Copyright © Muintir Mhuire 2014.
On my rounds of the hospital late one Sunday night I visited an elderly lady. She was very upset and I listened to her story. Initially I thought she was upset because her cancer had deteriorated, but she assured me that this was not the case as her cancer was still responding to treatment. Before returning to the hospital that day she had visited her daughter in another hospital. Her daughter was seven months pregnant. It was her fifth pregnancy and the first to last this long. Now there was a real danger she would lose this baby too. She said that sharing the room with her daughter, there was another woman in the same position who had already lost seven babies.
I had been very involved at that time in the Pro-life movement chairing the local constituency meeting as we worked to get the Pro-life amendment into the Constitution. I asked if she would like me to pray with her for her daughter and the lady sharing the room with her. As we prayed I got a clear picture of both women with two healthy sons.
I said to the woman to put her trust in God and to stop worrying, that each of them would have a healthy baby boy and I left her. Sometime later when I was visiting the hospital, one of the nurses asked me to see a young lady who had been admitted after an overdose. She was very upset because she had just been told that she was three months pregnant. She had been drinking a lot and also taking drugs. Her doctor wanted her to go to England and have an abortion and then he would get her into a treatment program for her addictions.
When I had listened to her for some time it was clear to me that her preferred option was to have the baby but she was worried as the medical people were telling her that the baby could not be healthy or normal because of the way she had been living. We prayed and I encouraged her to put her trust in God. I offered to put her in touch with people who would help her through her pregnancy and she asked me to do so. The following day I was called out of a Religion Class that I was teaching in a local secondary school to take a phone call from the hospital. It was her doctor. He was furious and asked who did Ithink I was giving advice to his patients that contradicted his. He was adamant that she should have an abortion. I pointed out that neither he nor I had the right to make that decision, that it was up to the lady herself. He slammed down the phone. I was not in the better of it.
I was very concerned for the patient. If he was able to attack me like that how was she coping with his reaction to her. If she did have the baby and it had serious problems how would she cope. I had a break at lunch time and I went directly to the hospital. As always I went first to the chapel to pray and a lady who was there praying came over to me. I did not recognise her immediately. She was the lady I had prayed with some months previously whose daughter was in danger of losing her baby. She said, “I just want to tell you, you were right, my daughter and her friend both had healthy babies and both were boys.”
I went then to see the patient and confidently encouraged her to put all her trust in God and not to be afraid. Six months later she asked me to baptise her very healthy normal baby. It was with great joy that I did so. Sometime later I met that doctor who also was very happy with the good news.
God has His own way of giving us the encouragement we need to proclaim His great love for us. If we are not receiving it, it is because we are not open, we are not putting prayer first in our list of priorities. When God is in the first place every situation can be faced with trust and confidence, even if we are falling short, having doubts, He will gently nudge us forward and help the little faith we have.