Wednesday, July 03, 2013

On Safari . . . (Peter Black)

It was about 34 years since we’d been to African Lion Safari at Rockton, Ontario. That was when my wife and I were still a young couple and our sons were youngsters. We recently made a long-overdue visit there. This time we went as senior citizens, with a busload of peers. The place is much more developed now, with more family fun amenities, such as a water play park, pontoon boat rides and miniature train rides.
What a great day! I thoroughly enjoyed being “on safari” – the easy way – in the safety and comfort of an air-conditioned bus, complete with interesting driver commentary. We marvelled at massive elephants and rhinos and bison, took snapshots of lazing lions and cheetahs, and gazed at lofty giraffes and lowly wildebeest. Grandmas Oohed and Ahhed at dozens of cute baby deer. Grandpas marvelled at the aerial speed and grace of birds of prey.
Even better was that we saw old friends and met new ones. Among the new were Don and Bev, who live in the Hamilton area. Bev, an outgoing person, sparkled with joy. Don, while quieter, is warm and friendly. The couple shared with me an amazing story of Bev’s descent into a complex debilitating illness and her journey – really, it was their journey – back to health.
In 1995 a variety of disturbing physiological symptoms began to affect Bev’s health, advancing at an alarming rate throughout her body. Imagine her shock and dismay when she – a very active person – began to experience arthritic symptoms and pain that rapidly escalated in severity. Several persistent organic symptoms emerged, including gastrointestinal difficulties, affecting her stomach and digestive system. Breathing became difficult, and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) was diagnosed. Neurological abnormalities emerged also. It appeared as though there was an all-out assault on her body. More was to come, as intense pain coursed through her eyes, affecting her vision.
Bev consulted various doctors, and was referred to specialists, resulting in a battery of tests, including testing for MS (Multiple Sclerosis). Thankfully, that one proved negative. The prospect of going completely blind, however, was horrifying. Tests confirmed glaucoma and another eye condition; both were treated. She was medicated for the lung condition, but eventually required to use a wheelchair, since she had insufficient breath and strength to walk. Her physician advised her to get her house in order; that she should prepare for the eventuality of dying.
Don stood firm with her in the midst of this vortex of mystifying disease, as did friends from their church. Bev maintained her trust in the Lord Jesus. While she still had sufficient sight she wrote down scriptures of encouragement and thoughts that lifted her spirits and kept her focused. Fortunately, the extreme pressure in her eyes lowered, and she was assured that God was with her in this journey – that she wasn’t in that dark tunnel alone, for the Lord was her light.
One day Bev sat in her wheel chair at church. A guest preacher prayed for her, then asked her to come to the platform. Instantly, strength and healing coursed through her body and she virtually trotted to the steps and up she went. Other symptoms soon left her. Several people who witnessed her amazing healing at that service were on our Safari and could attest to the transformation that occurred initially and that continued until her recovery was complete.
May Bev’s story of God’s mercy encourage us to raise our gaze heavenward in the midst of our struggles, of whatever kind they be.

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Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – 
a children's / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing).

 (Finalist -- Word Alive Press ISBN 1897373-21-X )

His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate. His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario.

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4 comments:

Marian said...

Wow, thanks for sharing. God is a healing God.

Peter Black said...

Yes, indeed, Marian.
May Bev's testimony inspire faith and fuel hope in the hearts of others in need of healing.
I received word from her last night in which she confirmed the accuracy of my retelling of the story.
It was a joy to meet Bev and her hubby. ~~+~~

Rose McCormick Brandon said...

Peter - I never get tired of God stories. Thanks for this one.

Peter Black said...

Thanks Rose.

I'd wondered whether you might have known Bev, since she and Don live in your general area.

Your telling of "God" stories has lent much encouragement to me in my sharing them. ~~+~~

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