When my dad died of melanoma five years ago, I was shocked – at least the part of me that housed my faith was in disbelief. I’m basically a positive person, but in the case of my dad beating cancer, I took my faith to a new level…I was believing for a miracle no less than “total healing.” I had confidence in a miraculous outcome because I trusted in my prayers and the supernatural power of God. I was certain with all of my heart that my dad would outrun the morbid statistics that were desperately trying to swallow him up into their deadly numbers. No way. My dad was going to make history and beat this terminal disease even at its progressive stage. He endured the experimental treatment that was sure to change history. I actually envisioned the headlines in the newspapers and medical journals describing how this man had beaten the odds and was now cancer free. I knew my continual hope was going to make a difference and that my faith was going to change things. Talk about your positive outlook… it was more like a plan. However, my plans didn’t turn out as expected and my prayers for total healing were unanswered. To my surprise and devastation, the cancer ultimately won and took my dad’s life. In spite of his positive attitude, the prayers of many and all of our faith…he died. What went wrong? I thought this is how it works… pray, believe, stay positive and it will be done. My initial response was to believe our faith had failed, or worse yet, I had failed in my faith. Was it my fault? Was it God’s fault?
I don’t know why that miracle of ultimate healing didn’t come. However, after sifting through a plethora of thoughts and emotions, I realized that my faith did indeed produce miracles, even unexpected miracles. Just because we didn’t receive the specific miracle we asked for doesn’t mean we weren’t richly blessed in the situation. It took time for me to appreciate the fact that my hope produced positive results. My optimistic outlook made the last weeks I spent with my dad simply perfect. We laughed and talked about things that would have been impossible to share if I had of succumbed to defeat or depression. Those memories will remain with me forever, they are etched into my soul, and that is a miracle. Once the melanoma had reached my dad’s brain, the doctors gave him 4-6 months, which totally rocked our world. How could we squeeze all the life we so desperately wanted into that short amount of time? From that prognosis, my dad only lived three short weeks. However, I’m grateful for the misery he was spared; the doctors said it would have been horrible for him. Though we wouldn’t have agreed to it if given the choice, but less time was actually a blessing for him. The prayers that were offered up for my dad allowed him to keep his strength until the very end. He was even able to play a round of golf with his buddies just 10 days before he died. In his “condition,” that would seem impossible. In my eyes, it was another miracle. My dad was the greatest man I ever met; he was just larger than life! However, on April 15, 2008 that champion of a man announced he was “going home.” There was no defeat in his voice; he made the statement as if he was leaving for a vacation he had been planning all his life. The day was spent with an endless stream of family and friends coming to tell him how he had touched their lives and how much he was loved. There was laughter, tears, singing and prayers as my dad moved closer to his “new home.” In a testament of how he was a man of his word and how he lived life to the fullest…my dad passed from this earthly residence and entered into his new home at 11:59 p.m. The entire day was a miracle to behold.
I still don’t know why my dad didn’t receive a total healing from cancer but I do know my continual hope did make a difference and that my faith did change things. I didn’t get the miracle I expected, but we witnessed many other miracles throughout that journey. I don’t feel God abandoned us, quite the contrary, we could feel His presence. I still trust in a God Almighty that comforts us and will be by our sides as we go through unspeakable, and sometimes unexplainable, pain. In spite of everything, I believe faith and hope produce the best outcomes. Just because you don’t receive the miracle you asked for doesn’t mean your faith was unproductive. Your hope definitely makes a difference. Hope affects today, the day you are living right now. It brings strength, encouragement and allows joy to infuse the situation. In this imperfect world full of deterioration and free-will, things happen out of our control and beyond the power of justice. However, my faith is not in vain and neither is yours. Keep your faith and remain in hope through all the trials and struggles of your life…it makes the journey so much more miraculous.
I encourage you to fully examine your own situations where you have felt your prayers were unanswered and your faith may have failed you. Look around you and dig deep to discover the miracles you may have missed.
Do you see blessings in disguise? How has your faith produced miracles? Has your positive outlook made hardships more bearable? How does your “hope” make a difference in your life?