The morning after Ann’s surgery our hematologist and his nurse DeeDee came into our hospital room to discuss the initial inferences from Ann’s diagnostic surgery. The preliminary pathology report indicated that Ann had stage IV melanoma—with a certainty of ninety percent.
We were crushed. I fought to maintain composure and tried to focus attention on what the doctor was saying. It’s funny sometimes the things that run through your mind in difficult moments. All I could hear was a recent conversation with Tom, a co-worker, whose wife had stage IV melanoma. Doctors had recently told them that Jackie only had three months.
Three months? Could Ann really be dead in a few months?
DeeDee, a Christian oncology nurse, whom we had already grown to love through the various appointments, must have sensed both our shock and the Holy Spirit. She stayed behind to comfort us after the doctor gave his report.
She asserted that “God is the God of the ten percent” and that he can override any statistic. She then confidently prayed for God to override the nearly certain diagnosis.
I was amazed by her faith. DeeDee had surely seen, as an oncology nurse, countless lives ravaged by cancer. She had to have a firm grasp on reality. Yet she also knew God. And she knew God was bigger than a pathology report, bigger than cancer itself. So she prayed.
I was encouraged by her prayer. But to be honest, I was a bit skeptical. God can do miracles, but he usually doesn’t. And miracles usu-ally happen overseas on the mission field, not here. And I certainly had no basis to expect that God would do a miracle for us.
What Are Your Symptoms?
Four days later we went to a different oncologist, since Ann most likely had melanoma, in order to receive the official diagnosis and to understand options for treatment. Several friends, Pastor Charles, and our oldest son, Paul, accompanied us to the doctor’s office, visiting with us while we waited and praying for us while we met with the oncologist. My friend, Jim, whose wife, Laurie, had just completed chemotherapy for breast cancer, was there to help ask questions and take notes.
The oncologist abruptly began the appointment with a shocking ques¬tion, asking, “What are your symptoms?”
Ann’s spleen was full of cancer and you ask, “What are your symptoms?” What the heck?
He went on to explain that the pathologist had been unable to determine the type of cancer that had overtaken Ann’s spleen. But he was certain that it was not melanoma. One hundred percent certain.
I was stunned and humbled. God had indeed answered DeeDee’s impossible prayer. God was certainly “The God of the ten percent.”
It would be impossible to overstate the impact that this answer had on my faith and on my relationship with the Father. Though I never had a guarantee that God would deliver Ann from cancer, I can honestly say that I never again doubted that he heard our prayers.
Even after Ann’s death, when I literally wondered if God even existed, I still had every confidence that God had paid attention to our prayers. The heavens hadn’t been shut; it’s just that God’s answer was an emphatic, “No!”