Many readers of this blog will have read Christopher's story from my perspective, this is Christopher's story of the operation in 2005, and all that followed from his perspective- he sent it to me last night- and it made me cry! He is using his experiences as the basis for a testimony style sermon.
Posted with permission.
This is the story of my hospital experiences from three years ago, the things that disturbed me when I was unable to sleep, and what happened in the times following. I would think about Isaiah 40:30-31:
"Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength: They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." (Isaiah 40:30-31)
which was my baptism verse, received even before I knew I was having the operation, however it didn’t seem to work, and when I did sleep I had nightmares because of the effects all the drugs were having on me. Where was the Glory of God in this? This sickness will not end in death I was told but at times I wished it would!!!
While I was in hospital I would lie in bed look down and all I would see is a massive hole through my left leg. I had an external pacemaker hanging out of my chest with Duracell batteries attached to it. When I woke up all I would hear was the sound of the machine beeping telling everyone that my heart was still beating and the sound of the respirator doing my breathing for me. (I still sometimes hear these noises when I wake up in the morning and I have to get out of bed and look around to make sure I'm not in hospital) where was the Glory of God in this?
I remember constantly coughing up blood clots, I had a tube in my chest to drain away all the fluid in my lungs, I couldn't eat food or swallow water I had to suck water off sponges and I have a memory of having to be defibulated while I was still awake because my heart had stopped! My physiotherapy consisted of being able to sit upright in a chair for as long as possible, I couldn't sit up straight without someone holding me up and when I did have the strength to walk I had to use a Zimmer frame. Where was the Glory of God in this?
If you read the Book of Psalms there are so many accounts of David calling out to the Lord and complaining; however despite his sorrow he was still able to see the Glory of God and write about it. Even in his moaning he was able to talk of the glory of God. He maybe didn't describe it as such but it's easy to see that he was able to see God working. It can be easy to miss the good and focus on all that is bad. I know I praise God when all is well but when things seem to be going against me I complain at him.
There is so much more of the bad stuff I could talk about BUT because at the time that is what I focused on I failed to see where the Glory of God was. I was expecting what always happens with me to happen. I was expecting a miraculous healing demonstrating to the doctors and the nurses the immense power and glory of God. Because of this I missed what God was trying to show me.
Looking back it's easier to see. Gods' glory was revealed through the strangers from the church across the road from the hospital who came to see me. It was in the Chief executive of Norwich Union who let my parents use his house to stay in so they didn't have to travel in and out of London everyday. This guy who when he planned a formal dinner would invite Tony Blair, came to my bed to sit and talk with me and joke with me. This is where Gods Glory was!!
It was in the hospital Chaplin who everyday would come and pray for me and read the bible to me. It was in all the cards I received from friends and all the churches in the circuit and the others that I had been to in the past, but also in the cards I received from complete strangers who had somehow heard about me. There was not one day except possibly Sunday when the post isn't delivered that I did not receive a card. This is where the Glory of God was!!
But I didn't see it!! I was too angry to see it and I stayed that way for almost a year. My response to this anger was to go down to the pub I wasn't there every night but I was generally down there 3 or 4 times a week and I would never leave sober. One night I drank an entire bottle of whisky!
It wasn't until I got my canoe that things changed. It was very strange because as soon as I got out on the water everything seemed to fade into the background. All I saw was blue seas and blue skies and the sun would reflect off the water and everything was just calm and as I looked around I couldn't help but see the glory of God. Even on a stormy day it was good because the waves would be crashing around me and I'd be getting soaked but beauty in the colour of the sea and the clouds. In the same way I would canoe into the sun I'd canoe against the wind and the canoe would launch up off the water and nose dive into the wave and water would spray all over me, and in this I felt completely surrounded by God.
In the psalm it is easy to relate with the author, because God is glory and God is everywhere and in everything. However it can be so subtle that we don't notice it. This is show in the gospels he didn't arrive as a conquering hero he arrived as a man. He preached and healed people and constantly did miracles which demonstrated the glory of God but his full glory was show through his death and resurrection. Although it is sometimes hard to see God working through all the hard work and pain of life the one place it can always be seen is in Jesus.
Ever since the summer I got the canoe and focused back on photography I've sensed God's presence. I believe that in every photo I take I am capturing the smallest amount of the glory of God.
Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God (John 11:40 )