God What Shall I Do
by Phyllis Inniss
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God, What Shall I do?
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:7)
I was in the deepest sleep one Saturday night in October. How did I feel the presence of my son? I just opened my eyes and there he was standing by my bed, a pained expression on his face.
“What’s the matter?” I asked, unable to control my anxiety..
“Mummy, I don’t feel well.” This was the first time in all his six years that I am hearing Noel complain of not feeling well. A sudden fear overcame me.
“Come under the covers with me”, as I helped him onto the bed next to me. It is a chilly autumn night in London.
My son was heaving, his chest rising and falling in short spasms. I knew I mustn’t panic, but I just couldn’t think straight. “Dear God, I prayed, don’t let anything happen to my son. He’s all I have.” “What shall I do?” I asked myself. It was the first time I had found myself in this predicament. Noel was always in good health, just the usual cold that children pick up now and then. When he was younger his father from whom I was now divorced was always there to check on any nocturnal discomforts our son might be experiencing. They were always minor ones. This one, however, could be serious.
I couldn’t phone the doctor. I had given up my phone because of the indiscretion of a close relative. My neighbors in flat 7 had recently moved. They adored Noel. Mrs. Brauder in flat 6 was at her sister’s, and Barbara in Flat 5 was away for the weekend. The last two each had a key to my flat. At one o’clock in the morning, I couldn’t very well leave my son in the house to go to a phone booth. It would not have been safe to leave him ill, alone in the house, and it would have been too risky for me to be out alone at that time of the night. My car was at the mechanic’s, so I couldn’t bundle him up in warm blankets and get him downstairs to the car and go to the nearest hospital. “God, what shall I do?” What a predicament!
My head didn’t feel too good at that moment. I could only think of a jar of Vicks Vaporub that was in the medicine cabinet. Thankfully, Noel had already dropped off to sleep, his chest still rising and falling. He had a slight temperature. I eased off the bed to get the Vicks and saw that there was a little bottle of Junior Aspirins and, looking further, I spotted a small phial of eucalyptus oil. I rubbed his chest and throat with the eucalyptus oil. Perhaps it was the smell of the oil that made him open his eyes, so I took the opportunity to turn him over and rubbed his back as well. All the time I was praying that God would not let this problem develop into anything more serious.. Up to that time, I didn’t really know what was wrong. I had had no real experience with illness before. I then tried to get him to take one of the aspirins. He was feeling too ill to fuss.
I lay on my back wondering what course of action I should take. What was the best thing to do. I didn’t seem to have much choice, but to wait it out. Angry thoughts came flooding my mind. His father was never there when Noel needed him. Not that I wanted him back in my life, but I knew how much Noel missed him. This always made me sad. The two of them had had such a beautiful relationship until things started going wrong. The tears started welling up, as I prayed to God to get me over this trial. I slept fitfully, raising my head every now and then to look at his face and putting my hand on his chest to check for any slowing down of the heaving.
Next morning bright and early I was up. Thankfully, he was not worse.. I couldn’t discern any improvement. When he awoke I asked:
“:How do you feel, son? Better?”
“A little,” he replied peevishly.
He drank only half a cup of his hot chocolate, his favorite morning drink.
I put on my coat and told him I was just going to the phone booth to call the doctor. I hurried. The doctor was not in. He was expected back later that day. I left a message to say how urgent it was that he visit. I waited all day for the doctor to come, but he did not put in an appearance. It was Sunday. He could be anywhere. I was really angry at the whole situation. Did the doctor return? Did he get the message? A number of thoughts came to mind, but they were not helping.
“Dear God what shall I do?” What I did do was I kept praying. It seemed to be all I could do in the circumstances.
The following morning, Monday, I noticed that the heaving had subsided a bit. Noel’s skin was slightly warm, not enough to be alarmed about. I went downstairs and called on Barbara to let me use her phone. The doctor was not at home, neither was he in office. I left a message at his office. He usually visited his private patients during the day and from six p.m. he would go to his office where a crowd of patients on the National Health Service would be waiting. Barbara came up with me to visit my patient who was quite happy to see her and who did not seem quite as poorly as when he gave me that scare. I knew, however, he wasn’t well enough yet.
After a few quick morning ablutions, a change of clothes and some breakfast (He still did not have much of an appetite), I brought some of his favorite toys on the bed and made him promise to stay there as he wasn’t quite better. I went into the kitchen to carry out my chores. I had spent most of the day before with him, keeping him company and praying for the doctor to come. He was our general practitioner so I expected him to come.
That night Noel’s dad showed up. I was relieved to see him. Another contact who should be able to help. He listened to what I had to say and how unsuccessful I was in getting the doctor to come. He promised to contact Dr. Pitt himself. About two hours later Dr. Pitt showed up. He examined my son. When I asked what was wrong, he said it could have been a bronchial problem or an onset of an asthma attack. Giving him the junior aspirin and rubbing him down with the eucalyptus oil probably prevented it from developing into something more serious. I complained that I had been trying to get him long before. I was really mad when the doctor told me that he had seen my ex earlier in his office and had asked about Noel. He said our son was alright and Dr. Pitt mentioned the message that he had received from me. I realized then why Noel’s daddy appeared when he did.
The doctor, of course, gave me a prescription and soothed my fears. Noel would be alright. This experience was significant for me. It made me realize that I must trust God in all things. “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.” He showed me that the absence of phone, car, neighbors, ex-husband made me rely solely on Him. I need not have been anxious about anything; prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving were all I needed to receive that peace which passes all understanding.
My prayer for my son was answered and I used this opportunity to talk to my son about God and the importance of prayer and to let him hear me thank God whenever something good happened after we prayed.
Written by Phyllis Inniss
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A very personal and loving story. Yes, God is always nearby waiting to hear from us. Your stories are always meaningful. RLP
God is in all situations. I believe He gave you divine wisdom to administer the rub and asprin. He was in control the whole time. He is never late, always right on time.
i love your honesty in this one...and the way you told the story. i too have had similar times of having to trust and unknown future to a known god...TRUST-Truly Resting Under Spirits Teachings.....please keep sharing your faith with us, it inspires us and helps us all to know we are on the same learning curves with Jesus...blessings kazza..