It was about 12:50am on the wee hours of Thursday morning. It had been a near-perfect day up until that point. I had finally closed a property deal after several frustrating months. Things were looking up. My wife and I had said our prayers and I was drifting off to sleep. That was when in an instant, all hell broke loose.
I cannot go into the details of the injury I sustained so unexpectedly but suffice it to say that it was scary, painful and potentially life-threatening. Being a pharmacist, I applied some first-aid using an ice-pack and some anti-inflammatory painkillers. In hindsight, that single act probably made a whole lot of difference because the swelling was less than it should have been, making it less likely to become a complicated health issue in the long run.
After about 30 minutes of applying first-aid and praying together, my wife and I took a decision to seek emergency medical help. Anyone who knows Nigeria well, knows that it is unfortunately not a place that greatly values emergency services. We drove from one hospital to the next, only to be told they couldn’t take me in. At about 2:15am, we finally found a 24-hr hospital and I registered immediately and saw the doctor. Unfortunately, he was very young and inexperienced. He looked annoyed for having had to wake up and attend to me even though he was on call! He suggested we go back home and wait till morning to see a specialist in that health area.
The next morning, at about 9:30am, we set out to find a specialist. We quickly found out that there was a dearth of such specialists in Nigeria. Most of the top hospitals didn’t have one and we were quite surprised and perplexed. Panic was going to set in but I kept that at bay by continually praising God and trusting Him to heal me completely. After some frustrating trips to hospitals, I had an idea to do a simple google search on my smartphone and within seconds, we got the directions to a specialist clinic very close to where we were driving past at the time.
We got into the clinic and registered as usual. We were informed that the consultant only came into the clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I was either lucky or highly favoured, depends on how you want to see it. We waited for about an hour before I went in to see the specialist. After our discussion and his physical examination of the injury, I knew I was speaking with a true expert and that really calmed me down. He concluded that I only needed rest, painkillers and a course of antibiotics for about a week and everything would be fine. We shook hands and I went back to the waiting room to meet my wife and wait for us to be picked up. However, after about 15 minutes, I was told the consultant wanted to re-examine me. I thought it was unusual but went back inside. He did a different kind of physical examination and based on my reaction, he concluded very confidently that I had to have emergency surgery within 24hrs! I believe this was another miracle because if I had left the clinic without a re-examinaton, the outcome of the natural healing process would have led to unwanted complications.
The ride back home was a rather somber one. My family and I were contemplating those scary words the consultant spoke: “you’ll need to have emergency surgery”. Knowing my medical history, the implications of such a surgery going wrong would be disastrous. My parents were very reluctant for me to have the surgery. They demanded a second opinion. Outwardly, my newly wedded wife was calm, strong and supportive but can you imagine what emotions and fears she must have been battling on the inside? Barely one month has gone by since we tied the knot and here she finds herself preparing her mind to see her spouse being put under the knife under general anaesthesia! The stories we hear in Nigeria don’t make for very pleasant reading either. A lot of people die daily from not being able to wake up from routine operations. All these factors contributed to the fears and concerns expressed by my family but I had a peace in my heart. I had prayed about it and I knew that I had to do that surgery and that God was going to see me through it all.
It’s true that there is tremendous power released through agreement prayer but how many agree with me that there are certain prayers that can only be said alone. Some examples are Hannah’s prayer to God for a child, Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the prayer of Jabez. There are times when our soul comes to a place of total helplessness and we know in our heart of hearts that we need to reach somewhere deep down inside to call on God to deliver us. That was what I encountered on Thursday evening. After resolving in my heart to go ahead with the surgery, the next thing I had to do was to work on convincing my family that it was the right thing to do. It helped that I am a medical professional. More importantly, I asked God to strengthen their hearts for me. Whilst my wife made dinner for me, I was led into an unplanned session of prayer, worship, and warfare by the Holy Spirit. It was beautiful. When I was done, every shadow of doubt in my heart was gone. I knew everything was going to be okay.
The specialist had warned me that the swelling would get worse before it got better and that larger swellings made surgeries more difficult and complicated. So I asked God for a miracle. I asked Him to help my body defy the norm and cause the swelling to shrink rather than increase. My wife and I ended the night with a simple prayer of agreement and we slept blissfully. In the morning, we cracked jokes and felt very positive about the procedure I was about to undergo. My parents were still worried about the specialists change of mind about needing surgery so I went online to a neutral website and downloaded his profile. It turned out he was one of the best in that field, not only in Nigeria but in Africa! He had pioneered several complex procedures in the continent and was specialist to high profile individuals like former Presidents and the like. I counted it as another miracle. God had led us to the best with just a simple google search! However, just to pacify my parents, I spoke to another specialist whilst I was waiting my turn to be called into theatre. He not only concurred that I needed to do the surgery but also personally knew the specialist who was about to operate on me. That finally calmed my folk down and shortly after that I was called into theatre.
Eight years ago, I found myself in the same place in a hospital in Canterbury, Kent. I was alone. It was unexpected. The weather was cold and treacherous. I was told it was life-threatening. The main difference between that day and my most recent surgery was Christ. I didn’t know Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour in 2006 but I certainly knew Him better in 2014. Whilst I was trembling with fear in 2006, I was very calm and confident about the outcome of things in 2014. Christ had reassured me in my heart that He would see me through. And even if He decided to end my journey on earth, I was certain I would spend eternity with Him in heaven. I didn’t have such an assurance in 2006. If your life were to end today, do you know where you will spend eternity? This is a very important question you must ask yourself. It made all the difference during my surgery.
When the anaesthesia wore off, it took me about 2hrs to regain some energy and be led to the car that took me home to rest and recuperate. The surgery was a success and even more so because the swelling had miraculously reduced rather than increase as it would normally do. My pain levels were also miraculously low. I was given some strong painkillers but I could honestly do without them. It’s a miracle that I can walk about and do most things for myself. My recovery is happening at blistering speed and if you saw me today, you wouldn’t believe I just underwent major surgery.
What the enemy intended for bad, God turned it around for my good. He wanted to instil fear in my heart but now I have a deeper trust in God. He wanted to sow seeds of discouragement in my fresh marriage but this has only served to draw my wife and I closer through prayer and her selfless care of me. He wanted to destabilise my family and rob us of our peace but together, we have overcome the devil and secured the deliverance of the Lord through praise and thanksgiving. Murmuring and complaining are far from our tent because our past experiences in God have taught us better.
Like the Psalmist said in Psalm 144:7,9 – Reach down Your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me…I will sing a new song to You, O God.
As I look back at my life and recall the numerous situations God has delivered me from, I find that a new song emerges from my heart from every new deliverance. By song, I don’t mean a literal song but rather, a new depth of knowledge in God, a new fondness of Him in my heart, a new revelation of His love, a new level of trust in Him and so on. In this particular case, God reminded me through His Holy Spirit that greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.
I wonder what the next song of deliverance will be for me. I wonder what new song will emerge from your heart as God takes you through the next life challenge. Whatever it is, remember brethren: “Greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world”.
I am still recovering from my surgery on Friday. I was given two weeks to fully recover but I am not prepared to wait until then to begin singing my new song of deliverance. Thank You Jesus for healing me once again.