Light in the darkness
Neha Ann Manoj shares a beautiful testimony of how she experienced the presence of God during a traumatic event in her life
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)
We all have a story. The one God writes for each one of us. No matter where we are in the journey of our lives, there is a plan and a purpose for whatever happens in our lives and I want to illustrate this by sharing my story with you.
I am an ordinary girl who has been brought up in a Catholic family. I received my sacraments, attended catechism classes, sang regularly in the Church choir, attended the weekly Jesus Youth teens gatherings and activities and participated actively in the regular family prayers. However, I never experienced or felt the work of Jesus in my life until last November.
Everything was fine on that day. We had guests at home and after breakfast, my father went to drop them at the Church for a youth gathering. After they had left, my brother and I went to study as we had exams going on during that time. All of a sudden, I started feeling a pain in my abdomen. The intensity of the pain started rising and gradually it reached a stage where I could not bear it at all and I started rolling around on the floor. My mother panicked and called my father to return as fast as he could, and I was immediately rushed to the hospital. I still remember that when I got inside the car, I behaved abnormally as the pain was unbearable. A few minutes later, we reached the hospital and I was admitted to the emergency ward.
The doctors initially thought that it could be due to kidney stones and gave me a dose of painkillers. However, the pain didn’t subside even after an hour. They tried giving me various doses of painkillers and simultaneously did a couple of tests for diagnosing the reason for the pain. Doctors wrote off the possibility of kidney stones and appendicitis after the tests. During these hours, I was at my worst period of time. I noticed the helpless and clueless faces of my parents and the nursing staff. My mother was by my side reciting ‘Hail Marys’ relentlessly. Even during my intolerable pain, the image of my mother praying gave me some peace.
Meanwhile the doctors decided to do an ultrasound scan to know the reason for my pain. By that time, around four hours had passed, but these four hours felt like four years for me because of the excruciating pain. Finally, the doctors diagnosed it as a cyst which made my ovary twist and recommended emergency surgery. My parents were given only 15 minutes to decide and I could hear them discussing about the operation. When I heard about the surgery, I was not scared because I just wanted to be rid of the pain; it was beyond my limit of suffering.
Later I was shifted back to the emergency room and there I saw my mom’s colleague and close friend, Renny, who was also my sponsor for the sacrament of Confirmation. She stood near me, kept her palm on my forehead and started praying for me. From then on, I gained more courage, even though my pain had not reduced. I could feel someone giving me more strength to bear the pain, and telling me not to be worried or tensed. When the nurses saw me lying down relaxed, they asked my parents whether my pain had reduced because for all of the hours before that, I was yelling and shouting due to the pain. I knew it was not because of the pain reducing but because I felt that I was in the lap of Jesus.
During this time, preparations for the surgery were going on. I came to know later that the doctor for this surgery had taken leave that day and was supposed to go to another town. However, something stopped him and he decided not to go which is when he received an emergency call from the hospital for my surgery. Later, the doctor told my parents that he did not know why he decided not to go that day. Now I realise how my Jesus kept me safe and sound by arranging everything for me that day.
After nearly an hour or so, I was taken to the surgery room. On the way to the operation theatre, I could see my anxious father, brother and my tearful mother, but I was relaxed even during those painful moments. I could feel the touch of a divine power consoling me and taking me through to the theatre.
After I got discharged from the hospital, we went for a follow-up meeting with the doctor. The doctor told us that usually such cases are very critical and complex. However, according to him my surgery went very smoothly.
This whole experience has opened a new page in my life. I was able to realise the work of Jesus, my Lord, in me. I could really feel him near me and with me throughout.
I had my Year 10 board exams last month. All through the exams, I walked along with Jesus and during the time of examination, Jesus took care of me very well. Never in my life, have I had such confidence and satisfaction after writing any exam. Now I am not worried about the marks or the result because I know that Jesus is working in my life. He will not let me down and he has a definite plan for me. Having gone through this blessed and special experience, I am now able to get a deeper understanding of all the ‘Jesus experiences’ people have shared about during our teens gatherings.
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