"Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him.” - Job 13:15
Recently, the Christian band, Shane & Shane released a song called “Though You Slay Me”. It’s a beautiful expression of trusting and praising God through times of difficulty and suffering. The lyrics borrow straight from Scripture, and predominantly from the book of Job. This is the song that came to mind when I heard Camila’s story. It’s a story of suffering, but also redemption.
“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” - Job 1:21
Camila is a young, 30-year-old mother. Before the accident that changed her life, she lived in Costa Rica with her husband and four boys. Her husband was abusive, both physically and sexually. She eventually escaped the abuse and returned to her homeland of Nicaragua with her children, but caring for all of them on her own was difficult.
In 2012, she visited a free clinic provided by a medical mission team. The clinic was held in an old two-story building. While Camila and 34 other people waited on the second floor to see the doctor, the building suddenly collapsed. Camila suffered an injury to her spinal cord, paralyzing her from the waist down. She was the only victim in the accident to suffer permanent damage.
While she was in the hospital recovering, her husband learned what had happened to her. He used that opportunity to kidnap her two older sons and take them back with him to Costa Rica. When she discovered what her husband had done, Camila fell into a deep depression. She grieved over the sons she would likely never see again.
As for Camila’s two younger sons (ages five and three), since she could not care for them, they were taken to her family members. Sadly, Camila’s family wanted nothing to do with her or the two young boys. The boys were neglected and mistreated. They were forced to beg on the streets for food and money, and they developed a fear of adults.
Camila, lying paralyzed in a hospital bed, separated from her sons, and abandoned by her family, wished to God that she would die. For two months, she hardly ate any food. Most of her hair fell out, and she became very thin and malnourished. “But,” she says, “the Lord kept me alive.”
In 2013, a lady from a nearby church heard Camila’s story and shared it with a prayer group. One of the ladies present that day was a woman named Adriana. After hearing about Camila, Adriana went to visit her in the hospital. They developed a friendship, and Adriana would visit regularly, pray with her, and bring her food. She even provided Camila with a wheelchair, enabling her to finally get out of the hospital bed. Having someone care for her and encourage her spiritually helped Camila tremendously.
When Camila was finally discharged from the hospital, she went to stay with her family in a small community outside the city of Matagalpa. It didn’t take long for problems to arise again. Her family was negligent, refusing to provide her with proper care, and she eventually became sick with infection. Adriana received word that Camila was very sick. With Adriana’s help, Camila returned to the hospital, where she was hospitalized for over a year.
When she was finally discharged, this time, Adriana knew Camila should not return to her family again. Adriana and her daughter, Daniella, a young woman in her 20s, decided to take Camila into their own home in order to care for her properly.
In November of 2014, as a surprise for Camila’s birthday, Daniella went to the home of Camila’s family and brought her two young sons to visit. In the two years since the accident, Camila had only been able to see her boys a few short times. She was overjoyed to see her children! This visit lifted her spirits, and her health improved. When Daniella saw that the children’s visit improved Camila’s health, she asked for permission to have Camila’s children move into her home. Camila now reflects back to those times, “My own family rejected me, but Adriana and Daniella have now become like family to me and my sons.”
The 2012 accident broke more than Camila’s spine. It broke her heart. She still has not seen her two older sons since her husband took them to Costa Rica, and she still suffers physically from her injuries. But healing is now taking place. The family that neglected her has been replaced by one that loves and cares for her deeply. Her two young sons are now enrolled in school. They’ve also grown healthier and happier, no longer fearing adults. Camila previously suffered from loneliness and despair, but now, she has a support group of friends who pray for her and encourage her. She still faces many challenges, but she knows that God is with her.
“For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.” - Job 5:18