Unexpected Answers

rooGod’s time-frame is not ours. And sometimes, He answers our prayers, a little later than we expect.

When I was nine or ten, I entered a competition that our primary school was running with Belfast zoo.

ZOO!  ZooZooZooZooZoo. I LOVE zoos: and Belfast was the BEST.

To enter, you had to write a poem about the new baby kangaroos. The winners would then get to visit them with the class, and – get this – give them kangaroo names. I felt sick just thinking about it. So, I got to work crafting the Best Kangaroo Poem Known to Man.  I ate, breathed and dreamt Kangaroos.  And finally, the winners were announced. John Jackson: a red-head I’d fancied for several weeks…and ME. Life could not get any better.

The night before our zoo trip, I went to bed early. Excitement had given me a fever and I was exhausted with anticipation.  When the alarm went off, I jumped out of bed! And then fell over.  I felt funny.  My skin was covered in red spots and my pyjamas were damp with sweat.

“Mum'” I said. “I’m fine.” But she was having none of it.

“I’m sorry love. But you’ve got chickenpox. No zoo today.”



I tried to put on my school uniform. I howled until I was blue in the face.  And I shouted at God.

“Please God, the kangaroos.  LET ME SEE THE KANGAROOS.”

But Heaven was silent.  And the spots stayed put.

Fast-forward twenty or so years.    God’s probably forgotten ZooGate.  I don’t hold it against Him.  But I still dream of Kangaroos.

I should let it go – after all, life’s moved on.  I’m married and pregnant! I’ve got emails to send and a doctor’s appointment for baby vaccinations.  I hate needles, but it has to be done. I want my baby to be safe.

That was Tuesday.  Today, I got a phone call from the doctor.

“We need you to come in to the surgery. There’s been a mix-up. I’m terribly sorry – but we’ve given you the wrong vaccination. There’s a chance it will harm your foetus.”

Instead of an injection for whooping cough, the nurse gave me one for chickenpox. This is banned for pregnant women as it can seriously damage the developing baby.

The doctor phoned the hospital.  A gynaecologist, a microbiologist, an independent research centre on infectious diseases, my consultant and the manufacturers of the vaccine.  “This is serious” they said. “Unless she’s had chicken-pox in the past and the antibodies are still in her system.”

I thought back to that day when I missed out on the zoo.  The God I shouted at.  The God who allowed me to get chickenpox. And the God who protected my unborn child.

Before we know the problem, He’s working on the solution.

Thank you Lord.


18 thoughts on “Unexpected Answers

  1. oh my goodness. Emma – I was holding my breath all the way through! Am so awed by God’s fantastic timing :)

  2. Love this Emma! So funny and spine-tinglingly scary at the same time. God is good. Praise him.

  3. WOAH, this is so powerful! God’s goodness, and the way he has revealed his provision to you. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Emma. I could just burst into tears with a mixture of relief and awe when I read the last part of this post.
    THANK God.
    I honestly could cry. And I’m not a crier.
    If I post a link to a song that I love, a song which is so completely in line with your experience, would you listen to it all the way through? Like… even if it is just a teensy bit country…? (wince)


  5. Thanks for all your comments and prayers – really appreciated.

    Ff – yes: please post me the link :-) I’ll battle through the country elements..

  6. What a relief to read the ending….I was getting pretty concerned…but thank God all is well.
    Praying for safety for this special child…In His love. Perhaps you will get to see the Kangaroos in Australia one of these days……who knows?

  7. Emma

    Here’s the web address. I tried to get it on YouTube but gave up cos there were so many covers!
    If you can get past the twang factor (something I hang my head and admit that I love) the words and sentiment are kind of paralleling your story.

    Hope you enjoy it!

    Sending love


  8. Oh Emma!
    My heart was in my mouth!
    God is so much gooder (better? more good?) than we give him credit for. Or perhaps that’s just me.


  9. This is an incredible story. Reminds us that God is in charge, knows what he’s doing and is taking care of us even when we don’t see it that way. I have been telling this story to everyone around me!

  10. Wowzers. Praise God. Reminds me in a little way of Corrie Ten Boom – her sister told her to thank God for everything even in their concentration camp, including the fleas. Corrie’s faith was incredible but she couldn’t find gratitude for fleas (I don’t blame her!). Later on it turned out that the reason their Bible studies and prayer sessions were never discovered by the camp guards was because the guards were avoiding the fleas! Sovereign over all creation indeed. What a story you will have to tell your little one of how God was protecting them years before they were thought of.

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