IN SEPT 2012, I had a very difficult time as I experienced persistent lower back pain. It was worse at night, especially after a long day, I could not walk upright. I was bending to accommodate the pain. I could hear my son saying “Mom, why are you bending?” Those words hurt me as I knew I really had a problem. At that time, my mom had cancer. I was shuttling to and fro with work at Cornerstone in the morning and after work, I drove to my brother’s place in Setapak to help him take care of my mom. All this running around took its toll on my back and I decided – with a very heavy heart – to stop work at Cornerstone.
I went to see an orthopaedic at Assunta Hospital who recommended surgery after an X-ray was taken. The doctor diagnosed it as spinal stenosis (a condition where my 4th/5th lumbar have moved out, following an accident 9 years ago and it was hinging on my nerves). I was worried but surgery was the last thing on my mind. My main concern was my mom.
I sought a 2nd opinion from Gleneagles Hospital and a 3rd from UMSC. Both were of the same opinion – that I could still do exercises to strengthen my back. However, surgery was not ruled out. It was a matter of time and the quality of life I wanted.
I was indeed relieved! I was prescribed muscle relaxant for the persistent pain and I rested for a week at home. After my one- week rest, my mom was hospitalised. I spent time with her in the hospital for one month until she was discharged & passed away when she got home.
Throughout that time, I was healed of my lower back pain. God had His plans for me. He healed my pain so that I could spend one month with my mom before she passed away.
In Jan 2013, I returned to help at Cornerstone. However, towards late August, my back pain surfaced again. The pain progressively worsened towards the end of the day and it was aggravated by walking. The pain felt like my lower back was going to break into two. I was very worried and cried out to God. How God? What am I going to do? I was in pain and sent an SOS to Christine to pray for me.
On 3 Oct I went back to UMSC. This time the doctor recommended surgery as my spine had weakened. He informed me that I needed 3 months for complete recovery! If I opted for January, it would mean that I would not be ready for my daughter’s wedding. There were only 2 slots left in October while November and December were fully taken up. That night I had a discussion with my son and daughter. They both felt that I should go ahead with the surgery and not wait. I was surprised when my son shared that night that God had answered his prayer to find a solution for my problem. It then dawned on me that God had spoken to me through my son.
I discussed my situation with Mabel as going for surgery in October would mean that I had to take a break from Cornerstone before the year-end holidays. God is our Provider as He provided someone to help out in Cornerstone. I then quickly confirmed the date for the surgery which was just three weeks away. Everything moved so fast. I was feeling fearful as reality set in as it was a major operation. In the meantime, my pastoral group and the church prayed for me.
God is so merciful & gracious. On the eve of my surgery, I was comforted by Yvonne Chong’s sharing. We all face fear one way or another but we can overcome it by praying honestly to God. And Jesus understands how we feel as He felt the same when he was praying in Gethsemane on the eve of His death. As Yvonne prayed for me, God gave her a vision of a baby sleeping in a cradle and a beautiful cloud embraced the baby, holding him in comfort and assurance. She asked the Lord for a Bible verse and this was the verse the Lord showed her: Mark 14:36 “Father … take this cup away from me…”
When I was wheeled in for my surgery, my blood pressure shot up! I could hear my heart beating very fast. But I kept the picture of the baby sleeping in the cradle with the beautiful cloud in my mind and, before long, my mind went blank.
Four hours later, I heard my surgeon’s voice asking me to move my ankles. I was still drowsy. The operation was over and everything had gone smoothly.
Glory to the Lord! He planned the perfect timing for my surgery: He provided help at Cornerstone, He answered my son’s prayer, the surgeon had an available slot, Yvonne’s vision and, above all, the Lord even provided for my full surgery costs. He is indeed my Provider, Comforter and Healer.
What an amazing God we worship.
I stand in awe of Him. Hallelujah!
~Audrey Lim ~