In weakness, strength

My wife had a serious accident two weeks ago – and we learned how dependent we are on God.

We were in the midst of a one-day visit to Milan, Italy as part of an extended holiday. We decided to run for a tour bus across the Piazza del Duomo and when I arrived at the bus, I turned and couldn’t see my wife.

I retraced my steps and found her lying on her side beside a parked taxi, bleeding from the nose and mouth. A taxi driver was very kindly holding her head up from the pavement. My wife said she could not move her arms and legs.

That’s frightening.

Things happened quickly after that. Another taxi driver phoned an ambulance, my wife was lifted into the ambulance and we sped to a nearby hospital over a bumpy road. My wife was now able to move her legs but there were shooting pains – worse than childbirth, she said – down her arms and hands.

It was heartrending to see my normally-stoic wife calling out in pain as she was wheeled into the hospital emergency and later down the hall to CAT scans and X-rays.

My Italian consists of a few phrases so it was hard to communicate with nurses and doctors who could speak no English. Thankfully, a doctor who could speak French – I am quite fluent in French – was assigned to my wife.

The CAT scans and X-rays uncovered no concussions or fractures and my wife was discharged the next day though still in serious pain, very weak, and unable to use her hands. It was not until we returned to Ottawa, Canada a few days later that an MRI was carried out which revealed she had a spinal cord contusion causing nerve damage – and the excessive pain.

My weakened wife returned with me to our hotel in Genoa by train and we began a frantic few days trying to book flights home. With the help of our hard-working travel agent and our Ottawa-based daughter, we were able to get a flight, receiving confirmation about four hours before our plane left Genoa.

By this time, we had mobilized an army of pray-ers in our church and our children’s churches in Canada and the United States. We are convinced that it was these prayers that took us over the multiple hurdles we had to leap before boarding that flight home.

Throughout this time, we knew we could not manage on our own. We needed God’s help.

Back home, we have been flooded by love and help from our family and our church family. We are so grateful for this concern and support.

I have written before in this blog about the apostle Paul’s great statement in 2 Corinthians 12 where he talks about his appeal to God to take away a “thorn in the flesh”. He reports God’s response in these words in verse 8:

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”

Our Italian adventure imprinted this truth indelibly on my heart and mind.

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5 comments so far

  1. Anne on

    Thanks for posting the full story. We’re still praying lots.

    • Robert Douglas on

      Thanks, Anne. Your praying is powerful. Ruth is improving daily.

  2. Andrew Douglas on

    Thank goodness you’re home. I can’t wait to see you two.

    • Robert Douglas on

      We can’t wait to see you, too, Andrew. A lot to catch up on.

  3. Sukkhuan Pisano on

    So glad that Ruth is doing better, may you all have a very blessed Christmas.


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