79: Heavenly Possible

79: Heavenly Possible

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

Heavenly Possible

“For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,” says the LORD . . .

~Jeremiah 30:17

I sat numbly with the occasional tear slipping down my cheek. I kept replaying the doctor’s words: “I believe it is cancerous, although it seems to be a strain I have not seen before.”

The tumors were on my tongue, and part of it would have to be removed. I was told it would severely impede my speaking ability and there would be little to no chance of singing again. This was devastating to a pastor and a singer.

I couldn’t remember a time in my life when I had not been singing. My first solo was at age three. I never had any training, but I let my heart guide my voice and they seemed to make a good team.

I had joined the church to sing in the local Christian choir as a young girl. After that, I joined worship teams, Christian bands, appeared in musicals and even went on mission trips which focused on spreading the news via song. Now my songs would be silenced forever. How could God use me if I was silenced?

I had the surgery and went through two painful months of recovery. And then tumors returned. I went to another doctor, and had more surgery and lost more of my tongue. Now there was no chance of singing and even speaking would be difficult.

I remember speaking to a dear friend before the surgery, asking her what I should do. Deb, in all her wisdom, said, “Be the first.”

“What?”

She reminded me of the struggles I had overcome my entire life. I had already survived two other kinds of cancer. She told me I was strong and that I needed to be the first to do what the doctors said couldn’t be done. Be the first to speak well. Be the first to sing. Just trust God, believe in myself and do it!

Upon waking after surgery, I had a nurse approach me, laughing. She said that before I went completely under the anesthesia someone had commented on the size of my breathing tube. They were worried about it scarring my throat. Apparently I sat straight up and pointed to the doctor and said, “Look here, buddy, I am a preacher and I am a singer. DO NOT harm my throat; I have work to do.”

I should have known then that God had a plan.

Unlike the first surgery, my recovery from this one seemed to be on fast forward. I was forming words again after days instead of weeks and months. Within a week I found myself trying to sing again.

Shortly after that was Christmas. I found myself in the back pew of a church where I didn’t know anyone. The music to “O Holy Night” began to play. Remember my first solo at age three? It was to that song. This had to be a sign. I closed my eyes and at the same time opened my heart.

I asked God to allow my spirit to sing even if my mouth couldn’t. Then the words spilled out. When the song was over, I opened my eyes and discovered that people were staring at me. So much for hiding.

I apologized profusely for singing too loudly. But the people were crying. They said they had never heard singing like that — that it was like angels were backing me up. I explained that they were and then gave my testimony.

The lady in front of me was dealing with cancer and had asked God for a sign. She got it through me.

When I returned to my surgeon for a follow-up, he and his intern began asking my husband questions. Finally I smiled and began answering them. The intern looked quickly at his chart, thinking he had the wrong one. He then asked, “Didn’t you just have some of your tongue removed?”

I smiled and said yes. Then he looked at the doctor and said, “Should she be able to speak?”

The doctor replied “No,” and smiled.

I looked at the intern and said, “What is medically impossible, is Heavenly possible.”

~Pastor Wanda Christy-Shaner

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