Cancer (3)

(This is the third and last part of the excerpted chapter, My friends Sonia and Brenda, from “Gifts of Grace” Book 3. )  

My Friends Sonia and Brenda (Part 3)

Good-bye millions in damages—money for my medications and hospitalization, a small part of me said. But the bigger part of me thought of God, how He must have felt when He sent His only Son to be crucified and die for our sins. I wept and started going back to Ward 451D. They stopped me, saying I could occupy that private room for free.

 I said, “No, I belong to Ward 451D. It’s where I met my God!”  

P.S. Ward patients are not supplied with newspapers.  But from then on, I began receiving mine. Every day. That’s what I got for damages.  My own newspaper. And that is more than enough.

I had difficulty breathing myself—from trying to hold back my tears. I e-mailed back immediately, “Brenda, our e-group friends are really blessed by your short e-mails on faith.  Through you, God’s magnificence is almost palpable. With your permission, may I share your two-part e-mail to me with our e-group?”
Brenda couldn’t reply; she was hospitalized again. I rushed to visit her. “You look so beautiful,” I gushed because I’d never seen one so sick—with many interlaced tubes attached to her body—and yet so at peace with herself. She caressed her bald head and joked, “If I live long enough, Grace, would you help me write my book on faith?” I bit my lips, trying not to wail.

Weeks later, our e-group received an e-mail from Brenda’s addy. “This is Resty, Brenda’s husband.  Forgive me for invading your private enclave but let me just post this one e-mail and exit immediately.  You deserve to know . . .”

We grieved collectively on cyberspace. One message said it best for all, “We will always remember this fine lady who, while in pain battling cancer, rooted for our ailing friends to fight on. She amazed us by her faith in God, that some of us went to see her, cheered her on, thought of getting foreign medical help, etc.”

It has been three years since Brenda’s death.  Uncannily, it has been also three years since Sonia stopped all her medications.  

Today, it is Sonia who continues to plant the seed wherever she goes.  Maybe by grand design, she has been promoted in her job and is now tasked to travel to many ASEAN conferences where she interacts with people of varied persuasions. My prayer is that she will seek every opportunity to talk about salvation through our mighty Healer.

At this point, questions crowd my finite mind. Does God play favorites?  Who gets healed and who doesn’t?  Whose prayers did He answer?  Is there a recipe to get God’s favor?  

Theologians may offer an opinion, but in my quiet meditations and moments of confusion, I am led to this Bible verse, Isaiah 55:9: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

It is telling me not to analyze events or why they happen. I should focus instead on what lessons these events are teaching me. When God gives, you don’t ask why grace is given to someone so unworthy—you just give thanks and treasure that gift.    

Sonia and Brenda made—and continue to make—me see that God is sovereign.  He makes the perfect decisions which I may never understand; and there is no single recipe on how I can receive His favor for my heart’s desires. Prayer, then, does not change God; it changes me. My faith is put to a test, but in the end, it is made stronger.

Faith is what gives one the strength to accept God’s will and recognize His promises: including physical healing in this life, or whole and un-diseased bodies in the next.

As we continue to pray for the sick, and we must, God assures us that He will do something special which may include healing—or not; He prepares us for His decision. Whether we get healed now or get to enjoy eternal life earlier than we expected, we will know that it is His will alone.

Through Sonia’s testimony of her healing, I marvel at God’s grace.  Through Brenda’s e-mails and passing, I am amazed at the way Gods makes His presence felt and shows His glory.

(Thank you for following all three posts. Click for: Part 1 or Part 2

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