Dying to Win, Chapter 4 Divine Intervention
I had started praying for my husband to find God. It was two years into my journey when God answered my prayers, but not the way I expected. I became sick for nearly a year with an overactive thyroid; fatigue, anxiety and heart palpitations were my constant companions.
‘I can’t, honey. I’m sick’ was my catchcry to the kids. Theirs was, ‘Mummy, when are you ever going to get better?’
The thyroid was surgically removed eventually, but with four young children in tow, this took its toll on all of us, especially Nick. So God beautifully dismantled Nick’s neat and ordered life. God had to get Nick’s attention somehow! – Yvette
Our messes can be turned into masterpieces—with some Divine intervention.
Having a respectable job as an emergency department doctor, a wife, four healthy kids, a ski boat, and a nice house, I was not in the mood to search for any answers to life—it already seemed good enough. Getting more of the above seemed purpose enough to keep me happy.
But life is unpredictable, isn’t it?
Within a six-month period, my life seemed to unravel. Two colleagues at work started a witch hunt to ruin my reputation—a job loss would have invited the bank to relieve me of my treasured castle. At the same time, my wife decided after thirteen years of marriage that she needed extra loving. She became ill with an overactive thyroid gland and had legitimate needs. This was kind of scary because I hadn’t been holding any love back. She had all the love I had within me, yet it just wasn’t enough.
Just as my rock-solid life now threatened to capsize, an associate from Yvette’s church invited me to his home to listen to a learned man explain the Bible. I declined—I couldn’t think of anything worse! In my rebuff I told him I was in no mood for being Bible-bashed and would in all likelihood disband his group if I turned up. As this did not faze him, I reconsidered. Perhaps this could be a good place to dump some of my anger and humiliate some ignorant do-gooders.
On the first night there were about twenty people in the group. I didn’t listen to the scriptures as they were read, or the explanations given for the first three weeks. I was waiting for the final session where questions could be asked. I brought out all the impossible-to-answer questions in life, in order to humiliate the teacher and display his ignorance. I was angry. For three weeks I persisted in this, not once listening to his replies: in fact I was completely bemused that he even tried to answer my unanswerable questions.
By the fourth week, curiosity got the better of me and I listened. The speaker seemed to be claiming the most outlandish things. In particular, he claimed there was a spiritual place that was close to us. He said Jesus called it the ‘kingdom of God’, and said it was only a hand’s reach away. He said I could talk to Jesus, and because He was really there and really cared, Jesus would get back to me somehow.
This was an astounding claim to me. I thought religious people just prayed into the air, and nothing ever happened. I felt sure there was a God, but that He was beyond the outermost star at the end of the universe. So I’d planned to start my dealings with Him when I died and got transported there. How could God have anything to do with this life, with the here and now?
The teacher suggested I exercise a little faith and ask Jesus if He was there, and if He cared. My life’s plans seemed to be cascading down the toilet, so I couldn’t find a reason to avoid this challenge. This process took me five days.
On the first day, in the privacy of my own space, I started talking to Him as if He might be there. I wanted to know if He really was close, and whether He would get back to me. Part way through this I wondered if I might be going crazy. Was I too desperate because my life seemed to be falling apart?
I felt nothing, sensed nothing, but decided to keep an open mind, and be on the lookout for anything different in my world. The first day passed uneventfully, except that someone randomly approached me for help—not significant in itself, but different enough in my world for me to notice it.
The next day the same thing happened: someone randomly approached me, asking for help. This happened every day for four days. I didn’t know what it meant, just that it was unusual. I remember asking God if that was His answer to my prayer, but I didn’t sense any inward response.
On the fifth day, nothing unusual happened. At 10pm I was standing alone in a dark car park, staring up at the stars after a hard-fought game of indoor soccer. I started having one of those internal conversations with myself. No one had approached me for help that day, and so I decided, out of desperation, that I had just been over-interpreting the previous unusual events.
I remember thinking that as nothing had happened that day, the other events couldn’t have been some kind of spiritual intervention by God, it was just life’s natural coincidences. While I was looking up at the stars, concluding that there really wasn’t any two-way interaction with God, a person appeared out of the darkness of the car park, came straight toward me, and asked me for help. I was stunned. This was too many events and the timing too amazing for me to explain. Something was going on.
And so my faith was born and God moved in. Like a new baby gazing into his parents’ eyes, I knew He was there, but had little understanding of what He was saying to me. As infants, when we spend time with our parents, we learn their language. Now I had a good reason to spend time praying, because it was the way
I communicated with the Father of all life, my heavenly Father. He had been waiting, so close, only a hand’s breadth away, behind the veil in the spiritual realm.
God responds when His kids start praying from the heart.
As God reaches out, it may cause some unsettling in your life.
God loves a heartfelt prayer, so don’t give up, and keep asking until real faith has started.
Accept being a newborn.
Just like a brand-new baby, it’s enough for us just to know that He’s there and He cares at the beginning. As we grow, we’ll know Him more.
Can you soften your heart and start asking Him, ‘Are you there, and do you care?’