Testimonies of a Good God
Testimonies of a Good God
was born in South Africa to amazing parents. I was the middle child, having an older brother and a younger sister. Growing up we went to church, but for me at least there was no relationship with God. Most Sundays I would pretend to sleep in as long as possible so that I did not have to go to Sunday school. One of the few memories I have of church back then is that the pastor spoke about hearing God talk to him. At the time, I remember thinking, "God doesn't still talk to people."
Our lives as young children were fairly normal I suppose. We were a middle-class family with only my Dad working, and at times, there was "more month than money." Our home environment was good, nonetheless, and both my parents loved us very much. Life however, was about to change.
When I was twelve my sister Lynda began to suffer from very frequent migraines and headaches. She was eight years old at the time and after a few doctor appointments, as well as couple of weeks of constant headaches, they decided to investigate further.
About a week later, my parents said we were going away for the weekend to the beach. That Saturday morning, my mother and sister stayed at the accommodation, and my Dad, brother and I went down to the beach.
My Dad sat us down and said he needed to tell us something. He said the doctors had done various tests and discovered that my sister had a brain tumour. It was really big, and the doctors needed to operate as soon as possible. They had scheduled her for an operation the next week. The operation would take six or seven hours and she had roughly a 30% chance of survival.
How are you supposed to respond to news like that? At the time, all I could think about was how selfish I had been with my sister, how I always made her sit in the middle seat of the car and that now she may be dying. It's funny what goes through your mind when you are in shock. My brother and I both said we understood, but who at any age can really comprehend that kind of news?
The next week we were introduced to her doctor, and he said that he would do his best.
My sister was very calm. She had believed in Jesus since she was a little child; she would never let my Mom or Dad put her to sleep unless they first prayed with her and asked Jesus to look after her.
As I recall, she went in for the operation on a Saturday. To be honest, I don't remember a lot of the day, I only remember wondering if she would die and then my parents telling us that she had pulled through. The doctors had removed as much of the tumour as possible but were concerned that if they removed all of it she would be left with permanent brain damage.
She spent a long time in the hospital and when she was released, she and my Mom moved into accommodations at the hospital in Durban, where she was receiving radiation. My Dad, brother and I stayed in Pietermaritzburg, about 60 miles from Durban, where he worked and where we went to school. But we spent the weekends with my Mom and sister in the flat in Durban.
The radiotherapy had many side effects which left my sister feeling extremely unwell. It also affected her walking and due to the cortisone treatments it caused her to retain a lot of water and she got really big. This period of time was very difficult for Lynda and my parents. Unfortunately, people can be very insensitive. Lynda was often stared at because she was large and had lost her hair due to treatment.
Despite this the radiation seemed to work, and for the next year or so things seemed to be fairly smooth. However, my sister then started experiencing a lot of complications and ended up in the hospital for many weeks. During this time she had another operation to insert shunts that would release