“My boys all turned up to say their goodbyes and Joyce asked me whether I would choose burial or cremation, so I knew my time was running out”
When I had a stroke in 2001, the situation was hopeless and I was feeling so ill that I really thought I was about to die. The family were keeping a constant vigil beside my bed, day and night and when my boys all turned up to say their goodbyes and Joyce asked me whether I would choose burial or cremation, I knew my time was running out. It was about this time that I can vividly remember the struggle that took place within my spirit. Was I really prepared for God to take me? I knew things were grim and that, if I survived, all I probably had to look forward to being pushed around in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I did not want that and I came to the point where I was willing for the Lord to take me, if that was His will. Through this time, I clung to God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11. “I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope”. At various stages of my life, I had found these words to be true, but I came to appreciate them in a new way. I knew that whatever happened, God’s plans were for my good and I experienced a real peace in abandoning myself to him. I went to sleep, fully expecting that I wasn’t going to wake up and I was really surprised when I actually did.
I have to tell you that there is much about healing that I do not understand. I do know that God does heal us today and I am tremendously grateful to him for restoring me. I do not understand why God chooses to heal some people and He seems to allow others to continue in their affliction. I liken my own situation to the paralytic man who was brought to Jesus for healing in Mark 2 by some of his friends who lowered him down on a bed supported by ropes through a hole in the roof. The bible tells us that when Jesus saw their faith, he healed the man both spiritually and physically. I am sure that it was the prayers and the faith of my friends, rather than my own, that God used to bring about my healing. There was nothing about me that made me any more deserving of his grace than anyone else but he did answer those that were holding the ropes when I was powerless to do anything for myself. This should encourage us to continue supporting each other more by prayer and come with boldness and confidence before the Lord to intercede for one another.
I am very thankful for all the friends I have at Lynfield then and now. When the believers heard about what had happened to me, they rallied round, and upheld Joyce and me in prayer. Messages of encouragement and hope flooded from all over. Though I was feeling desperately sick, I was greatly encouraged by this support and God prevailed over the science that had predicted that I was unlikely to survive. Since turning my life over to Jesus as a boy of 12 I have learned that he is completely trustworthy in every situation and that his plans for me in this life and the next are for the very best.