It was my grand daughter Eilish’s birthday on the thirteenth of March. She was five years old. She is an inquisitive little girl. She asked me “Why is your hair white? It is dark in the photographs.” She lives in Slovakia and calls our home “The Irish House”.
I remember well the day she was born.
I had just come back from visiting one of our sons in hospital in Glasgow. He had contacted a infection while playing football. He grazed his shin and thought nothing of it. But he developed a fever and was rushed to hospital and needed intensive care to combat an infection he had. I flew over to see him. I wanted to pray for him for God to heal him.
When I visited him he was quite happy and oblivious to any danger he may have been in. Some friends, the Bowers, let me stay with them and they encouraged and prayed with me for my son.
When I got back to Belfast I stopped off at my daughter’s home for a cup of coffee and let her know how my trip had been. She shared with me a dream she had the previous night. She dreamt I had died. She was upset and I reassured her I was okay. But I wasn’t okay. I was bleeding and I was getting worse. My son being sick upset me as well.
Then the phone rang. It was another son to tell me his wife had started in labour and was on her way to the hospital. We prayed for a safe delivery for mum and baby. We got news later that the new mum was rushed into theatre when she arrived at the hospital and had a Caesarian Section to deliver the baby. Something serious had gone wrong and mother and baby’s life were in danger. But Praise to God he preserved their lives. They were traumatised but mum and baby were alive.
I began to realise we were under attack from our enemy Satan. He was trying to take my son’s life, my daughter in law’s and my grandchild’s life and I wasn’t feeling too well myself. But he didn’t succeed. Six weeks later I was diagnosed with cancer. More suffering. How much more could I endure? I was weak and feeling hopeless. I couldn’t fight any longer. It is when we are helpless God moves.
We came through many trials in the springtime of 2010.
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.”
People often ask why they have to suffer. Will we just believe in God when times are good, when he is blessing us? Going through trials makes our faith strong. When we see Jesus, who went through horrible suffering when he was whipped, pierced, bruised, and crucified for us, it will give us courage to continue to believe and hope in his help to bring us through our suffering and heal us on the other side.
“So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT)
God preserved my life and my children’s life from death. I am able to say God is good and merciful. He is faithful to care for us as we obey him. I have joy instead of sorrow and crying. I now don’t look at the suffering but I hope in the joy after we suffer a little while, until God brings the answers to our prayers.
Psalm 91 says God will be with us in trouble and deliver us out of it.
Are you going through pain or despair at the moment? Are you hoping for God’s promise to you being fulfilled and it looks impossible for that promise to come about. Be patient in your trials. Your faith is being tested. Will you still believe God or give up and doubt and have unbelief? He will give you strength to go through and come through to the other side. May your hope in God’s help be renewed.