“I hope I can do this.” Dread clouded my thoughts as I reached for my car keys. The drive to the cluster of buildings took ten minutes, long enough for me to question a million times what I was doing. I searched for her white van and not finding it, grabbed the closest parking spot to the entry. Second floor she said – to the right - down the hall. In bright gold lettering, the sign Oncology announced I could follow directions.
My friend has cancer – the kind where her doctor reached over to pat her knee telling her she has six months to live because all the traditional treatments didn’t work. She has the kind of cancer where she sobs into the phone that God will heal her – must heal her - and I agree through my tears but inside I ask the question I’m afraid to voice. Will you really God?
For almost nine months now, I have watched this woman struggle with new treatments and surgeries – then the side effects – followed by highs and lows of test results. “How can I help?” I ask her weekly and her response is always – “pray.” I do the expected things – prepare meals, offer to clean her house and of course I pray. But I want to do more. I want to help like I’ve never helped before and all she asks is that I pray.
Kathy is fighting a battle for her life. With five children, a husband and a life yet to live – she needs to believe God will heal her. When the doctor finished patting her knee – she cried out “My God is bigger than this disease.” I wept when she told me. I wept when I doubted.
Her confidence is staggering.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” she apologized as she took a seat next to me in the doctor’s office. Today she needed a friend to help her listen to the doctor’s words and remind him she will win this war despite the shaking of his head. Afterwards she needed a friend to sit with her while the life-offering chemo dripped into veins already scarred from too many needles.
I had never been in a chemo unit before and had imagined all sorts of scenarios. The experience shattered my expectations. Settling back in recliners meant for a family room, we filled the hours with laughter and stories. For another week, confidence would buoy Kathy’s emotions while the drug sustained her health.
We hugged goodbye and I climbed into my Jeep relieved to be driving away from the center without a scar in my arm or sores from tackling a more potent drug than advised.
But I didn’t escape untouched.
I understood better what a brief moment six months of a person’s lifetime can be since we used two hours and they passed in a blink.
Later that day, I reread notes in my prayer journal to remind myself how God answered prayer in my life and in those around me. When I started the diary, I never expected Kathy’s name to take center stage. All along, she has been confident that I, too, believe God will heal her. Today, I found myself finally doing as she asks.
God is at work … He has healed my friend’s spirit … and hopefully the disease too. But after spending time together in a room filled with unspoken hopes and fears… I walked away filled with unexpected joy confident in my knowledge that God indeed is at work - in me, too.
Luke 8:50 “Don’t be afraid, just believe, and she will be healed.” (NIV)
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