. Where was uncle Lawrence? He must be busy, surely as soon as his PA let him know she was down and had been infected with this virus, he would reach out and get her help. She knew all the inner gist of all the things his team had done, she had no doubt.
By the third day, she was still very hopeful even if she was physically weak. She spoke to Caspian, his PA but his responses appeared vague. From what she gathered, he had not been able to reach Uncle Lawrence either. Although, he mentioned that he told him she was quite ill and was trying to reach him.
By Day 4, Alero’s brother (Mofe) was really angry. It was a palpable sense of dismay that was evolving from the cautious optimism of his entire family on Days 1 and 2. Although he had tried to manage dad and mum, he was really becoming afraid. Speaking to the consultants and specialists in Geneva who gave progress reports was most discouraging. He really wished uncle Lawrence would show up, say something to the folks at Geneva about how to manage Alero. And then, even if he didn’t have the solution, the fact that he was there would mean a whole lot, especially to Alero who revered him. Just being there would have helped. That was all that Alero gathered from the series of voice messages he left her. But she was still certain that Uncle Lawrence would show up. If he was informed that she was ill, she knew he would come. Her parents and Mofe arrived Geneva that evening.
By Day 5, Alero could barely speak because she was really weak and had lost almost 20% of her body mass. She could feel the despondency by the hour as the doctors came in and went out. She saw it in their eyes and felt it in the air. She was still hopeful that if Uncle Lawrence came, he will tell the team what to do to make her better. By that evening, she forced herself to think about what would happen if Uncle Lawrence didn’t come. She tried to do a video but literally ran out of energy after the first one. Speaking was a little too draining so she typed short notes on her tablet for her parents and loved ones.
Then, on Day 6, an air ambulance arrived at the hospital. Uncle Lawrence had arrived. Alero was relieved and excited. That changed everything. When Mofe and Tosan heard about Uncle Lawrence’s arrival, they could not restrain their anger, disappointment and hurt; they didn’t even notice his frail appearance as they hurled accusations at him. Alero watched, helpless as her family demanded answers, how patient Uncle Lawrence sat as he waited for everyone to finish she thought. And then he requested her parents’ permission to try a new drug. It was like magic. Within a few hours, she was breathing normally, colour returned to her cheeks but she was still weak. The drug was shipped to Ivory Coast to stem the epidemic. The result was an incredible discovery and within a few hours, the hospital was swarmed by reporters wanting to see her and Uncle Lawrence.
When Alero could speak, she said, ‘I knew you would come through.’ Then Uncle Lawrence said, ‘yes, dear, when you told me you had inadvertently exposed yourself to the virus, I knew there was a likelihood that you would be infected. I had been working on an anti-virus since the virus first broke out 5 years ago and although the drug had not been tested, it was a rare strain that broke out in Ivory Coast. I had to work night and day to make it ready. That’s why no one could reach me. I was working on the drug and also needed to try the drug out on myself to be sure it had some hope of remedying the virus. “You are special. I wanted to try my best to save you so I put myself at risk.”
As she awaited the announcement of her name and the award of the fellowship, tears streamed down her face. Alero remembered the battles that had waged in her heart as she had waited for help to come. Her faith in her beloved uncle Lawrence was tested and she was so glad she had held on.
This story reminds me very much of Lazarus and Jesus. Jesus came late because he loved Lazarus. Healing him may have been pedestrian. He wanted to reveal himself as the resurrection and life and what better model than a friend?
As we celebrate the resurrection, some of us have questions like Alero, why isn’t he showing up on time? Why is he allowing this pain consume me? I know what he can do. I know he loves me, this makes no sense. As you ask yourself the same questions, remember that he went into hell and took the keys of death and hell. He’s no longer dead and that is all you need to assure you that He will show up! The love of God births a deeper glory. And as Jesus spoke to Lazarus come forth, and made a maximum impact in the announcement of his power as resurrection and life, God desires to do same through you, to show off His glory.
Many times, what we see as a delay, what we see as God giving up on us is God setting us up for His glory. So instead of asking ‘why?’ and ‘why me?’ let us trust God enough to believe that whatever He permits, He is INTENTIONAL about and so His love for us will never be in doubt. Let us believe that as Lazarus’ resurrection drew many men to the realization of who Jesus is, our lives will draw men unto Him.
Let Easter remind you of the powerful reality that Jesus Christ’s resurrection represents.
Let it also remind us of what love for us drive Him to do. He put his life on the line like Uncle Lawrence did, He put us first and though hope is frail; we must trust that though He may appear late, He is ALWAYS on time.
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies.” Rom. 8:11.
Do not be discouraged, God has not forgotten…
God bless you
Image credit: Rox and Myrox