It began as an ordinary Sunday. The sun was shining and we both went about doing
our normal routines preparing for church and a relaxing Sunday afternoon. We did
not see the storm cloud.
During evening worship services, Larry began feeling ill. By the time we reached home, he was suffering from a hard chill and a 103º fever. The next 3 days offered no improvement, but also no new symptoms. After talking to the doctor several times by phone, we finally saw a nurse on Thursday. Larry was diagnosed with pneumonia and sent home with medication.
That Thursday evening the storm winds began to blow around our family. Around seven, he came through our hallway and instantly I knew he was worse. He was disoriented and talking incoherently. I immediately started for the emergency room. Upon our arrival, his temperature was 104º. We were told the pneumonia completely covered his right lung.
Arrangements were made for transfer to a larger hospital where a pulmonologist would be available. We finally arrived at four a.m. on Friday morning. They started him on 6 liters of oxygen, IV medicines and breathing treatments. This treatment continued through the next two days.
A repeat chest x-ray was performed on Sunday. The doctor said the pneumonia had moved to his left lung as well. She said it was an unusual looking pneumonia and she wanted to do a CT Scan for further studies. The thunder started to boom.
On Monday morning, the doctor came in to tell us the results of the CT Scan. She said that there was a mass wrapped around his bronchus and in her professional opinion, she believed it to be cancer. A biopsy was necessary in order to diagnose the stage and prescribe a treatment plan. We were all full of questions and doubts. We kept asking her if there was any chance it could be something else. Her answer was always no. Our sky grew dark and the lightening began to flash.
Any person alive dreads the day that some doctor will say these words. One can imagine reactions, but believe me, until it actually happens to a loved one, it is impossible to know the feelings that arise. After a few minutes, I had to leave the room. I knew I should stay there and be strong but I folded. I could not bear listening any longer.
I went just outside his hospital room and wept. I was so scared. I knew that in the past few days I had seen Larry change right before my eyes. He looked like a 90-year-old man and it seemed that the life had just been sucked out of him. I knew he was very sick but I had never even thought of cancer. Unknown to me, this was the horror my daughters had feared the last few days. We did not see the rainbow.
As I sat there, I begin to hear a voice in my mind. The voice was my on-line friend who lives in Canada. We have never met face to face but through e-mails and phone calls we have discovered we are kindred spirits and have become very close. She was really giving me the lecture I needed at the time. I could hear her telling me to "dry my eyes, pull myself together, and be still and remember who was in control. Be still and know that God is God." I dried my eyes and went back to Larry where I belonged. I did not know until later the significance of that speech.
Our pastor came offering a much-needed reminder. He promptly told us that there was too much gloom and doom in the room and we needed to stop thinking negatively. After his poignant words of "God is Able and God is Greater", we all begin to smile and we saw a glimpse of the rainbow.
Once the word was passed, we were flooded with prayers, phone calls and support. Larry's sister flew in from New Jersey, which was the best medicine he could receive at the time. Prayer chains were started in many churches across the nations and in the on-line communities around the world. The winds began to grow calmer.
They scheduled the biopsy procedure for Wednesday morning at 9:00 AM. We had two days of sharing and waiting together. We all were very scared. Larry prayed that God's will would be done in the way that would bring God the most Glory. At one point he took my hand and said, "Honey, I love you. Whatever God has planned for me rather here or with Him, I am ready. Remember that." I cried, "I know that Larry but I am not ready to face tomorrow without you." He got that special little smile on his face and said, "Well, I did not mean I was calling the bus today."
Anxiety consumed us that morning, but we knew that God was with us. The room was full of love and support when they came to take him out. The next four hours seemed like an eternity. When we were informed that they were bringing him up, I left and went to the elevators to wait. Everyone else followed. When the elevator doors opened, I ran to his stretcher.
He was fully awake and began to tell the story of his past four hours. "The doctor could not get me sedated so I was awake and fully aware of all that went on. When she got to the spot where the mass was showing on the CT scan, there was nothing there! She told me that all she saw was a wide spot. She checked and checked but it was gone. She decided to biopsy the wide spot but it bled so that she lost her nerve and quit. I was crying so, she thought I misunderstood the news but I understood all she was saying. All she found was God's Thumbprint." With that news, we all cried! Including the man pushing the stretcher! God said "Peace be still to our storm."
We were all happy but still anxious. I guess we wanted to hear it from the doctor. When she arrived, she confirmed all that Larry had said. She said it was amazing but there was nothing there but a wide spot. Larry smiled and looked at her and said "God's Thumbprint."
Larry improved tremendously that day and they discontinued the oxygen. Miraculously, we went home the next night. We knew it would take several weeks for the pneumonia to heal and for his strength to return, but we left knowing that we had experienced a miracle.
After the report, Larry told me it was hard for him to understand why he was spared. We know that so many face the same horrible news we did, yet do not receive the great gift we were given. We do not have the answer to that question but this experience has shown us several things.
Many people struggle with multiple problems and painful situations in their lives and truly believe there is no hope. This story offers hope to the hopeless proving that no matter what doctors say, there is a Great Physician that still cares and miracles still happen. Most of all, it shows that the power of prayer is greater than any force on this earth, even cancer. We just need to remember to look for the rainbow.
During this crisis, we drew strength from each other and from our friends. Day to day living lets you forget the importance of these two elements. The voice in my head was a powerful example of how friends are used to lift you up when you are as low as you go. After I returned home I was talking to my on-line friend and she began to tell me how she had prayed. She told me she knew I would go to pieces and that someone needed to remind me to be still and know that God is God. To stand firm and see God's hand. She knew she could not be there but that God was already there, so she told Him to tell me those things. Never think that love has to be given by someone you can see and touch. The power of friendship and prayer transcends all space and time.
There are no words to express our gratitude. All we can do is share our story and live our lives to bring praise and honor to the Father. We are living proof that when you have God's Thumbprint on your life, you are never the same again. We saw the rainbow.
Maxine Wright Maxine@aroush.com
P. S. As a foot note, Larry went back on the 7th of November for another CT-Scan. The doctors wanted to be sure that nothing was there. The scan came back clear; the only thing they saw on the scan was a widen area around the spot where they had seen the mass. (God's Thumbprint). The doctors even told him that the pneumonia had left no scare tissues and that they were amazed that his lungs appeared to have never even had pneumonia. When God puts his thumbprint on your life, He does it completely.
Larry is completely recovered, back to work and doing normal routine. We are so thankful for all the support and prayers we received. We hope this miracle will give all you hope and encouragement.
The Illustrator: This daily newsletter is dedicated to encouraging everyone to look towards Jesus as the source of all the solutions to our problems. It contains a daily inspirational story, a Bible verse and encouraging messages. HTML and plain text versions available.
The Nugget: Published three times a week, this newsletter features inspirational devotionals and mini-sermons dedicated to drawing mankind closer to each other and to Christ.