Monday, December 1, 1980….my daughter, Mary who was then three years old, and I traveled from Chicago area to Indiana. I planned to be with my parents and other family members on surgery day. My dear friend, Connie, babysit for Mary so I could drive my parents to the hospital, which was 30 minutes away. The pastor came by the house to pray for Mother’s healing and to anoint her with oil before we headed off to the hospital.
I remember the trip to the hospital well. Although my parents had talked about mother possibly having cancer between themselves, there was silence in the car and it seemed more like a three-hour drive than 30 minutes. My heart was in my throat thinking of what might be ahead for my mother and father. I reasoned with the Lord that I was to young to lose my mother.
Surgery time approached and we kissed mother and prayed for her. We waited to hear the doctor’s diagnosis after surgery. He told us it would take three plus hours to do the surgery…however, about 1 1/2 hours later, we received notice that mother was out of surgery and in the recuperating room and that the doctor would speak to us shortly. The lump in my throat grew larger – we all knew that the shortened time in surgery might mean problems. We waited…finally the doctor walked in the private waiting room. The doctor slowly described exactly what he had found. Mom had enlarged lymph nodes and tumors which wrapped around her colon, like a sheet, and it was impossible for him to remove them. He told us they wouldn’t have the pathology report for three days. Tears welled up in my eyes as the doctor shook his head and said “Let’s wait and see what the report tells us.” They had to close her up and leave the tumors inside. The doctor removed the ovaries and many smaller tumors but couldn’t remove the larger ones. My heart sank…everybody was upset… and I was in denial. My father said, “Well, it doesn’t sound good.” We all had tears. Our pastor led us in prayer.
At this point, I couldn’t understand the assurance I had received from God that mom would be ok…maybe it meant she was going to heaven rather than being healed physically. I knew she was ready to go to heaven, but I wasn’t ready to let her go. My mother didn’t remember much for the next couple days except that she felt a warm feeling all over her body.
Three days passed. I was sitting in the waiting room reading and as I looked up – the doctor walked out of the elevator… I knew he had come to tell us the results of the tests. Dad was in mom’s room at the time. The doctor walked over to me and told me in medical terms that mother had lymphoma blah blah blah… I said you mean “She has cancer?” He said, “Yes.” They would treat the cancer with chemotherapy but if that did not put the cancer into rapid remission–these tumors might press on her vital organs and giver her serious problems etc…….I was in shock and could hardly get past the word Cancer. I controlled my feeling of desperation as my heart pounded so hard as if it was going to burst…. I had to get out of there. The doctor proceeded to my mother’s room to let her and dad know the results of the test.
I needed to find the hospital chapel… I got on the elevator quickly and I broke down in heavy crying and moaning….this couldn’t be real. My mother wasn’t even sick…how could she have cancer. After all God had given me the assurance that she would be ok. I reached the chapel and prayed like never before…crying my eyes out…there I gave all my fears to God. After I regained my composure, I called my sister and then went to see my mother. I’ve never felt such helplessness in my entire life.
At church that Wed. evening during Prayer Meeting, the pastor told the congregation about my mother’s prognosis…that she was given at the most….three months to live. At the close of the service one of the church members stood and said, “Pastor, if we believe what we say we do, why don’t we pray for Mary’s healing?” So they gathered at the altar to pray. They had not prayed like that in years. Meantime, my father I.H., was home on his knees, praying as only he could pray. He interceded for my mother. He told my mother later, “You may think I am crazy, but I prayed through for you. God spoke to me. He did not say if you were to live or die, but He did say “It’s going to all right.” This was the same assurance I had been given a month before her surgery.
The thee days that followed seemed long. At my parents home I saw a coffee mug that had this saying, “EXPECT A MIRACLE!” I filled it with candy (for the nurses) and took it my mother. I set it down in front of her and said, “See what this says? Believe it!” Mom said, “I do!”. Although I didn’t understand God’s timing… I still had faith that God would do as he had assured me and my father. It was His timing not ours and His way not ours.
Reflection: Has God assured you about something? Did the answer come right away…or did you have to wait? Have you learned that …. It is His timing…not ours – His way….not ours?
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct your path.
Stay tuned for Chapter three… Blessings, Marilyn