I am constantly amazed at how we are amazed when God shows up, after we've prayed for Him to do so. Right before Christmas, I had what I consider a miracle - a touch from God that reached down from heaven, used other people, just to put His arms around me and say, "It's gonna be okay."
We have a family member who has been diagnosed with cancer - yes, can I say ANOTHER ONE? We have had no cancer in our family in years and years and years, and now I feel like I should be on that commercial that says, "Cancer, you want everyone." I have never seen such a prolifieration of a disease in my life - or maybe it's that we're getting older and it's starting to hit our age bracket. I have learned quite a few things in these last few months of dad's stroke and these family members dying. First is that when someone has a medical issue, all other things in life cease to exist. E-mails don't get read or written; phone calls don't get answered or returned; bills don't get paid; groceries don't get purchased or prepared. All you do is concentrate on your loved one and their care. God bless the caretakers that are caring for the chronically ill people who do this day in and day out, every moment on high alert. They are the unsung heroes in this world and truly God's servants.
I also have learned that there are many, many loving and caring people. As you sit in the hospital waiting rooms, people all around you are there to support their loved one; they're there to share their story; they're there to uplift and encourage those around them who haven't quite learned how to navigate this cancer/stroke/heart attack pathway. I have met more random strangers to whom I felt an instant connection, and met more people from Ripley in these halls than I could imagine seeing, and built more connections. I have often felt called to a ministry and wasn't sure what it was, but I decided this week that I could just hang around the hospital and try to be an encouragement to people - there is pain and misery everywhere and people feeling hopeless and helpless around every corner.
But this story today is not of hopelessness - it is of hope and of a love from a heavenly Father that surpasses understanding. A month or so ago, when we got the diagnosis of cancer for another loved one, Tom and I made a trip to the town where they live to discuss "the plan." We spent all day on a Tuesday going to the doctor, hearing what they had to say, finding out we needed MANY more details before we could know what we were facing, and we spent hours discussing with our relative and their friend where the best care would be and who could provide it. We volunteered to move this person in with us and care for them, believing that the Charleston Cancer Center would offer more than their smaller town could. There were some logistical problems with transport due to the particular issues in this case, so even small trips would be hurtful and hard. We debated whether we needed to just stay in Charleston for the entirety of the treatment (6-8 weeks of radiation every day with some chemo thrown in at the beginning and end).
Of course, Tom's job doesn't offer much flexibility, and mine is much more flexible, so I volunteered to step up and do this. Mind you, I am no nurse. I mean, like totally nursing ignorant. I know nothing about how to care for a diabetic that could go into a diabetic coma somewhat frequently, who already has kidney disease and could proceed into kidney failure, plus throwing chemo and radiation on top of all that. The radiation oncologist later told us that this type of cancer and radiation was the "worst" he treated, and painted a very scary picture.
I tell you all this detail so that you can imagine what was going through my mind. I was a bit overwhelmed with the "What ifs" and the "Can I really do this" and the "How will I juggle it all" and the "Can I still work," blah, blah, blah. We have this meeting on Tuesday, make our plan, and the next day was church night. I almost didn't go - was worn out, just full of my mind ping-ponging back and forth with all these details and unknowns and what ifs. I walked into church, carrying my baggage on my back, and a man walks up to me and says, "Teresa, I don't know why, but God told me to give you this book." I hardly know this man. He has been coming to our church for just a couple months, and we have spoken and done the "Hi, how are you" but we hadn't proceeded into knowing about each other's lives.
He says, "I have no idea why it is you I should give this book to, but it's a book called Radiating Faith that is a compilation of scriptures for people who are facing weeks of radiation." Now, there is NO WAY this man could have known that we had just spent the preceding day going over these cancer treatment plans, had just arranged to move someone in with us to care for them, and that my mind was overwhelmed with it all. NO WAY. I looked at him and just began to cry. I told him a bit about what was going on, and he just acted really calm and said, "Well, I knew there had to be a reason!" He says, "I was walking out the door, and God told me to grab a couple of these books, so I did. It wasn't until I walked in the door and saw you that I knew it was you I was supposed to give them to."
The book is a book of scriptures that counts down days of radiation from like 60 to 1, and it had been created by a daughter who had handwritten these scriptures for her dad, stapled them together, and he would read them before each radiation treatment. In the waiting room, people would see him reading them and ask him about it, and he would show it to them and share it a bit. They would then say, "Boy, I wish I had one of those." His daughter became burdened to create this book in a format that could be shared with others, so she (at her own expense), typed these into booklet format, had her brother and sister (one a graphic artist) help her, and they got this little booklet published. Very cool story!
Typing this even now, I am amazed and in awe of how our God, the one who created the universe, the one who has the whole world in His hands, still cares about the everyday concerns of you and I. He cares enough to reach down to people on this earth who have arms and can hug us, who have feet who can travel to us, who have resources that they can share with us. How He takes strangers and makes them friends; how He puts people in our path who have exactly the knowledge we need at that moment, or the physical resources. That day, my God showed ME that He has a plan, He has a provision for me and my loved one, He is there before I even know what I need, and He will carry me through.
From the moment he put that book in my hand, my fears left me. An incredible peace filled my heart, the peace that passes all understanding. Yes, the situation was still the same, the unknowns were still there, but there was a master at the controls who had just taken the wheel, and He is still applying that peace today - and I truly believe a major miracle is going to come out of this situation....He's got this thing!
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.