Turning back the clock

Have you ever looked down at your hand and noticed the end of your finger missing? No? Well I have.

It was a Wednesday night when it happened. Band practice at church had just finished and I was leaving to meet my Mum, who was waiting in the car outside. However, the big heavy door at the back of church had other ideas. Somehow one of my fingers got caught in the hinge of the door, which swung shut and chopped off the end of it. For a couple of seconds I didn’t notice, but once I saw the tip of my finger on the floor and the splattering of blood around me I became a bit more aware of what was going on and it started to hurt a LOT more.

The next bit’s a bit of a blur. I ran back into church and tried to explain what had happened, and once the others had deciphered my confused ramblings they tried their best to help and pointed out that a trip to the hospital would be needed. Thankfully Mum was still outside (probably wondering what on earth was going on!) so I ran out to her and tried to explain what had happened. As we drove to the hospital the severity of the situation began to sink in, particularly for Mum, and we started to pray, declaring that God would turn it around and heal me: if he could knit me together in my mother’s womb (see Psalm 139:13) then surely He could do it again! Looking back it’s a miracle Mum didn’t faint while she was driving, but thankfully the prayers and the adrenaline kicked in and she – and He! – got me there safely.

When we got to the hospital, the car park was full, so I had to go into A&E by myself while Mum drove around trying to find a parking spot, which, on top of everything else, was quite a daunting and unusual experience, especially for a relatively shy thirteen year-old! I began to feel really queasy in the waiting room, and the enormity of what had happened began to sink in even more. It wasn’t just the fact that I’d look a bit weird with part of my finger missing; I’d literally just started playing keyboard in our church band and I would have hated for that opportunity to have been snatched away before it had really begun. I’d recently had a prophesy from my Pastor saying that God would use me like He used David in Saul’s courts in back in Bible times (1 Samuel 16:14-23) and that when I played keys I would create an atmosphere that would draw heaven down, something that Mum and I were really clinging on to during this ordeal.

So at A&E I saw a few different consultants. The first was the nurse practicioner, who had quite a matter-of-fact, utilitarian approach (not that that’s a bad thing in A&E!) and she assessed the damage, put the end back on my finger and bandaged it up. (That’s another thing: in all that panic at church I’m so glad someone reminded me to pick up the end of my finger, otherwise there would have been quite an awkward moment at this point…) The next guy did something quite strange: he took the bandage off reaaallllyyyy slowly, looked at my finger (without letting me see, which wasn’t exactly reassuring!) and then wrapped the bandage round again equally slowly. He then told me that the end of my finger might not attach back on at all, something I definitely didn’t want to hear! This brought home the reality of the situation: that it might not go back to how it was after all, which, to be honest, really shook me. BUT we knew that whatever the doctor said ultimately meant nothing because our God was in control: I knew he had (and still has!) an amazing plan and a purpose for my life, and if He can create the universe, defeat sin and death, and make a donkey talk (yes, that’s in the Bible too! See Numbers 22:28) then I figured he could cope with healing one dodgy finger.

Next was the X-ray man – a really friendly Irish guy who lifted my spirits by chatting to me a bit and telling me that my piano-playing days weren’t over yet (yesss!), and then I saw a really cool doctor who properly bandaged me up and sorted out what would happen next. I can’t speak highly enough of people who work in A&E; they were amazing that night, and to work in such a pressurised, unpredictable environment doing such a vital job deserves a lot more recognition than they get.

Over the next couple of months life was a bit different. I had to do everything left-handed for a bit, which was, er, interesting to say the least. Even relatively simple day-to-day activities like writing and brushing my teeth were much more difficult, and I wasn’t allowed to play the piano with both hands for ages either. I also had my work experience placement during this time, and again really mundane things were made much harder by having my right arm/hand in a sling. To some this precaution might have seemed a bit over the top, but it really wasn’t because if it got badly knocked the end of my finger might just come off again! I had to go for regular appointments at the hospital during this time, where they’d take the bandage off my finger, check how it was doing, then put a fresh dressing on. The strange thing was, a black scab was forming over the end of my finger, which was quite scary as I couldn’t help wondering what was going on underneath it; even though it seemed to be healing up, I couldn’t know for sure, and part of me was worried that it’d stay black and drop off as the consultant had warned.

After what seemed like an age – a short but momentous chapter of my life filled with uncertainty and discomfort, but, more positively, lots of prayer, help and support from those around me – the scab came off, revealing a beautiful pink finger underneath. Amazing! But there was one final twist: my nail on this one finger had grown really long, and an extra little bit of finger had grown to the same length as the nail. The consultant said it may need to be surgically removed, but – guess what? – it just went away. Coincidence? I think not!

Since then things have got even better. I’ve got pretty much complete feeling in that finger now, and even the fingerprint, which wasn’t there at first, has come back, as if to underline the fact that God really has knitted it back together and restored it to the way it was before. I’m still playing keys in my church band – I love how I can offer the gift He’s given to me back to Him in worship! – and God’s continuing to use me more than ever: in many aspects of my life, but through playing in church in particular.

I often take my finger for granted, but every now and then I look down at my hand and remember what an awesome miracle God’s done. I know of more dramatic, life-threatening situations my family and friends have gone through where God’s intervened, and you may well think ‘oh it’s only one or two centimetres of a finger, what does that matter?’, but this is my testimony and I think it’s amazing! So once again thank You God for healing me! Thank You that You love each and every one of us so much that You answer our prayers, change lives and transform situations, and thank You that You’ve given me an amazing testimony that no-one can ever take away. All the glory goes to You Lord, You’re awesome!

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5 thoughts on “Turning back the clock

  1. you can so tell your an English student! your writing is clear, interesting and refreshing to read. think this is one blog to watch out for!

  2. James! I have to say I have throughly enjoyed reading your blog! What a fantastic way to share your testimony as well as show everyone your wonderful skill at writing. You really do have a great talent there and one I’m keeping in mind for possible future projects……!!! Keep it up my friend and I look forward to reading more. :o)

  3. Pingback: Over and Out | James Birchenough

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