It was the valley of death for me. If you have read my book Braving the Storm you will know about that. The Intensive Care Unit of my local hospital is where I have fought battles with the powers of death - and Hell! Last Wednesday I found myself there again.
The young nurse who welcomed me to the surgical ward could not have been kinder. It was her throw-away comment that gave me the eebie jeebies! 'Oh you won't be coming back here after the op, you'll be going to Intensive Care'. All at once the images of pain, humiliation, fear and near-death encounters rushed unbidden into my mind. ICU? I thought I would never have to set foot in the place again. Well, I didn't have to set foot there - my feet were firmly on the bed - but I did go there last week and I survived.
As the ICU nurse was leading my trolley back to the ward a couple of days later I said to him that the time there had been healing in more ways than one. Physically, of course, I needed to be there, and am grateful for their care after a painful big operation. Spiritually, and emotionally, my short time there taught me many lessons. Among them was the fact that sometimes, even after many years, you can't get completely free of some things until you face them.
I wouldn't have chosen to do so, especially at this low ebb in my illness. But God had other plans for me, and other business to transact in my soul. Back into the fiery furnace I needed to go. Back into the lions' den. And God was with me. He did bring me through, as He had done the first time. And you know what? I did feel His presence there, and His peace. 'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for You are with me.'
I hadn't planned to face my demons last Wednesday morning, but it was in God's appointment book for me. Thanks to your prayers and His blessing, I am here to tell you about it.