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Inge Ruddock died on Thursday, the 12th December, shortly before two o’clock.
Inge on the walls of Jerusalem
There are few people who have tried in recent years to establish some fresh expression of God’s kingdom in Cambridge who have not had the privilege of coming into contact with Inge Ruddock. She and her husband John have been the owners of a little house in the centre of town which has been a refuge and launchpad for many a new or growing ministry with more vision than meeting-space. Christian Heritage, Friends International, the Chinese Christian Fellowship, City Life Church, GENESIS, and YWAM have all rubbed shoulders together as the beneficiaries of Inge and John’s generosity—not to mention the myriad people who have come to the basement of that house to join in with its regular weeks of 24:7 prayer for the city and world.
It was into this house that I had stepped when I was a troubled second-year, struggling with a difficult degree I no longer wished to be doing. Praying in that place changed my life. It marked me with a permanent assurance of the reality of God’s love, and propelled me out from the miry clay of identity crisis onto the railway-line of destiny. Since that Tuesday night of worship in Inge’s basement, I have had no doubt of my calling to pray and proclaim the promises of God in whatever way I most effectively could. But at that point I had not met Inge.
In fact, I don’t actually remember the specific moment when I did first meet Inge. Probably at some prayer gathering of which we were both a part. I do remember the first time I visited the flat in the north of Cambridge where Inge and John actually lived. Someone had emailed them saying that it would be good to meet over lunch to discuss the vision God seemed to be stirring up of a house of prayer in Cambridge. And that email had been CC-ed to some other people who in turn had forwarded it on to some others. Somehow I heard about this meeting, and showed up at the appointed time at Inge’s flat—not quite sure whether I was invited or not. Needless to say, I was welcomed in, and when we began praying together we had an undeniable sense of the presence of God. And the Friday lunch-time prayer meetings have been going on ever since.
It was at one of these Friday prayer meetings a few months later that Inge asked if I would be interested in joining her on a trip she was making to Israel. Would I ever! And so the two of us went on the most incredible journey around Israel. We connected with Israeli believers as we went, praying with them and marvelling at their testimonies. We almost spent a night sleeping out with the scorpions of the Negev desert. We were evicted at gun-point from the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. We mourned at Yad Vashem’s Holocaust memorial. It was during this trip that I heard the news that Inge had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She believed that God could heal her. No—she believed that God would heal her.
Inge on the shore of the sea of Galilee
We returned from Israel, and I graduated with my degree from Cambridge University. I married Taryn in India. We returned to Cambridge (eventually) and lived with John and Inge in their Chatsworth Avenue flat. Inge was going through the agonies of chemotherapy. Taryn and I were struggling to adapt to life together in marriage, in ministry, in England. It wasn’t an easy year.
We left Cambridge, and joined YWAM in Harpenden. We returned to Cambridge to help start the first YWAM Discipleship Training School in Cambridge. We wanted to try and start a house church, inspired by the story of Ying Kai and the possibility of exponentially multiplying discipleship movements.
When John and Inge heard about the house church vision they immediately said they would join us. But Inge had also just found out that the chemotherapy hadn’t worked, and the cancer had returned with a vengeance. Our Sunday fellowship never came close to the dynamic missional house church that I’d had in mind. Instead myself and Taryn had the priceless privilege of breaking bread each week with Inge and John – and sometimes a few others – during her last few months with us in this life.
Now Inge didn’t want to die. She trusted God. But she believed that God could heal her. And she refused to meekly accept her condition and get ready to die.
I’ve grown up in a missionary family. A gospel family. A family that knows that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Believe the gospel and that salvation will be eternally yours! Trust in Jesus and though you die, today you will be with him in paradise! Death has no sting!
But in these last few years, I have been learning that the kingdom of God isn’t a matter of talk but of power. And that power isn’t limited to giving sinful souls an undeserved ticket to heaven. I’ve seen supernatural healing with my own slightly sceptical eyes. I’ve prayed in the name of Jesus and miracles have happened. It’s taken me more than three years, but I’m beginning to learn that God wants us to eagerly desire spiritual gifts. That God wants us to pray for his kingdom to fully come on earth as it is in heaven.
We had been praying for Inge with our DTS team one afternoon, and had the sense that God was speaking that this would be like Dorcas, in the book of Acts: “a woman who was always doing good and helping the poor”. In the story, she becomes sick and dies—but the apostle Peter prays for her and she is raised to life. So that was what we were hoping for.
Meanwhile, Inge continued to get worse. Various family members began to make their way to visit her in Cambridge to say a final farewell before she departed her mortal frame. Our DTS had decided to make our week of teaching on the topic of Prayer and devote three days to fasting and prayer for Inge’s healing, but it was becoming uncertain whether she would even be alive at that point.
John shared a dream Inge had had some time before: She was on a toboggan, rushing down a hill-side, holding two candles. ‘It’s too fast, it’s too fast,’ she cried. Suddenly the toboggan veered to the right, the candles blew out, and all was peaceful. What did it mean?
And meanwhile, Inge’s condition continued to get worse. By the time the set week came, she was unable to move, unable to speak, in constant pain. But we were expecting resurrection. We started fasting on the Tuesday, and on the Tuesday night there was a substantial gathering at Inge and John’s home Oak Villa—it was uncertain whether Inge would survive the night. We continued fasting on Wednesday—that night a cyclist was killed by a car just a few hundred yards from our house.
On Thursday morning we made our way to Oak Villa. We worshipped. We confessed our sins to one another. We prayed for Inge. We prayed for revival in Cambridge. We worshipped some more. We prayed some more. We continued worshipping. We continued praying.
Shortly before two o’clock in the afternoon, Inge died.
We continued praying.
How do you pray for resurrection? In Jesus’ name. In Him, every promise is Yes and Amen. Jesus has promised that whatever we ask in His name, the Father will give us. How do you pray for resurrection? With faith. With faith as small as a mustard seed, mountains will be moved. Whatever we ask believing, we will receive. How do you pray for resurrection?
Shortly before two o’clock in the afternoon, Inge died. Taryn would later point out to me that the two candles in the dream corresponded to the hour of Inge’s death. We continued to pray until about nine in the evening, when the coroner came to take away the body. Ten days later Inge was buried in the graveyard of the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene, Madingley.
One day Jesus will return on the clouds in glory. And Inge will rise again.
But Lord, would you teach us how to pray!