Life can change in an instant. It did for me. One day I was happily playing my fifth set of tennis when my back started to feel sore. I didn’t fall or do anything dramatic. As I didn’t want to let the others down I continued to play the set. By the time I arrived home I was in agony, but concluded I’d be fine after a hot bath. Thankfully I didn’t know then what was to come.
When in a few days the back felt worse I went to the doctors who sent me for physio. What started as a back pain turned into months of me being immobilised as pain spread from my back all down both legs to my toes. Physio provided at best temporary relief for a few hours.
My church organised a prayer vigil. People joined a roster and committed to pray for me throughout each day and night. My daughter’s church was also praying and I had the prayer support of online Christian friends in Australia and overseas. So why wasn’t God answering this wave of prayer?
I not only couldn’t play tennis, I couldn’t get to church, sit at the computer or write. Everything I loved doing had been taken away from me. My minister and elders came and prayed over me with the laying on of hands. Peace filled my heart. I had no doubt God would answer. That night I had the best night’s sleep for months. Next day the pain returned and kept on and on. In despair I cried out to God.
My doctor arranged for me to see a neurosurgeon. His suggested a spinal operation, taking six hours. If it went wrong, I could end up paralysed. The thought filled me with fear. But I also knew I couldn’t go on as I was.
Knowing I love owls, a dear friend made me this cute little owl as a reminder that people were praying for me. Barnabette, the encourager owl, stayed with me.
As I entered the hospital I felt at peace, assured I was covered by prayers of so many. The day after the surgery the doctor allowed me to get up. From that point I began doing laps of the hospital. My operation was on Tuesday. To the amazement of all I went home three days later. That was in September 2011.
When I saw the doctor in May 2012 he pronounced the op a huge success. He didn’t need to see me anymore. I told him, ‘No offence, but I hope I don’t see you either.’ He laughed.
I will never play tennis again. It’s too risky. I can live with that restriction, as I can walk and stand. I’m back leading the singing at church, and writing.
Throughout those months of pain my husband and I learned more about God, our church and how important the prayers of others are. We re-established something that had been lacking for a while, a prayer and bible reading time together to start each day. It has become an invaluable time together and a great blessing.
Looking back many blessings came from the painful experience. While I wasn’t healed miraculously by believing prayer and the laying on of hands, I was healed equally as miraculously through sustained prayer and God’s choice of the right skilled surgeon.
The day I walked back into church after a five month absence, I was overwhelmed with love and a sense of gratitude to those who had faithfully prayed and supported us and to the mighty God who healed me, though in a different way to how I expected.
Streets on a Map by Dale Harcombe can currently be purchased from the books page of Dale’s website http://daleharcombe.com/books.
Ark House press
You can also buy it by typing Dale Harcombe into Amazon http://www.amazon.com/
At present Streets on a Map is only available in print version but later this year I hope an E book version of Streets on a Map will be available.
Website is www.daleharcombe.com