Several years back I remember reading a story about a young woman who had just given birth to her daughter. I can’t remember all the specifics, but I think it went something like this: A young couple found out they were expecting their first child and they were overjoyed. Shortly thereafter the woman found a lump in her breast that proved to be cancerous. The couple prayed and prayed for healing and a healthy pregnancy. The baby was born and the family of three soon went happily home together. Not long after being home, the woman started becoming disoriented and her husband knew that something was terribly wrong. It turns out she was having a stroke and she was rushed to the hospital. After a heart-wrenching few days in the hospital, she was declared brain dead.
I followed along with this story and found myself asking, “Why, God? Why the cancer? Why the agony of those long uncertain months if she was only going to die from a stroke shortly thereafter?”
A few days ago I read a plea for prayers regarding a similar situation, only this time it wasn’t requesting prayers for a new mother, it was requesting prayers for a young child. At the age of three this young girl had just overcome a battle with cancer. However, in a completely unrelated event, a few days ago she suffered an accident that left her in the hospital on life support with no brain activity.
The post I read stated, “I refuse to believe God brought her through and made her cancer free just to take her randomly a few weeks later.”
As I read this my heart broke. It shattered. And as I found myself thinking about it my mind was brought back to the story of the young woman who passed away shortly after giving birth to her daughter.
God knew when He would be calling each of these girls Home. The freak occurrences that happened to both of them did not come as a surprise to Him. Maybe part of His plan allowing them to have cancer was to give their families time to prepare their hearts and minds to understand a life without them.
I know this doesn’t make the outcome any less difficult to comprehend, because it’s gut wrenching. Absolutely gut wrenching. But my prayer is that when this family looks back on their daughter’s battle with cancer, they see a time when they were forced to appreciate every moment. God gave them a period of time to be intentional about loving her and I can guarantee they went out of their way to let her know just how cherished she was. I can almost bet there were times the parents let her stay up later than usual just to cuddle on the couch or gave her ice cream for breakfast or took picture after picture of seemingly mundane activities because, given her diagnosis, they knew her tomorrows were not promised.
I’d imagine this would be similar to the young woman who battled breast cancer. Think of all of the conversations she must have had with her husband regarding their unborn child’s future. Maybe the mother was able to write letters to her daughter or set aside special pieces of jewelry for her with handwritten cards for special occasions. Maybe she was able to record video messages or write down favorite recipes or just somehow relay how much she was loved even before she was born.
God didn’t give this mother and this child cancer. It wasn’t part of His plan. But He allowed it. And maybe part of allowing it was to give these families beautiful memories and time focused solely on loving each other. Time that they refused to take for granted. Time that will forever be engrained in their hearts.