Standing with Hope: Kwame's Dilemma
An African farmer lost a leg and his faith in God until strangers restored his hope.
In 1983, Gracie Parker Rosenberger fell asleep at the wheel and experienced a horrific car accident that has led to more than six dozen operations …including the amputation of both legs. Although saddled with nearly nine million dollars in health care costs and ongoing severe chronic pain, Gracie has defied the odds and emerged as a powerful voice of courage and inspiration to individuals around the world. The non-profit prosthetic limb outreach she and her husband, Peter, founded, Standing With Hope, continues to help amputees in developing countries. Married for twenty-five years, Gracie and Peter have two sons …one of which attends the United States Military Academy Preparatory School at West Point. Gracie and Peter live in Nashville, Tennessee.
While patients wait for the new artificial limb Standing With Hope provides at the clinic in Accra, Ghana, my husband Peter (co-founder and president of Standing With Hope) often joins them in the waiting area to hear individual stories and discover more about the people we treat.
In a room full of amputees, the discussion invariably turns to God and why He allows suffering and loss. During one trip, Kwame, a farmer who lost his leg to diabetes, expressed particularly strong views proclaiming his disappointment with God for allowing such widespread misery. Peter theologically sparred with him for a while, using everything he’d learned through his own journey of questioning God; but Kwame didn’t budge. Propping his amputated limb on his crutch, Kwame continued to list his indictments against God for allowing this mess of a world we inhabit. Several of the team, including me, grew frustrated with Kwame’s loud accusations about God’s goodness and justice, or in his opinion, the lack thereof.
Interestingly enough, Kwame’s comments sounded uncannily similar to ones I’ve heard expressed by friends, family … and me since donning an eye-patch for the first time or strapping on prosthetic limbs.
While Kwame shared his disappointment with God, the team continued working on limbs and treating patients. Muslim, Christian, Buddhist—we treat patients from every faith, or even no faith at all. Our job is to provide the best artificial limbs possible, and be faithful to share why we do this work; results are God’s department. Peter often states, “We’re in sales, not management.”
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