My very best friends will testify that I can be an arrogant little pilgrim. Headstrong, stubborn, and willful….theses labels stick from those who love me and pray for me.
At one time, I joked (kinda) that this was, obvious to me, my spiritual gift…it’s not on the list but maybe it got lost in editing. I mean, God created me and He created me with this nature. It’s strong and clear. And in my profession as a high school teacher, these gifts served me well, running and ruling my classroom with a firm, loving, AND stubborn hand.
In the past, it was best that when friends asked me to pray, they not give me too many details. As soon as I thought I saw the problem AND the solution, I acted in an advisory position to the Creator of the Universe. “Maybe You haven’t considered THIS.” “Don't cha think that THIS would fix the problem?”
So when the surgeon dropped the bomb on Mike and me, after tears and a few why-did-this-happens, I did not pray for healing. I mean I had heard of others, over the years who had gone to the doctor with something; the doctor had opened them up and looked around; the doctor had sewn them up and said, “Sorry, there’s nothing we can do.” We knew some of those guys. Now we were those guys.
The doctor said that Mike should go home and get his affairs in order. His cancer was found “significantly distant” from the original site. This surgeon said that, statistically, the tumors would grow, quickly, and would end my husband’s life in approximately 6 months. I know that people like to announce, hands on hips and a shake of the head, that “doctors don’t know everything.” And that’s true. The doctors I know are the first to admit this and are overjoyed when they are wrong with fatal pronouncements. What Mike’s surgeon said was based on statistics. If you Google metastatic gallbladder cancer, you will see that the assessment was correct. Also, he knew that Mike was a practicing attorney, with an office and employees and clients, and that closing his office would need to be his primary goal as there was little else to do.
He DID suggest that we meet with an oncologist to discuss treatment. “Treatment?” we asked.
“Yes, there are things medicine can do to make you more comfortable and to buy you some time.” And then gently, “And it’s not too early to investigate hospice.”
Hospice: end of life care. “They’ve gone into hospice.” They will be dead soon. “Hospice has come.” Tick tick tick.
I left my contacts out of my eyes, switched to my glasses and cried for 2 days. I slept a little. Praying friends filled our room. Some prayed boldly for healing. Some said, “We will pray for healing until God shows us something else.” Mike told me that he prayed for healing once. In his own words: God isn’t hard of hearing.
But not I. It wasn’t anger, actually. But I DID raise the question. Here we were, children of the King, skilled at our professions, bringing some glory to the kingdom, as far as I could see. And we were closing in on 35 years of marriage. Like all marriages, we had experienced some ups and downs but for the last 5 years or so, our relationship was so good. Supportive. Strong. Sweet.
(Hands on hips) “Couldn’t You USE a good, solid Christian marriage? As an example? To demonstrate all that You teach about Christ and the Church in a sinful world?”
And here’s one of the countless reasons I love and am loved by my Maker. He did not chide me for my suggestion…like He had overlooked this possibility. I can see Him smiling at me, (silly child of Mine), wistful for the day that I stop advising and fall, lavishly, into His all-caring arms.
The adventure that lay ahead of Mike and me would demonstrate a good, solid, Christian marriage to those around us. He smiled, asking me to trust Him, and said, “Yes, I could and I will.”