The past two weeks have been pretty challenging ones. Dad was discovered to have a life-threateningly low heart rate of 36 when we took him in for his regular appointment with his geriatrician. She insisted on warding him immediately. That night, his heart rate plummeted to 21 and his blood pressure took a gentle stroll downwards as well.
When I went to see him first thing the next morning, the young doctor attending to him had one of those chats with me that one hopes never to have to hear. Dad needed a pacemaker inserted, pronto. But the procedure came with attendant dangers because of his weak state, and I was basically told to prepare for the worst. A temporary pacemaker was inserted to tide us over till his scheduled procedure could be carried out. Just when I thought God had heard our prayers and was moving things along at a regular clip, Dad ran a fever that night. Another delay of a few more days as the doctors did all they could to minimise infection and post-surgery sepsis.
On one of those days, when I was feeling tired and demoralised after coming home from the hospital, my beloved said that a package had arrived for me from Zondervan. I was puzzled. I hadn’t ordered anything from them. Was told that it said “Gift” on the mail label. Can you imagine being so weary that a book gift didn’t excite you? I don’t think I would even have opened it if Soo-Inn hadn’t pushed me to. I’m glad I did. It was my friend Robin Jones Gunn’s latest book!
I could almost hear her speaking as I skimmed through the book…bubbly, eyes twinkling, 1,000-watt smile. But how could she have written so vividly about what I was going through?
…instead of inviting Faith and Hope to be my companions during the convalescence, I allowed Fear to make himself comfortable on the end of my bed where he peppered me with vile questions…. When Fear paused long enough to catch his breath, Doubt was right there beside him, ready to carry on the bedside vigil. [Victim of Grace: When God’s Goodness Prevails. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013), 23.]
As I read on and tasted vicariously the unrelenting grace that Robin had experienced from the Lord, I realised that I too was being ambushed by His grace. God knew I needed desperately to hear from Him, and He did it through my friend from across the Pacific.
But God didn’t stop there. My many friends in our little pond called Evangel Christian Church continued to ambush me with grace too.
It’s all unmerited favour…the friend who spent an afternoon keeping me company in the Coronary Care Unit; the ones who turned up with warm dinners for us; the pastor who quietly ministered His grace. What an amazing family to belong to.
Dad is now back at home with us, having had a successful permanent pacemaker inserted. We’re all taking little steps of adjustment so that he can get back to his normal routine again. Today, I learnt that another of our church members, a jolly senior who has herself had a stroke and does battle with hypertension on a daily basis, is planning to visit dad to bring him some cheer during the period when Soo-Inn and I will be away at church camp. Now isn’t that grace?
As it says in Luke 12:48b (NLT), “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” I don’t know about you, but I’m planning to go out and ambush as many people as I can. With grace.