1st February 2013 was the day I turned 49.
Who would have known that before the end of the month, I would come face to face with death?
Blood clots blocking arteries in my lungs straining the heart. How did the clots form in the first place?
Pulmonary Embolism (Massive) —described as a life-threatening condition with a high mortality rate.
Suddenly, terms that I’d paid scant attention to became a part of my daily consciousness—ICU, blood transfusion, oxygen supply, CT scans, blood pressure, physiotherapy.
In more than two decades of working life, I hadn’t needed a single day of hospitalisation leave. Normal delivery of my two lovely sons was straightforward, and swift for the second boy. As the nurses told my gynae who’d rushed over in his sports car: “You have nothing much left to do!”
Not surprisingly, “How did it happen?” was the question on everyone’s mind. The official answer: “No known or definite provocating factor”—this conclusion after a battery of tests including screening for cancer as it’s known to trigger blood clot formation. Happily, the results were negative.
Three weeks of my life spent in a hospital that thankfully was well equipped to handly my condition. An excellent team of doctors whom I could place my confidence in, fully deserving of my thanks. Nurses who cared, many going beyond their daily routine to offer kindness and concern. For the full story, read: “Staring Death In The Face”.
I was more than ready to meet my God face-to-face
Assured that I would spend eternity joyfully in perfectly restored fellowship with Him
Pure and abundant love and peace. An end to earthly pain and sorrow. (Revelation 21:4)
Forever soaking in the holy and loving presence of my faithful and just Lord and Creator.
“Blessed is the(wo)man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation,
for when (s)he has stood the test and been approved,
(s)he will receive the victor’s crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
Just getting to the hospital had been touch-and-go, and I had come within an inch of collapsing along the way. Heard from my doctors later that my resting heart rate had hit 130s and 140s at times, indicative of the level of stress on my heart. I’m glad to report that as of mid-April, my heart rate is back in the 60s range, which according to the charts suggests a good fitness level. God is my Healer!
My dominant thought at the height of the emergency was, “Jesus, I declare that You are Lord over the time and manner of my death for I trust fully in You.” In fact, that was what I’d messaged those who needed to be informed of my hospitalisation, before I surrendered my mobile phone to the Intensive Care nurse.
But God spoke clearly to me, “Fight! It is not time for you to go yet. Your children need you and there are things that I’ve spoken to you about that have yet to be done. I will save you and you will testify of My goodness in the assemblies of the people.” So He walked me safely through the valley of the shadow of death and started me on a fresh new season of life.
What do you want to be when you grow up? “A writer!” was my confident pronouncement at age 11. Growing up with parents who knew little English, it was God who arranged the circumstances such that I invariably topped the class in English, frustrating my closest rival whose parents spoke the language beautifully. You can read more about this in “Origins & A Matter Of Perspective” . My eldest brother Richard also played a large part in nurturing my love for English-challenging me at Scrabble and introducing me to “Word Power” in Reader’s Digest magazine.
Well, I did go on to write poetry and plays, earning a place at the Singapore Youth Festival for one of my dramas and winning concert tickets worth several hundred dollars for a poem that I submitted. And my career in broadcast journalism and TV production as well as involvement in church magazines and Christian books have involved both writing and editing. But increasingly, as a volunteer counsellor who encounters many who’re struggling with diverse issues, I’ve felt a desire to share my thoughts, impressions and life experiences with readers. And the Lord’s reminder of this call came at the end of 2012 during a service at my church Cornerstone, when the speaker—author Dale Fife—spoke about how he chooses every word that he writes with care, mindful of its impact. Wrapping up the meeting, my senior pastor stated, “Not all of you need to write books. Some of you will write blogs.”
Well, it’s a brand new lease of life for me.
And this new blog is one of the outstanding tasks that I am to accomplish.
My mission is simple: Lives touched. Spirits uplifted. Hope and strength renewed.
God revealed, for His glory alone! 🙂
Jesus At The Centre – Israel Houghton
Lyrics/Music: Israel Houghton, Micah Massey, Adam Ranney