A recent graduate from the CARE for AIDS program told a staff member that he now counts his HIV status as more valuable than gold, because its through this disease that he found community again. What he saw once as a curse and a death sentence he now counts as blessing.
We have been meditating on this recently as a staff-- its incredible that someone can come to be thankful for the very thing that destroyed their life, and in meditating on this phenomenon, we have come to believe that it is Biblical.
In the second chapter of the book of Isaiah, the prophet describes the people of God as a people who “beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks”. At first pass on this scripture, I am tempted to assume that these people who beat their swords into ploughshares are a people who have lived in peace for so long that they decided to be practical and take what had essentially become useless (swords) and make them into something they could use on their farms.
Upon further consideration, and in the face of seeing how an AIDS can be transformed from a curse to an invaluable blessing, I think this scripture is telling us something more profound. What if the people of God are called to take active instruments of death and work them, slowly and faithfully, into instruments that cultivate life?
At CARE for AIDS, this means taking HIV/AIDS, the most notorious instrument of death in Sub-Saharan Africa, and working into something that can cultivate life and community. After all, that's exactly what Jesus modeled to us on the cross— the most notorious instrument of death in Rome is now the most notorious symbol of abundant life. The story arc of God has always bent from death to life, and we are all part of that story on a daily basis.
So we urge you to continue to pray for peace in your life and in the world, but we also challenge you to grab hold of an instrument of destruction and, through the grace of God, beat it into an instrument of peace that cultivates life.