25 Jul Though I Walk Through the Valley..
It’s a warm, quiet night in May.
My hubby and I are away from home, having made our escape from the offspring for a few nights. Our address is a beautiful cottage in North Coast, Mombasa, where we’re holidaying with friends – two other couples who’ve likewise come away for some R & R.
It’s been four glorious days – cocktails, beach walks, late-night dinners at touristy hotels and hearty laughter, way into the night.
It’s been almost heavenly for these six worn-out parents, who between them are raising a feisty brood of almost a dozen kids.
But tonight is our last, in this beautiful coastal town, and though sad to leave, we’re all looking forward to seeing our kids in the next few hours.
All is set – just one last breakfast together and we’re off.
I’m newly Spirit-filled meanwhile, the only born-again Christian in the group, but I’ve managed to tuck in some refreshing time alone with the Lord.
But that night, as my husband and I are sleeping, I have a dream.
In this dream, I see a stack of books – large, stately books, bound in what appears to be expensive maroon and gold material. They are voluminous and heavy, stacked one on top of the other, and are in a dark room, with nothing else in sight.
As I gaze at these books, I hear a voice. It is soft and malevolent, but clear, and speaks right into my ear.
“I will prepare you for ministry!” the voice says.
I wake up instantly, but the dream stays with me much of the day, the scathing malevolence of the voice lingering in my spirit.
We get home later that day, and as we sit down to watch TV, I realize that something is terribly wrong – I can’t see out of my left eye. All that is visible is a black, strangely shaped film, almost completely obscuring my sight. For a moment, I think the black is on the TV, and I quickly glance around, holding one hand over my right eye to confirm. But no, it is definitely in my eye.
I’m terrified, instantly recognizing the moment. This is the work of the enemy, that vicious, malevolent voice that visited in the night.
I’m in a battle.
I’m almost out of my wits, but strangely, even in that state, I know exactly what to do.
I say nothing to my husband, but determine to spend the next day in prayer, before I see a doctor. I sense in my spirit that the diagnosis will not be good, and I need to know the Lord’s stand on this matter, before I hear anything from a medic.
So the next day, a Monday, I spend the whole day alone at home, in deep prayer. I sit at the feet of the Lord, crying desperately out to Him in the silence of my home. I seek Him earnestly and deeply, but in response, He lets me know deep within my spirit that this will be a journey.
So I plead for strength for whatever is to come, and for Him to help me not to fear.
Tuesday comes, and I sit calmly before an Ophthalmologist, a lady, as she examines my eye. She’s chirpy and friendly at first, but I watch as a frown slowly begins to crease her brow.
“Something’s not right,” she mutters.
A test follows, and then another, and another. Finally, she picks up the phone and personally books an appointment with another doctor, two floors below her office. He is more qualified than she is, she explains, and though he strictly sees patients only on appointment, she has persuaded him to see me immediately.
So I make my way downstairs, praying fervently with each step. I’m fearful, but I know that the Lord will not leave me. Though my flesh trembles, my spirit is firm.
I get to his office and wait a bit at the reception, before an assistant beckons me in. Then I continue to pray silently, as he moves me from one examining machine to another, his face more and more perplexed with each move. He is professional and kind, and does his best, but in the end he also gives up.
“My colleague has more experience in this area,” he says finally. “His diary is full, but I will book you for tomorrow, as long as you can come in early enough to be first.”
I go home to a terror-filled night, but I keep praying. I pray like I have never done in my life, Brethren.
The following morning, I am the first in the new doctor’s office, but when he arrives I discover, to my surprise, that I know him.
I knew him way back in high school, and remember him as a studious, mature student. He seemed to have it all together, while the rest of us teenagers were going through our chaotic years.
We chat amiably as he examines my eye, catching up on our high-school years. I relax in his quiet, confident presence, and the fact that he is so highly regarded makes me even more at ease.
And he is a Christian, I discover, much to my joy.
But the news is not good, as he is unable to properly diagnose my problem. He orders tests, seventeen in all – twelve will be sent to South Africa and five to UK. I can then see him on Saturday, he says.
I spend the next three days nervously noting the black film in my eye get darker. And by Saturday, I can barely keep it open, because the disparity between the vision in my left and right eye causes me so much discomfort. I can barely keep my balance, and almost consider getting an eye patch to keep it shut.
And later that day, in the examination room, my heart sinks lower and lower, as my doctor friend rifles worriedly through my tests, trying to make sense of them.
“Even with all these results,” he says finally, “I still don’t know what to think. I don’t have a proper diagnosis.”
He seems very concerned, and I feel the same, though his verdict is no surprise to me. I have known all along that this will be a journey.
He takes a pen and begins to write out a prescription, but is honest enough to let me know that it will only treat the symptoms, as the cause of my affliction remains unknown.
I can see that he is hesitant to write it, so despite my fear, I ask him to stop.
Somewhat relieved, he agrees.
“This could cost me my profession,” he says, “but if you are willing to trust the Lord, so am I.”
And right there in his office, we hold hands and go together in agreement before the Lord. He prays a deep, heartfelt prayer, pleading with the Lord to take over where medical knowledge has failed.
And then, at the end of his prayer, he picks up the prescription and tears it into pieces.
I’m thoroughly moved by this unusual turn of events and even as I leave his office, I can almost feel the manifest presence of the Lord.
He is here.
And in the next few days, I’m greatly relieved to see the black film in my eye begin to fade. It is an extremely slow process however, and for several months I suffer very low vision.
In the end, it takes a year and a half for the film to completely disappear.
But more than seven years later, just a few days ago, my doctor friend and I took some very special moments to celebrate this story, and rejoice greatly in the Lord together.
For, though we were both unaware of it at the time, my appointment with him during that terrible affliction was most certainly an answer to prayer.
I stand amazed at the greatness of our God, Brethren.
Yea, though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me..