As we settle into another Spring of living in the Far North of New Zealand (yes, it is called ‘Far North’) Irish and I often reflect on the changes that God has made to our lives. The strangest thing for me is that I have very little recollection of life prior to moving here. Please don’t misunderstand me, it isn’t because we had an ‘easy’ life where we were. Sickness and financial problems reared their ugly heads with increasing regularity as the cost of living escalated beyond imagination, and my ‘lung problems’ were overtaken by the need for surgery because of a brain tumour the size of a small orange.
I am convinced more than ever that the peace I have now is a direct result of the change in thinking that I had when the brain tumour diagnosis was made. You see, I remembered hearing of a woman who, when faced with the very real possibility of her daughter’s death from meningitis, turned to her ‘doubters’, glared at them and said “I Refuse To Fear”. I was reminded of those words when I arrived home about an hour after having had a CAT scan. There was a message waiting from the doctor’s surgery – “Please phone”.
Obviously, I already knew something was wrong because of the headaches but the fact that the results “You’ll get the results in a few days” turned out to be immediate, gave me a really good clue It was at that moment those words came back to me ... “I Refuse To Fear”. I took up the Shield of Faith right then and there, and have refused to put it down. People can doubt the words I say but they cannot deny the truth of the experience I have had.
Surgery was delayed for three weeks so that I could be weaned off the very large cocktail of pain medications etc that I was on. The one tablet I was put on by the neurosurgeon replaced thirty others that didn’t work very well! The surgery went very well (no haemorrhages) and six hours later I was moved from ICU back to the general ward because there was a bed shortage in ICU! Twenty-four hours after I was wheeled in for the anaesthetic, I was sitting up in bed having breakfast.
Since that time four years ago I have carried that Shield of Faith with me. I use it to declare my faith in the one who gives me direction. Holding on to my Shield of Faith reminds me that I do not have to take responsibility for decisions because I have allowed God to take me on the best path. Holding on to my Shield of Faith reminds me that no matter what my circumstances, GOD IS and HE is the one who will give me absolute peace. As my friends and family can attest to, my ‘brain thing’ has brought me into a new and exciting world. My gospel now comes down to two words. “GOD IS” and as long as I proclaim that absolute truth, nothing that this world throws at me can stand.