Ebola. A once unknown name that now strikes terror in the hearts of the hearer. An infectious and generally fatal disease – highly infectious, excruciatingly fatal, presently mysterious, with confusion abounding about its origin and how it is transmitted. A cruel disease that readily strikes patient and caregiver. A cause for concern, with hospitals emptying and medical personnel sometimes retreating, it is also causing unfounded panic in countries where there have been few reported cases, and the virus is contained and well under control. Even in those countries where the spread of the virus was a serious concern, at least two – Nigeria and Senegal have now been declared Ebola free.
Stories of heroic efforts of those directly confronted with this plague however, must surely discomfit our remote comfort…..an enterprising trainee nurse who improvised garbage bags and rainboots into an efficient anti infection barrier. The heroic doctor who physically restrained a criminally resolute infected patient who was determined to leave the hospital in which he was under her care. A patient who surely would have infected others, and who but for her efforts, would likely have caused a pandemic in Nigeria. For her efforts, she was infected with the virus. She paid the ultimate price for her courageous act: she died on 19 August 2014 from complications from the Ebola Haemorragic Virus. The doctor concerned was a Dr Adeyo Adadevoh.
This could be but another sad tale of the international havoc wrought by the Ebola virus. Just another victim of this ravaging scourge. But it’s not.
Dr Ameyo Adadevoh was a family friend.
Our families lived in the same neighborhood – on the University of Ibadan campus – when we were young. Our parents were friendly. I do not remember her from then – possibly because she was in High School or away at boarding school at the time, however, I do remember her younger sister, Ama who was my sister’s friend, and her brother Kojo. It is no surprise that my sister who grew up to become a doctor, sharing that childhood connection, that adult profession, and both resident in Lagos, Nigeria, and she were friends.
The Adadevoh family is of a distinguished lineage linked to more than one founding father of the nation today known as Nigeria. From all accounts, Dr Ameyo was a wonderful doctor and an overall excellent human being.
So, the question would be why. Why?? Why she? Why did she have to die? Even if she had to die, why now, and why from such a horrible disease? Why did God allow such a bad thing to happen to such a good person? In fact, to be frank and verbalize the question some are undoubtedly thinking: Wasn’t it rather mean, to allow such a bad thing to happen to such a good person?
The short answer to that anguished question is that God is not mean. Though terrible things happen in our world, and seemingly bad people seem to get away with ‘murder while bad things happen to “good” people, God is not mean. He is not hapless either – things do not happen despite Him nor against His will. He is always firmly in control. Nothing happens by mistake, and He is neither rash nor malicious.
In fact, God is good – perfectly, intentionally good.
But even if we accept that God is good – even if only for the sake of argument just now – the fact remains that our hearts have been bruised because a terrible thing happened to a wonderful person. How can we reconcile this paradox: God is perfectly good and always in control; He never makes a mistake, yet the evil go unpunished and bad things happen to good people. How can this be?
This paradox can be reconciled only if we delve deeper than the surface, and go to the good book for insight. For now, I will end this post by expressing most sincere condolences to the Adadevoh family on behalf of the Olu Longe family, consisting of my parents, my sister and I.
Though their grief must be great, they can be proud that she lived such a worthy life, and is now acknowledged a heroine, not just be her family and acquaintances, but by her nation – Nigeria. In deliberately standing against great harm for the greater good at her personal cost, Dr Ameyo emulated the greatest advocate, Jesus Christ, He who willingly paid a price, impossible for all except Him, to save mankind from the consequences of the scourge of sin. By all accounts, the life Dr Ameyo lived – not just her heroic act – was loving and honorable. A life worthy of a heedful daughter of the Great Physician, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Her sacrifice will not be in vain. In Jesus name, amen.
[Continued in Part II]
(first posted 10/21/2014; 789 words)