Malaria and Worry

Last Saturday night we took Callie to the hospital to get tested for malaria. Her test was negative, thank God! Following are the factors that caused us to worry for her sake:

I mentioned that we left vacation early (a holiday in a low-risk malaria region) to preach for the funeral of a neighbor of ours. She actually died of malaria, and her baby was in the hospital the week of her funeral to recuperate from malaria as well.

Some missionary friends of ours announced that they are leaving their field of service (Ghana) because of malaria and its effects on their toddler.

Then last Saturday Callie got a fever that soared and wouldn’t come down, along with some stomach trouble.

I would normally treat her with Tylenol and wait a couple of days to see if she healed on her own, but the conjunction of these events worried me. We’ve been told before that malaria is not a problem in South Africa, except for select few areas, which we’ve been told do not include our village. But we had been out of our village on holiday near the border of Zimbabwe.

I researched a bit on the internet about malaria and its symptoms, as well as malaria regions in South Africa, and decided to call the doctor. She told me that we actually can get malaria in our villages; and if I was concerned, the only way to know for sure was to do a blood test. This would be considered an emergency, and she would run the test as soon as we could get to the hospital.

We decided to have the test done, though it was almost her bedtime, and Seth needed to brush up his sermon for the next day. Would I normally make that decision if all of these events hadn’t lined up just so? Probably not. But I was worried.

I wonder if my worry was sinful. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” “Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

On the other hand, I talk to myself, believing that I took the course of common sense. It’s not “worry” to take precautions with your child’s health—especially if you believe it could affect your future in missions! I’ve been told I’m a pessimist (translate—“worrier”); I respond that I’m a realist. 😉 My husband is an optimist.

Does believing that God works out all things for good to those who love Him mean that we don’t work with all of our might to prevent those bad things from happening (that will eventually be worked out for our good)? Does trusting in the Lord with all of our heart mean, as the prosperity preachers say, that if we have enough faith, bad things won’t happen, or they will be taken care of/healed, etc.? Obviously not.

But I wonder if I could see the truth in my own heart, how much of my heart was filled with what percentage of these two courses. I doubt I would have changed my decision. I’m glad I know for sure that she is not endangered right now by malaria. But did I sin in my heart—in my emotions? How much of my heart was filled with fear for my baby, fears and doubts about the unknown, and lack of trust in our loving Father’s sovereign hand truly working all things together for our good?

Jonathan Edwards said, “Resolved to examine carefully and constantly what that one thing in me is which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God, and so direct all my forces against it.” I can act for my baby’s good health, but I must do so with unshakeable assurance that God’s ways are best.

Sooo tired.

Sooo tired.

On vacation in a baobab tree.

On vacation in a baobab tree.

On vacation.

On vacation.

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About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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10 Responses to Malaria and Worry

  1. Dana Jordan says:

    These are tough questions, Amy! Some of the same things Tim and I wrestle with over our kiddos! I’m so glad to hear that Callie does not have malaria and will keep all of you in my prayers!

  2. Ann Bedford says:

    Praise the Lord for this good news of no malaria. Amy, I believe that God gives us common sense for a reason and I agree with your decision. You did not take God out of the picture when you made your decision and you did all you could and left it in God’s Hands. Would you have been questioning your decision had the test shown malaria? Of course not. So the decision was a good one. It worry, or concern, becomes sin when we ring our hands and FORGET that God is in control, but I”m sure you and Seth know all this. Prayers are with you.

  3. Debi Morrison says:

    Hi Amy. Praise God for a negative test! I agree with Mrs. Bedford. I have never been to a foreign mission field but God gave me two children with serious health issues.es, I always questioned whether to go or not and my motives behind it but Mrs. Bedford is right – realizing that the Lord gave us medical knowledge and knowing that we stay close to Him in prayer with every decision we make, I too would have made the same decision and gone to the hospital. I can attest that the Lord answered every prayer and directed my path and I know He will do the same as you continue in your ministry. You are an amazing family and I will continue to hold you all in prayer for health and safety.
    Debi Morrison

  4. zebranay says:

    For a little more reassurance Amy I agree with Debi Morrison. God gave us common sense and Dr.s for a reason. Our trust in Him is to be absolute but sometimes there are other reasons illness or problems happen. Your concern is not necessarily a doubt in God. If you let every potential illness go by saying if it’s God’s will, you might as well be a Christian Scientist. Besides there could have been an ulterior reason you were at that clinic in God’s plan to affect someone. What person really knows God’s mind? Just keep being a great Mom, you’re doing good!

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  6. I was talking to myself this week – in a similar fashion.

    As you probably have heard there was a school shooting here in the USA. In our town in Iowa, there was a similar copy cat “threat” the following week. We do home school our children, but send them to the school to participate in the after school sport teams. So I had heard the story from my son on the drive home from practice. I read the letter from the principal that he e-mailed out that evening, and I went ahead and sent my son to practice the next day. 20% of the team was “out sick” the next day.

    I head read on FB how some parents were calling their children in sick because of the threat, even though the principal had said they were following their “safety plan” and the police had been called and the offender hauled away and their were only words used, no weapons.

    So – I said out loud… “Well – I would hope that if there were any danger, the Holy Spirit would have prompted me to keep my son home.”

    Then thought… hmm…

    Did any parents keep their children home from school the Friday of the school shooting in CT?

    I DO think our “premonitions” are promptings of the Holy Spirit… am I to assume some were prompted and didn’t follow them? Does He ever do that to protect us? He is always in charge. Does he allow horrible consequences for not following the prompting? I have said this several times, after not reacting fearfully when others around me are reacting. But I’m not sure if I know of a time when I HAVE reacted to a prompting and visually saw the hand of God’s protection, then given him the glory.

    So – I’m rambling… but just perhaps your “worry” is your reacting to a prompting. I’m still chewing on this. I know anything out of balance is sin – so obviously fear is not of God – but perhaps a trip to the Doctor’s office, with a negative test was NOT worry for no reason, but obedience to a prompting?

    I look forward to seeing how God is going to educate me on this in the upcoming days. Since I’ve said this aloud, and now read your blog… I must be needed some growth in this area of my life.

    • Amy says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful response. I’m trying to achieve appropriate concern for my children without being swamped with worry or fear–hard to toe that line.

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