At one time, my father was very ill with a case of H1N1 (2009 strain) and severe pneumonia. On the morning of 10 February 2015, my father was admitted in Mt Elizabeth Novena hospital. He had been unwell in the few days preceding the 10th, he – and we – concluded that he had stomach flu.
By afternoon, he started to have breathing difficulties and the oxygen level in the blood started to fall dangerously. At 3pm, the doctors decided that he should be put on a ventilator – a machine does that the work of your lungs, while waiting for a formal diagnosis and for things to improve. At this stage, you are termed to be on ‘life support’ and in very critical condition. My mother sent a message that read, “Pa will be sedated now. Josh and I have prayed with Pa, he says he will be alright. Pa trusts Jesus.”
That evening, Jill (my wife) and I attended the prayer meeting at the Princess Theatre. After prayer, we decided that I should return to support my family and in case Pa passes on. When I boarded the flight at 0230 hours, I inquired of the Lord, “Am I going home to visit my father or to arrange his funeral?”
On the morning of the third day upon arriving at hospital, the nurse advised that I should talk to Pa to encourage him and to tell him I had flown home to see him – at this time he was heavily sedated. Whether he could hear us or not was inconsequential, I had seen him still in the land of the living. I (on behalf of siblings) said, ”Pa, we are here to see you. If it is tough and you’re struggling, don’t fight on. You must call Lord Jesus, He is able to keep you until that Day, we will meet again on the morning of the Resurrection!” (2 Tim 1:2)
Day 4 (12 February 2015 – the worst day). I turned up at the hospital at 11am, there was very bad news. His heart had started to fail, evidenced by falling blood pressure. Cardiologist says that I should inform my family. The Spirit posed me these questions – If he is taken, can you still praise God? Will we still call ‘Abba Father’? Now this is a good and tough question, because there will come a time when every Christian will ask ourselves this question and we would do well to ponder it now than later.
To cut the long story short, things began to turn for the better after Day 4; he would spend a further 14 days in ICU and a further 4 days in a normal ward – total of 22 days in hospital – before being discharged. He is now well and with a renewed sense of purpose and hope in his life. I understand that many of us stood in the gap in prayer, supplication and thanksgiving and intercession (Philippians 4:6), my family is indebted to you. I have no doubt that this battle is won on our knees when we come into the place of humility. (James 4:6)
On a sidenote, in one of the neighboring wards in ICU, there was a lady 50 years old (in contrast, my father is 65) and a committed Christian. From morning till night, scores of people came to intercede for her including many young people. She died, leaving her husband and two teenage children. While there was grief, her obituary in the papers read – Perfect submission, All is at rest – a fitting line from Fanny Crosby’s hymn Blessed Assurance.
Thankfully for us it ended well, for reasons unbeknown except to say God’s ways – and grace – are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9) and that as God’s children, we should not resent the chastisement of the Lord (Proverbs 3:11-12).
Elevate S4, St Lucia Morning Service