Angel’s Example…

I want to share something with you which happened this past weekend that really touched my heart in a few different ways…

My brothers and I have a very close friend named Angel who lives in our neighborhood. He’s has an infectious smile, an outgoing personality, and is definitely a “leader” among the kids in this area.

He came over on Saturday, along with the other kids in the neighborhood, to play like they often do.

Generally, when they come over we play a game of football (soccer) together; Angel being one of the best players. He can bounce that ball off his foot 100 times with ease before ever letting it hit the ground (yes, we’ve counted).

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Angel and Alex playing football! (Kundwan in the tree.. 😉 ) Angel’s about to score a goal here…

This particular day however, Angel came limping in our gate holding is left knee. That ear-to-ear grin that is ever-present on his face wasn’t there in the same manner it usually is. Instead, his face wore a look of pain and discomfort.

I went over to him and asked him what was wrong. He uncovered his knee to reveal it swollen nearly double its normal size; part of his leg surrounding the knee was swollen also.

My immediate question was, “What HAPPENED to you!?”

Angel: “Inshishibe… (*I don’t know*) but it is too much paining!”

He said he had woken up that morning to find it swollen and “paining”. Of course all sorts of ideas flooded my mind as to what on earth could’ve happened to him; but we are nearly sure now it wasn’t anything more than an allergic reaction to a bee sting or something similar; at least nothing serious. The swelling and pain had decreased quite a bit by the next day.

Nevertheless, on this day, it was swollen and hurting him awfully! He lay down on top of the bricks lining our driveway and just closed his eyes to rest. He’d sit up now and then, stretch his leg while cringing in pain, and then lay down again.

When the sun moved to where he was laying he hobbled, nearly falling as he stood up, over to a tree and laid beneath it in the shade resting his leg on the trunk.

I sat with him and talked. I was hoping to keep him from being completely bored or feeling left out having to watch all his friends playing football…Though I know his heart was still “on the field” playing with them; hence what happened next…

Now one thing I can tell you about Zambians: most of them I know don’t cave easily to pain and discomfort. I had a friend who walked 90 minutes to school when she was nearly crying from being sick with Malaria and had a nasty fever…They are so strong and push through discomfort and pain!

Angel is no exception; which is why we knew he was in serious pain to be laying on the ground and even crying out in pain from his leg. He’s been hurting, in pain, and sick with malaria when he’s come over before and still jumped right into the action…

After we had visited under the tree for a couple minutes, his eyes turned to the others playing football and he slowly sat up, cringing through closed eyes, and slid his leg off the tree trunk and onto the ground.

He massaged his leg for a few seconds, head down on his opposite knee, and then grabbed a tree branch for support and stood. His leg was so stiff just from a few minutes of sitting he nearly collapsed back on the ground, but he stayed standing and massaged/exercised his leg for a couple minutes before limping terribly toward the football game.

I looked at him and said, “Angel! Are you going to play?!”

He turned his head back to me and just nodded in response before looking back at the game, that smile returning to his face, and shouting “Leta bola pano iwe!” (Pass me the ball!)

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Angel and his winning smile!

He couldn’t run his full speed while playing and every time he took a step I could see him cringe, but that smile never left his face…

I know the pain he was enduring hadn’t decreased any; but he made a choice to put it past him for the moment and play anyway…

He played for maybe 15 minutes before he sat down on the ground and massaged his leg for a bit, his face telling of the pain he was in; though he was still smiling between expressions of pain and shouting at different people on the field before telling someone to pass him the ball.

He stood up suddenly as the ball rolled toward him, again putting the pain aside for the moment, and kicked for a goal. He missed the goal entirely, but hey! He tried! Would I have tried?? Probably not…Would I have been on that field? Most likely no…Would I have been sitting on the ground holding an ice pack over my knee?? Probably. Acting as if I couldn’t do anything, pushing every thought of working or playing any sort of active game out of my mind?? I’m pretty sure I would’ve…

I’m not saying this to say pain isn’t something that is serious or that it would’ve been wrong of him not to play and just sit with an ice pack…I think that would’ve been completely fine and understandable to say the least!! I’m simply saying I was impressed, convicted, and encouraged by his endurance and strength to push past that severe pain he was in to do something he loved…

I was convicted of times I’m asked to help and I complain of a stomach ache or an eczema-covered hand, saying I can’t do what is being asked…Sure, we all have stomach aches, and sometimes they make us completely bed-ridden…and sure, my eczema was BAD and to wash the dishes made it worse, but why couldn’t I just wear a glove and get the job done?? Why can’t I get up when that stomach ache isn’t debilitating and do what I can to help?

People put up with so much…so much more than I do! They put up with pain that truly does prevent them from participating in activities around them; and I complain about eczema and a stomach ache…

Angel’s actions really encouraged and convicted me this weekend…He made me think twice before I complain about something I’m asked to do or letting something small prevent me from doing the things which need to be done.

Jesus Christ bore the burden of all our sins. He was beaten and then forced to carry a heavy cross on His back…He was suffering from pain and discomfort far more serious than a stomach ache, simple exhaustion, and even a swollen knee…but He pushed through. He carried that cross until that burden was taken from Him and carried by Simon. But He was still wearing a crown with thorns embedding themselves in His head. He had still just come from being severely beaten near the point of death and yet He continued putting one foot in front of the other. Maybe He was stumbling, but He pressed on nonetheless…

What right do I have to complain?

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3 thoughts on “Angel’s Example…

  1. I love how you let the Lord teach you through the everyday things around you! You teach me, just as Angel has taught us both. Thanks for sharing this story and great writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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