After the bombs went off in Youhanabad and mobs took to the streets in violent protests, a young, pregnant woman and her husband found themselves in another hospital, away from the turmoil, but still close enough to feel the gravity of the events, their longtime friend Hana tells us.
“Sheeba had suffered from depression for a long time,” says Hana. “This was the result of living a life under discrimination, persecution and poverty. Her two children showed behavioral problems, which added to the stress. She comes from an area where there are almost no spiritually mature counselors. All she was given was anti-depressants. But they hurt her body and she decided not to take them anymore. Until the bomb blasts in Youhanabad…”
Hana’s mind brings her back to another scene, just weeks before the terrorist attacks on two churches in the Christian colony in Lahore. “We were in a church and Sheeba took me aside. I kind of sensed what she wanted to tell me, but I did not open my mouth. I dreaded the conversation. She cried and told me she was pregnant. Then came the questions. Was she able to continue working while being pregnant? She had a good job and could not afford to give it up. Her husband could not take care of the other two children by himself. And what would other people say? Everybody blamed her for the difficult behavior of her two other children. The Muslim doctor even said: ‘Why do you need more children? You’ve got two already.’”
Later, Hana prayed with Sheeba and her husband. Sheeba decided to give up her job. A few weeks later, she went to attend church. During the worship service, text messages flooded in about the attacks on two churches not far from where they were. A stabbing pain filled Sheeba’s body. Her husband rushed her to the hospital, where a doctor gave her medicines. “Sheeba’s husband watched her fall asleep. But a few hours later fitful convulsions took hold of her. She had been given medications that were much too strong. Did the doctor do it on purpose to punish the Christian community? Was it an accident? Did Sheeba’s body give up? We’ll never know. All we know is that the Youhanabad attacks took another victim: Sheeba’s baby.”
The parents struggle with these questions: “Am I bad? Did I want this pregnancy to be over? Will God forgive me for that?”
Please pray that God will restore Sheeba and her family.
*Representative names and photo to protect persecuted Christians