I have been wanting to write about something for a week or so but, at the same time, have been avoiding doing so because, I suspect, I want what I write to be deep, impacting, important and perfect. All these reasons are shallow and, sadly, will tell you more about me than I’m comfortable admitting.
This being the case, I’ll simply tell you that one of our daughters was taken ill recently with what turned out to be bacterial meningitis. Over five days, she complained of headaches and tiredness, running a fever and generally feeling unwell – nothing, as parents of four, we hadn’t seen and dealt with before. However, while she is usually the fittest of us all, she was definitely not herself and, by the evening of the fifth day, she was very drowsy and in great pain.
As I sat holding her late in the evening, I silently wondered what else I could do to make my child better. I recalled my own childhood illnesses and the soft promise of my Dad saying ‘if I could take it away, I would’ as he cuddled me, while my district nurse Mum took my temperature and gave me medicine. While grateful for my Mum’s knowledge and experience, like every kid I wanted whatever it was to go away and alwayshoped my Dad’s wish would come true.
As all this was swirling round my head, very quietly yet very clearly I heard my daughter say ‘Please pray for me, Daddy’. As I fulfilled her request, in that one moment, my life shifted irrevocably. As I prayed, I knew that without a shadow of a doubt my daughter was gravely ill and I shouted for my wife to call an ambulance. Secondly, I finally knew the raw enormity of a parent’s love for their child and the aching truth of the promises my Dad made all those years ago. Lastly and most importantly, in those five quiet words, I experienced the vast and humbling depth of my daughter’s faith, in her asking for prayer above all else.
Thankfully, she was diagnosed and treated promptly by the good folk at North Shore Hospital and then transferred into the equally good care of the The Rangitira facility at Waitakere Hospital. Within three days, she was sent home with an IV drip and daily visits from the home care nurse and discharged three days after that. For all the exemplary medical care and the expertise of the doctors, I take most comfort from knowing that He not only watches over us but that he answers prayers – even from broken sinners like me.