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Sometimes we do not get the answer we prayed for, but God can reply in different ways and sometimes in a soft voice that we have to listen carefully to hear.

Last week I was out of state visiting a good friend who I shall call Meredith. That night I thought I could smell gas while I lay in bed upstairs, but dismissed it. Same thing the next night, and so I mentioned it to Meredith who slept downstairs, but she had other challenges that required attention.

Meredith’s lower back was causing excruciating pain, and we took her to have an MRI. This pain had kept Meredith away from work for much of the time since a hard fall one month ago. We continued to pray seriously for a solution.

When we met with the neurosurgeon, it was disappointing because he could do nothing for the lower back. However he said he could operate on Meredith’s neck, where one vertebra was pressing on the spinal column. This would improve Meredith’s balance and stability (she had been stumbling a bit in the past month), and perhaps reduce the neck pain she was accustomed to. Essentially, we left home with one problem, and returned with two. But things became worse……

Meredith before the fall and lower back problem.

Next day Meredith became quite ill, with flu-like symptoms, and basically stayed in bed for the entire day. We put out a call to friends and family to pray for her. I recalled the gas smell, but put that aside out of more immediate concern for the new illness.

That evening I recall kneeling by my bed and crying out to the Lord to heal Meredith, but also for insight and wisdom as to what was ailing her. I felt like nothing came down except a palpable heaviness.

Next day was much the same, and Meredith had difficulty getting out of bed. She was nauseous, had tremors in her hands, and her body ached all over. When I mentioned the gas smell again, her granddaughter (who was staying in the house for a couple of nights) immediately offered that she had also smelled gas when she stayed upstairs the last evening.

That sounded a loud warning gong. We called the heater-man right away, and he said he would be there at 8 am. That night I prayed urgently again, on my knees, for insight and wisdom and healing. More heaviness.

At 8 am the heater-man examined both furnaces.
“Your downstairs furnace is cracked in a few places”, he announced, “and carbon monoxide is getting into the airstream”. My blood froze.
“How dangerous?” I demanded. “It could be 50 ppm or more” he stated somberly, and immediately disconnected the downstairs furnace.

I opened up the house, and let it fill with cold fresh air. We conjectured that the carbon monoxide might have made Chanelle sick for three days before this, as she is such a small dog and is always close to the floor where the monoxide accumulates. Meanwhile Meredith’s daughter googled on the symptoms (see chart below) which do become serious above 100 ppm. The local GP said to get her to Emergency pronto. Meredith started crying……. “I am so depressed with these things that keep happening”, she blurted out between tears. “And I am so tired of being unwell”. I held her and the pain she felt, and wanted to cry myself.

At Emergency, the doctor ran a bunch of tests including blood work and X-rays. The blood tests were all normal, and he ruled out heart and lung trouble and clots, which was reassuring. He confided that carbon monoxide should dissipate from the body in less than a day.

After we returned home, the local fire brigade came with lights flashing and a gas sniffer. They cleared the house…….no gas, no carbon monoxide…….so Meredith could stay there. That evening she drank half of my chocolate shake as the relief set in.

The next morning Meredith was much better, and has been so for three days now. Even her lower back feels better. And Chanelle is as feisty as ever. Meredith’s positive attitude has returned. “Three problems have dwindled down to one,” she smiled. “Thank you Lord”.

The last few days had been dark and tense, but they could have been much darker. Depending on the level of gas, the carbon monoxide poisoning could have seriously injured or even killed Meredith, and her two dogs, if it had continued. The insight that came when I first smelled the gas, and remembered it day by day, we attribute directly to the Lord. He did not dramatically heal Meredith. Nor did He make it utterly obvious what was the problem. More of a small voice repeated to an out-of-state visitor in the quiet of the night, which He confirmed via the grand-daughter.

Have you had “still small voice” experiences similar to this? If so, please feel free to share in the Comment box below the blog. It may directly impact another reader.

The Gray Nomad.
Probing the practice of Christian believers……

Post-script: One learning from this is to pray with all the faith we have for healing, and at the same time pray for insights and wisdom, since God can communicate to us in a variety of ways. God can be subtle in his communication, and we need to look and listen carefully. As we did for Meredith, it is good to put the call out to friends and family to pray, so that a river of prayer goes up to Heaven. Lastly buy a carbon monoxide detector ($25) for each bedroom, which I did right after Meredith was released from Emergency.

“And He said, Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord. Behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;  after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

When Elijah heard the voice, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance to the cave. And behold there came a voice to him and said, What are you doing here, Elijah?” [1 Kings, chapter 19].

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10 Responses to A carbon monoxide scare, and a subtle answer to prayer

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    • Hi Sheila. Its funny that I went to visit to watch the grandkids play basketball. But also felt that I would be able to help someone to hope……and that indeed happened.

  2. Anne-Francoise Van den Bulke |

    Dear Ian, thanks for this witness of faith!
    To answer you about this kind of experience, a few years ago, as I was working in a mobile intensive care Unit, we were called for a baby who had a seizure. It was on December 25th, in the north of France where the weather was cold and wet. A whole family was gathered in the home for Xmas, where one of the babies (11 month) had had a seizure, but when we arrived he looked normal. This baby had a twin, and while the doctor of the team was attending the baby, I looked at the twin who suddenly exhibited strange behaviour too! There was nothing obviously wrong about this case or this house, except that since I came inside I could feel a strange iron taste inside my mouth. And all once I just asked the family owner about the house heating. I was told it was a coal heating oven that was inside the main room. My response was please open the doors and windows! We checked the carbon monoxide inside the house, and it was highly positive even after opening the windows for ventilation. We had been called out for one baby who had a seizure, and as a result we sent 13 persons to the hospital for control and O2 therapy!
    My doctor asked me later: what made you think about carbon monoxide intoxication (it has no smell except when it is mixed with smoke). I answered that I had no idea, it was just an intuition. But now what I think is: when I received tiny signs like the twin baby looking strange, and the strange sensation inside my mouth, I seriously think that an angel was blowing the answer to me so that I could catch it! Thank God, and thank the Angels!
    Anne-Francoise (from Uganda).

    • Dear Anne-Francoise, what an impressive story. I love your words “I seriously think that an angel was blowing the answer to me so that I could catch it!” What a beautiful concept. Thanks for sharing.

      • anne-françoise van den bulke |

        Dear Ian,
        I am convinced that God’s spirit is speaking to us, through his angels and even directly. But our problem is that we are always deep inside the material aspects of our life, and always trying to solve our human problems by human answers, that we too often are deaf to His voice. When we come back into the silence of our heart, we can often hear the answer. Most of time it is not the answer that we were expecting, and we therefore think God doesn’t answer me, but that is the time to be remain faithful. God’s answers are always the better ones, even if we aren’t able to understand them at the moment. After a while, we realize that what we considered was a bad thing had turned into a good thing that we couldn’t even imagine. In your case, you had tried to help your friend Meredith by going to the doctor, but he couldn’t help her lower back pain. You thought that God didn’t help you, but the answer was sent to you through this smell in the house. You couldn’t even imagine that you were solving all the problems at one time, but you did! Only God’s solution can be so perfect. Do remember what I told you previously: that we all have a little part of God inside of us. The more emphasis we give to this “little part”, the bigger it will become!
        Anne-Françoise

        • Dear Anne-Francoise, thanks for your thoughtful commentary. I loved your words “That we all have a little part of God inside of us. The more emphasis we give to this “little part”, the bigger it will become!”

    • Hi Kim. The engineer in me kept asking questions, an awful lot of questions, to the GP, the neurosurgeon,the EMR doctor, and of course Meredith. I smelled the gas while in bed, but nearly missed acting on it, except that God persisted with the message.

  3. I loved the comment about the angel and the baby that had a seizure. I totally believe in angels as I have seen one before when I was in a car accident, and I believe that angel helped me get through the pain I was about to face. I love your blog.

    • Hi Mary Ann. I occasionally run into people who have seen an angel, although I never have as far as I know. However, I felt I could have caused an accident a couple of times while driving, but the accident was prevented in an unusual way. This made me wonder if an angel had intervened.

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