Monday, July 23, 2012

the next miracle

Life is always surprising.
Sometimes the things you are positive are going to happen don't
happen at all.
Sometimes the things that you think will never happen do.
And sometimes miracles happen.
Small ones. Big ones. Medium ones.
Miracles, none the less.
For the last 8 months my friend, Shelly, has been fighting ovarian cancer.
She has been fighting strong. She has been fighting hard.
And these last couple of weeks have been difficult ones.
She has been in the hospital, in pain, enduring tests and procedures and then some.
She wanted to go home last week and one week stretched into two.
She was missing being with her husband, Ben and her kids and
she really missed her own bed a lot.
Mid-week it still looked doubtful that she would be able to go home any time soon.
Ben and Shelly's church they grew up at and ministered as youth pastors for
14 years had marked out this past week as a 24/7 prayer week for Shelly.
Around the clock people took hour time slots to pray for Shelly.
And it seemed that things were not shifting.
It seemed that she was still suffering, still stuck in the hospital,
still needing a tangible answer to all of our requests on her behalf.
During one of my prayer times I asked God,
"Don't you hear us? All of us? All of these prayers for Shelly?"
And then I had the thought,
What would be happening if we weren't praying for Shelly?
I think God was urging us to prayer at exactly the right time.
Because today Ben texted us that he gets to bring Shelly home.
I shouted out loud into the air, "Praise the Lord!"
And did a happy dance.
And tonight during church worship I felt like I needed to give a praise
report, since so many of us at our church have been praying for Shelly, too.
And as soon as I said that Shelly was coming home,
a collective sound of joy broke from our congregation.
And then a visitor from Arizona, a woman who has never been to our church before,
sitting in the second row said,
"I was healed of ovarian cancer....I'm not in remission...I am healed."
So Scott asked our visitor to pray over Shelly as one who has fought
the fight victorious praying over one who is still in the fray, still
battling, still giving it all she has to see the other side of this fight.
She prayed out loud and we agreed with her.
And I thought, What are the odds that a woman healed of ovarian
cancer would show up to our gathering on the night I ask Scott if I can
give a praise report about Shelly....something I have never done before?
It almost seemed like God was showing off  a little.
Reminding me that he hears each and every word we utter.
Reminding me that he is the God of Red Sea partings. The God of walking on water.
The God who raises people from the dead.
He is that God. The magnificent. The conqueror. The healer.
I took Shelly's coming home and our visit from a native Arizonian as a sign of hope.
A sign of things to come.  A sign that he still has some more showing off to do.
A sign that God is in the midst of Shelly's journey and he is letting us be a part of it.
And I for one can't wait to see what the next miracle is going to be.

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