Monday, 23 April 2012

The Whole Hague is Limping

I didn't take the weekend off the challenge friends - I've just been too busy (or lazy) to update you ... so here is Friday, Saturday and Sunday's experiences all roled in to one post - now there's efficiency.

Friday 20th April: This morning, a dear friend of mine Skyped me because she needed prayer. I shan't go into too great detail, for fear the squeamish among you would not appreciate that and also because she might not want her boobie news broadcast on the worldwide web. In short however, she was having problems breastfeeding her baby. I cannot even imagine. Well, I prayed for her and then we both got on with our days.

Work was fairly usual. I still couldn't see Marilyn on the playground at school, and remain in the dark as to the progress of her recently-operated-on leg. I prayed for one of the children that I take care of, who told me she was sick, but I have a feeling this was some sort of prank to guilt me into giving her chocolate, which I had previously refused.

Forgetting my Skype prayer and this prayer for child 3 (for confidentiality purposes - ooo how exciting), as I cycled home I was determined that I must find someone to pray for. As I was cycling through the Buitenhof (the area outside the Prime Minister's Office) I saw an oncoming couple, wonky on one side. The man was limping. Quicker than a stealthy predator surfacing after a 40 day fast, I hopped off my moving bike. "Ik zie dat je heb pijn in jou been?" (I can see you have pain in your leg?). [Dutch followers, sorry if my grammar offends you, but you got to do what you got to do!]

"Ja, ik heb" said the man, rather confused.
"Kan ik voor jou bidden? Ik ben een Christian." (Can I pray for you then?)
I can't recall what his answer exactly was, but with a sort of polite and pitiful smile, him and his wife informed me that prayer wouldn't help (what do they know!). I decided not to push the matter, because my stomach was rumbling. I wished them a fine evening and recieved a slightly perturbed pat of gratitude before I was back on my bike and pedalling into the distance thinking, "Well God, I did offer."

The offer alone however did not satisfy my craving for God to break into someone's life today. Next thing, I was in the Albert Heijn supermarket aisle, spending far too much time deliberating on which type on honey I should purchase when I noticed another limper out of the corner of my eye! Engaged as I was with the honey, he slipped (or rather hobbled) away unaccosted by me; but I felt an urge to go after him. I excitedly buzzed on over to his station- a bulging trolley - where his wife arrived simultaneously. So this is a slightly awkward scenario, the Friday evening Albert Heijn chaos, but what the heck. Same old drill. "Heb je pijn in jou been?" This time I was told that the leg would get better by itself. I was a bit more determined this time, and asked if he didn't want it to go away now? Either he didn't, or I had just freaked the poor guy out. But I got an appreciative smile from this pair, before another (this time more endearing) pat sent me on my way.

Perhaps I was a tiny bit discouraged. God I had really wanted to see someone healed today. I'm sure you do do it! Well, when I was out later that night at the cheesiest venue of my entire partying career, I received a text form the friend, whose breast I had prayed for earlier on Skype. Thanks for prayer, she was feeding again. Praise God! (I have a handful of stories pertaining to prayer and the commencement/cessation of bodily fluids).

Saturday 21st April: Having just discoverd that yet another pair of jeans had ripped in the good old-favourite crotch region (am I putting on weight, or is this due to five years wear and tear and biking? I prefer the latter explanation), I couldn't possibly avoid a jean-shopping trip to the city centre. Now, I confess, that when it comes to shopping, I am like a high-powered business woman on speed; in my very special zone until I find exactly what I want - normal cravings for food, water and other such vital substances, put on hold. But as I was decidedly marching through the bustling streets, I remembered that I must not make today all about me. Whatever my current status (be that chillaxing or stressfully going in search of the perfect pair of jeans), I am an ambassador for God's Kingdom and I need to be available for him today. Someone within this tin of sardines is in need of a touch of his love. And then I see him - another limper. Without hesistating to wonder why the whole Hague is limping (was there a marathon recently?) I go through the routine, "Heb je pijn in jou been?" (No need for translation this time my anglophones, you know the score...) He however did need translation, because this dude was a fellow English man. So I asked again, "Have you got a pain in your leg?"

He told me that he had and so I asked him if he'd like me to pray for him. He seemed dead chuffed and we pushed our way through V&D's crowds to get to a more quiet spot just outside. In the meantime I asked his name and discovered a bit about John and how long he'd been in The Hague for. He had such a remarkable story. The reason for his limp, was not a marathon, but varrucaes all over his feet and another problem from an injury 12 years ago. John lived on the streets and had not been able to get treatment. So I prayed for him, and expectantly asked if the pain had been diminished. "No" was his reply. I encouraged him, that I'm definitely sure that God does and can heal and I don't completely know why it doesn't happen when I expect it to and often does when I least expect it to (maybe it has to do with complete dependency on him). I say that we should pray again later, but first offer to take John for some lunch, which is like Christmas come early for him. On the way, we chat some more and I find out that of all the places in the UK, he comes from my home town - LEICESTER (in moments of elation, I refer to it as LESTA-da-BESTA). This explains why I found his accent so comforting. We chat some more, and I pray again, but still to no physical avail. Although, I am certain of one thing, God has used me to show John how much he cares and John is grinning all over, telling me what a great day this is.

Sunday 22nd April: drum roll ... IT'S SABBATH TIME BABY! Is God more effective on Sundays? Definitely not. I'm just being dramatic. Anyhow, I always get excited about church Redeemer International Church. shameless plug! No opportunities arise at church to pray for anyone. But after church I go with some friends to the trusty Albert Heijn for the 3rd time this weekend. And just who should be outside? "John!" I hollar, much to the amazement of the passing shoppers and his other homeless cronies. I find out that they are Peter and Jakob from Poland and Willem from NL. After our introductions, I realise they are all hungry, so get them all some food and then offer to pray for Jakob, who's on some sort of zimmer thing. John explains that he's got titanium in his foot due to some terrible accident, because Jakob doesn't speak any English. So I gesture that I am going to pray for him, put a hand on him and just pray for God's healing and blessing to come. I didn't stick around to see if there was any improvement. I am completely trusting God that there will be physical breakthrough in all of this, but the thing that I am perhaps learning the most is that God is so passionately in love with the down and outs of society and in being up for praying for people, he's introducing me to some of his friends and followers that normally I might have frowned at, along with the other affluent shoppers. Jakob's eyes smile and he points up towards God and touches his heart, saying "Jesus". Too right Jakob, we might have nothing else in common, but I'm glad that the most beautiful person in all the universe connects us during this brief and beautiful moment.

I'm nearly up, becaue this post is long and you've probably got things to be getting on with, if you haven't already given up by now. But I was chatting to another friend on Skype this afternoon and I ended up praying for her neck. Somehow something dodge has happened to her spine and she gets a lot of pain in her neck when she's sat still for any length of time. After I'd prayed for her, I asked her how she was doing and she said that her neck felt all hot. Now this is a great sign! Many people that I know who also pray for healing testify that heat is often indicative of the Holy Spirit doing something - I hasten to add for the sceptics, that my hand was not on her neck - this was a virtual conversation. My friend, will update me after her lecture on Monday, if there's been any improvement. I wait with baited breath.

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