When my wife, Linda, received her cancer diagnosis in 2019, we began praying. Our church began praying. Friends and family began praying. We began praying for what anyone in our situation would pray for: a miracle. We prayed that when Linda went for a PET scan to confirm the diagnosis, the doctors would find that there was no cancer, that our prayers and the prayers of others would result in a miracle. She had the PET scan and the cancer diagnosis was confirmed. There was no miracle. But we continued to pray. Our faith is strong and we were not going to give up hope. We would keep praying for a miracle.
Linda had surgery to remove the cancer. We prayed that the cancer had not spread into the lymph nodes, that God would allow the surgery to bring the miracle. But when we got the biopsy results, we learned that the cancer had gotten into the lymph nodes and there was a second unrelated cancer that did not show up on the PET scan. Still no miracle. Linda would need to go through radiation and chemotherapy. But still our faith was strong and we continued to pray for that miracle.
The dictionary defines a miracle as something that defies the laws of nature, something that is supernatural in nature or an act of God. This is what we were praying for. But there’s another dictionary definition for miracle – any amazing or wonderful event. Not something supernatural, not something that defies the laws of nature, but something that is still amazing or wonderful. Something that we can point to and thank God for. And, for Linda and me, that’s the kind of miracle that we have received.
In the midst of a serious cancer diagnosis, we received peace. We received a stronger faith than we have ever had before. We received the gift of being drawn closer to each other and to God. But the true miracle in this whole situation has been Linda herself. While in the hospital for her surgery and after learning that she needed to undergo chemo and radiation, Linda prayed with other patients, including one who was dying. And while at the treatment center for her radiation treatments, she has been praying with other patients who were struggling.
2 Corinthians 1:4 says, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” Despite her own diagnosis, and despite the fatiguing treatments she has endured, she has looked at others with a desire to bring a little of the peace and comfort that God has given her. And so, while we have not received the miracle that we have prayed for (although we continue to pray for that!), we have received a miracle. Sometimes the miracle is not what we prayed for. Through God’s great love and mercy, sometimes we are the miracle.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.