The doctor took a lot longer than usual to view the results of my colonoscopy. Eventually he swung around and blurted out, “You have cancer.”
Two things happened instantaneously: I ‘saw’ a massive steel door slam shut and I became aware of a deep peace and total lack of any fear.
In the ten days between the diagnosis and the operation, this supernatural peace persisted as I found myself praising the Lord and worshipping Him for His goodness in the midst of what was happening. This was not a spiritual strategy or method but a genuine spontaneous outpouring from the heart. I never asked Him for anything.
Somehow I knew that my part was just to receive from my Father.
It would be easy to assume then that my operation and recovery would run like clockwork but this was not to be the case. My stay in hospital lengthened from five days to two weeks. I was moved from one ward to another as complications arose. The doctors were flummoxed and deeply concerned. Still I felt no fear. Although there was severe pain, it was as though I viewed it from a distance and whatever traumas I went through, the Lord kept removing them.
Being in hospital for two weeks meant that quite a few nurses were involved with my care. Here, another amazing thing happened to me: I found myself overwhelmed by a love for them; a love that far surpassed any that I would naturally feel. I noticed that they would sometimes gather inside my room and just stand around my bed. I believe they were drawn to the love of God for them that they sensed there.
There was one nurse who was just plain mean. To everyone, including me. One day I engaged her in conversation, asking her about her family. I found myself in the grip of a love for her I could not fathom as she spoke of her child, so far away. Her face softened and she smiled as she spoke of her.
“You have a lovely smile,” I told her, “I bet your child is beautiful like you.”
That night I awoke in the early hours and found her sitting by my bedside watching over me with a tender look on her face. I noticed that her attitude to others shifted too.
But it was in the isolation ward where my greatest moments happened.
As I lay there peacefully, watching the trees move gracefully outside the windows, I sensed the vivid Presence of the Lord. It was as though He was standing at my shoulder, talking to me.
He told me of His great love for me. And for every person. I literally felt both His immeasurable love for those who do not yet know that they are so loved by Him, and His passion for them to hear.
And He spoke of us, His Church, being His vessel…
“I need you, I need My Church to tell them, to show them..
His passion gripped me.
The urgency too.
He gave me a taste of what His love in us could do as I remembered the nurses, gathering in my room, coming to where His love was experienced.And I remembered the transformed nurse who watched over me as I slept, changed by His love flowing out of me to her.
How amazing to be shown the effective working of the love of God, even before He spoke His heart to me in that isolation ward!
And what a privilege to be invited into this mission of making His divine love known.