Paul Baines| @ICFWriters
Thinking of something to write for this blog has been the toughest thing I have had to do all week, and it's been one of those weeks.
I am still drawing a blank, so I will do what I always do when I don't know what to write: start writing.
To be honest, I haven't written much in over a year now. When my wife fell ill my life went into a strange twilight zone in which everything I knew and believed was turned upside down.
For most of my Christian life I have followed the "prayer warrior" mentality. This was my wife's influence. When she started taking her faith seriously just before we got married she attended the Durban Christian Centre with Fred Roberts and Kim Clement, where they taught the principles of spiritual warfare.
While sorting through my wife's possessions recently I found her stack of prayer journals. It is all prayer warrior stuff: pleading the blood of Jesus, binding the enemy, bringing down spiritual strongholds.
As a couple, our prayers were always very directed. A problem arose and we would pray for a distinct solution. A need came up and we would pray to receve whatever it was we lacked. It was all very specific.
So when my wife was taken into hospital and we were told there was no hope, you would imagine my prayers were as directed as usual. Actually, the opposite happened. I simply handed it all to God. If I prayed anything it was "Lord, you take control" or simply "help."
I let go.
A lot happened at once in those final weeks. I handed in notice at my work, gave notice on the house, and faced the daunting prospect of getting my seriously ill wife from mainland Europe to the UK. I did not even know if we were fully covered by our health insurance. For all I knew, I was facing a huge hospital bill. I was now unemployed, had very little in the bank, and had no idea how I was going to move my wife back home along with a house full of stuff collected over 16 years.
It was too much for the "prayer warrior" approach. All I could do was hand it over, and trust.
Sure I got busy praying for healing, but that was something I could aim at. The rest was too big. Before I handed it all over, I felt like I was drowning. After I gave it to God, I had a strange, almost fatalistic, peace. Nothing mattered. Nothing I could do would change anything. God was in charge. His will be done.
Looking back, I can see miracle after miracle as every single problem was solved. It was like having the best personal assistant in the world.
A support worker at the hospital spent hours on the telephone with the insurance company until they assured him that they would not only cover all hospital bills but would ship my wife to a hospice of our choosing in the UK by air ambulance. The house rental agency agreed to a one month notice period (it had been a year when we moved in). The landlord said that we could take our time with the move and even helped me with the packing. My work situation changed for the better.
It was a big lesson for me as a Christian. These days I still have a few specific prayers but, for the most part, it is a more general plea for help. God knows what is wrong, what needs doing, and how to do it.
After all, we are His children. When our own kids get into a mess, they don't ask us for specifics. They don't say "Mum/Dad, I spilled ink all over the carpet. Please call the cleaning company and find their best price for removing the stain using the perfect equipment."
No, they simply say "Mum/Dad I dropped the ink. Please help."
Maybe kids are onto something there.