‘It’s for you, Nancy, your mum.’
What bleak news would she have for me that couldn’t wait until after school? Another dead guppy!
Don’t let her negativity steel your joy.
‘The ambulance took Kathy away on Monday morning. I can’t make sense of what Dave said….’
Wearing your hearing aid would help, Mum!
I raised my voice against the growing hubbub of the class; making the most of my divided attention.
‘That was five days ago! Why didn’t you call me straight away?’
‘I didn’t want to worry you. I think it was a blood clot in the brain. Nothing serious.’
Nothing serious! Honestly, sometimes I could wring my mother’s neck!
Find the joy!
In the privacy of the school car park I leant against the hot steering wheel.
Please don’t take her, Father. Give her another chance to come to know you.
Give me words of wisdom and comfort for Dave. I feel so inadequate in the face of his antagonism to my faith. Fill me with your Spirit.
Take away the fear that is gnawing at my stomach – fear of yet another rejection – and continue to fill me with the joy that in the midst of sorrow and uncertainty passes all understanding.
I arrived in the city without a memory of how I got there.
Thank you for your angels watching over me.
Eventually I found a parking spot, fed the meter and scanned the sky. Those clouds hadn’t been there when I left work. Odd formation for this time of the year, just that patch broiling away.
That is where the battle rages for your sister-in law. Satan would have her, but I will not let her go.
I love my brother deeply. Seven years my senior he was the one that protected me, played with me, let me sit on his stomach and tickle him. He was the one that bought joy, however fleeting, into my dreary childhood.
And then, when I was thirteen, a sword came between us shattering our friendship, smothering his love.
The Father gathered me into His arms and my brother turned away. Not just turned away but washed his hands of me.
That’s why moments like this were difficult. I had to be extremely careful what I said so that I didn’t alienate him and cause him to abhor Christians and their God even more.
My steps slowed as I entered the hospital foyer. Institutional green walls, drab tiles, nurses grown distant with the familiarity of suffering.
I can’t do this. If I talk about you it will only distance us more….
Eventually I found him, slumped on a bench, disheveled head bowed; drinking deeply at the well of grief. Kate was in a coma, undergoing yet another CAT scan.
I sat and tentatively held his calloused hand.
‘I was just about to leave for work, I’d been delayed by something, I forget now and Kate…. Kate passed out. It was incredible the ambulance was there within minutes and they got here in record time.’
Do I say something about what a wonderful provision that was from You?
‘I won’t let her go. I can’t imagine life without her. She has to survive, she’s all that I have.’
Wait. Wait. Wait.
Pray with him?
‘I’d like to pray for Kate. Do you mind if I do?’
‘Can’t do any harm.’
I put my arms around his broad shoulders and held him tight.
‘Father, you know how much Dave loves Kate. Please look after her. Give her body the strength to fight this aneurism and her spirit the courage to live. Grant the doctors and nurses who care for her the wisdom they need to bring her back to full health. Help us to be patient and trust in You. In Jesus name, Amen.’
Dave drew in a deep shuddering breath as I released him.
‘I didn’t expect you to pray out loud, here, in the hospital.’
I rejoiced that for once his voice was free of malice.
We sat in fragile silence, until I had to go home to my husband and my children.
Crossing the park to the car I sought that spot in the sky where the clouds has broiled. It was now clear.
My heart swelled within me that I’d been able to share some tiny part of my faith with my brother and that he had received it gracefully. Kate would pull through and, in His time, my Father would become their Father.
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