An Anniversary Reminder of a Miracle
Anniversaries are special, particularly when they arrive in round numbers. They serve as reminders of significant events and celebrations—or in the case of a forthcoming one, overcoming what appeared initially to be a tragedy.
In a few weeks, my wife, Janet, and I will observe the 20th anniversary of her bout with breast cancer.
It started as a routine outpatient visit to remove pre-cancerous material. Afterwards, someone had to stay with her for 24 hours.
Sadly, that meant I wouldn’t be able to travel out of state for the funeral of the wife of the best man in our wedding.
Tragically, she had died of breast cancer. The funeral was held the day after Janet’s outpatient procedure.
Two days after my wife’s clinic visit, the doctor called her with chilling news: “It’s worse than we thought. You need a mastectomy and I can do it next week. Come in Monday to see me.”
As you can imagine, this hit us like the proverbial ton of bricks.
Especially since I was due to leave town the following week for a magazine assignment.
Struck by a case of nerves, the day after this call, I did the only thing that didn’t require too much effort or mental concentration: run the weed eater.
When we went to see the doctor on Monday, it turned out the surgery wouldn’t take place for two more weeks. That was the first opening on the reconstructive surgeon’s schedule.
Asking for Prayer
I had already emailed the editor of the magazine to alert him of the potential problem in making the trip.
After learning the surgery wouldn’t take place as quickly as first thought, he and I chatted on Monday afternoon. We mutually decided there were too many logistical problems for someone to take my place; I would still go.
I hung up the phone wondering where I would summon the energy to make the trip.
Since this was in pre-Facebook days, I couldn’t post a one-size-fits-all message to friends asking for prayer.
Despite my brain not working at full tilt, I emailed as many people as I could think of (in stone-age fashion, one at a time) with a request for prayer.
What happened in the next 24 hours can only be described as a miracle.
In just one day, my outlook changed 180 degrees. Instead of feeling drained and unable to think, I felt energetic and optimistic. Instead of dreading making the trip, I was looking forward to it.
How else to explain this sudden and dramatic shift? Without anyone telling me so, I knew people had been praying.
My feeble attempts to pray hadn’t gone too far. This shift had to be the result of others interceding. God had responded with unmistakable grace.
Joy Amid Trial
There were other reasons for joy in the midst of trying circumstances.
The morning of Janet’s surgery, our pastor showed up around 7:30 a.m. to pray with us, right before they wheeled her into what would be an eight-hour-long operation.
Our youngest daughter and her husband had driven three hours to Louisville to spend the day with me in the waiting room and go out for lunch.
Without them to take my mind off the events of that day, I don’t know how I would have made it with my sanity intact.
There have been many other challenges since then. But every time I am tempted to fret over how to meet them, I just have to remember what happened 20 years ago.
God will come through in a current crisis the same way He did in 1999.