Rabaul – photo Zena Grant-Thomson
“Bye, Robyn!” I called as she headed out to work.
“Have a good day,” she replied.
I combed my damp hair, ready for the day. I was having a relaxing holiday in Rabaul with Robyn, after my year’s teaching on New Ireland.
Suddenly I was enveloped in strong, tangible peace. I stood still to enjoy it. The tropical air was still moist and hot but I no longer noticed it. This peace was all I was aware of. This must be the peace that passes all understanding the Bible mentions, I thought.
I felt so calm. So strong. If I always felt like this, I could do anything, I thought. I could cope with anything at all.
Tyres screeched into the driveway. Footsteps clattered loudly up the steps.
“Michael!” I exclaimed. “I thought you and Arlene were in Tufabi.” (Tufabi is on a different island from Rabaul.)
“Your sister’s in hospital,” Michael said. “She’s very sick. She might be going to die.
The doctor sent her here as a medical emergency” – “life-threatening infection” – “she was green” – Michael’s voice hurried on, blurting out Arlene’s symptoms anxiously.
All through those terrible words and the quick explanation following, I remained bathed in that supernatural peace. For a moment my mind swam with horror, but I felt no fear; only normal concern.
“I’ll pick you up in ten minutes,” Michael said and drove off.
I hurried to my room and sank to my knees. “Father, is she going to – die?” I asked.
The peace grew stronger. A gentle presence like a fine silk shawl rested over me.
Clear, quiet words formed in my mind.
She will not die.
Relief flooded me.
Quickly I packed a few things she might need. I was ready when Michael drove in again.
Beautiful Rabaul – pic Rose Glanville
The hospital ward seemed strangely dim. Was it really poorly lit – or was it ‘dimmed out’ by my emotions? I’ll never know.
Arlene lay there, her face a yellow-green colour against the white pillow case. Dark skinned nurses slipped silently around her, adjusting her drip, her sheets.
I talked to her and prayed for her, then left quietly. All the time, I felt a strong Presence holding me up, and that amazing peace sustaining me.
With good medical help Arlene gradually recovered and after a week or two was back in Tufabi.
I have always been thankful for that supernatural peace that enabled me to do all I had to during that time, calmly, with no panic of my own affecting Arlene. And that peace enabled me to pray for her with real faith.
It was a little miracle, too, that God had me there in Rabaul during Arlene’s crisis, after I’d spent a year on New Ireland.
Photo – Rabaul from the air – Zena Grant-Thomson