Book Review, God in the ICU

There may be “no atheists in foxholes”; there are certainly few in the intensive care unit of a hospital. However, for the same reason a recent Air Force chaplain was criticized for quoting former U.S. Military Chaplain William T. Cummings, many Christians are reticent to invoke the name of Jesus in a public hospital even in darkest days.

God in the ICU, by Dave Walker, is the story of one doctor who found the courage to pray publicly and privately over his patients and saw the miraculous efficacy of prayer.

Dave Walker wasn’t always bold in his faith. In fact, the story starts with a humble retelling of his first years as an anesthesiologist at a hospital in South Africa. Following a series of personal losses, Walker doubted God’s existence and, if there was a God, certainly doubted His character.

Like so many of us, Walker’s heart cried out, “How can a loving God let things like these happen?”

But that’s only the beginning. God re-introduced Himself to Walker in a very personal way. As he began to grow in his faith, Walker felt supernaturally compelled to pray over his patients. It started slowly, one at a time, then intercession became a habit. Not only did he pray quietly in the operating room, but he asked his patients personally if he could pray with and for them. He approached grieving and terrified family members, asking again if he could pray with and for them.

The first part of Walker’s book tells his own story of reawakening to the God of love, the God of miracles and the God who is sovereign over even the most painful circumstances. The last two thirds of, God in the ICU, tell a wide variety of individual stories.

Walker recounts supernatural, instantaneous healings as a result of prayer. He tells of finding and sharing the comfort of Father God in the midst of long drawn out illness. He describes how prayer transformed difficult relationships. Perhaps most importantly and most applicable to the reader, Walker tells how, through prayer, his own spirit was quickened to hear, understand and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit, even when they seemed contrary to logic.

This book is much more than a good read. Personally, it created a hunger in me to learn to speak to God in such an intimate way. Walker is an excellent writer with unique metaphors and poignant descriptions. I couldn’t put the book down. It is remarkably entertaining, but simultaneous it reaches the reader on a much deeper level.

Walker’s book directs immense glory to God. He reminds us of God’s majesty in the fantastic creation of human bodies. Walker highlights God’s unparalleled goodness and mercy. He tunes our ears to God’s voice and our points our eyes to search for God’s good purposes in all things.

Finally, God in the ICU is a bulwark against anxiety concerning evangelism and intercession in public places. Walker proves that God is in our darkest hours, in the moments when we need intensive care. He cannot be banished, and it is only to our good that we acknowledge Him, praise Him and point to Him. God alone brings healing and God alone is our salvation. Let us take courage and follow Dr. Walker’s example boldly bringing God, through prayer, into every moment of our lives.

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