27: The Miracle of Faith

27: The Miracle of Faith

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

The Miracle of Faith

Miracles happen to those who believe in them.

~Bernard Berenson

We sat at the kitchen table watching the snow cover the bird feeder, flake by falling flake. Soon the cardinals’ brilliant red plumage contrasted with the snow-clad trees and the white-covered seeds. The chickadees’ dark backs turned light, matching their white bellies, and the woodpecker’s beak scattered snow as he pecked at the peanut butter and suet cake.

My husband picked up my hands, turning them over in his. The calluses caused by a lifetime of hard work were gone now, leaving his hands almost as soft as mine.

“You know that it’s about time. As much as I hate to talk about it, we gotta discuss it,” he said.

“I know.”

“Seriously, we do have to discuss the future.”

“I know, but we still have time.”

He’d been off his chemotherapy treatments for three months. He didn’t want to subject his body to any more poison pumped into his veins, like it had been for the past three years.

“You know what the doctor said. The cancer would spread when we stopped the treatments. It’s been three months and four days. As I see it, it’s time to make some plans.”

I toyed with my spoon, making circles in my coffee. “I’m not convinced of that. I predict you’re going to be surprised when you get the results of the scans tomorrow.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Maybe I know something you don’t. I have it on a higher authority that we are going to take that vacation we planned for the spring.”

“Honey, you got to face it. It’s early March. Our trip isn’t until June. According to the doctors I won’t have that much time.”

“I know all that, Glen, but I have faith.”

“There you go again with that faith talk.” He squeezed my hand. “Hon, I wish I could believe, but I just can’t.”

I was forced to step out on my faith. I had to share with him or it would do no good to have faith. I had a strong impression God was telling me that our time had not yet come. We had another trip—our annual trip with our daughters. “Please dear God,” I prayed silently, “I hope I have not misinterpreted the answer You gave me.”

With renewed assurance, I spoke my heart. “Then I’ll have enough faith for both of us. I’ll go a bit further and say I promise you we’ll go to Gulf Shores again this spring. The girls have their hearts set on it, and I have prayed you’d be around a while longer.” I tried to laugh. “You know I can’t reach the top of that feeder. I gotta have someone around to do my chores.”

Tears welled in his eyes. “I wish I could always be here for you.”

“You will be.” I struggled to keep from crying. I never let him see me cry. I would—when it was time for us to have that talk he kept referring to, yet that time was not now.

His doctors had diagnosed him with lung cancer and given him only five weeks to live. That was three years ago. Since then we’d traveled south to the Bahamas and north to Canada, covering most of the states between, coming home for him to take a round of chemotherapy and spend time with our family.

Glen sat quietly with his head down. “We’ll talk later, but soon you’re going to have to face it.”

“I know.”

The next day our daughters, Rachel and Beth, met us at the Kentuckiana Cancer Institute. As we waited for the doctor, they tried to hide their fear behind cheerful façades by joking around with their dad. One of them sat on one knee and the other plopped down on the other, ignoring the fact they were both in their twenties.

“Look, Daddy, you got hair!” Rachel tried to gather a bit of fuzz between her fingertips. “I can almost pinch an inch.”

Beth slapped Rachel’s hand away. “Let my daddy’s bald head alone. I like it that way.” They bumped heads as they simultaneously kissed their daddy’s hairless head.

“I’m about to stand up and dump both of you children if you don’t behave yourselves.” He pretended to rise and they almost slid onto the floor. “You two had better go on home and start planning. Spring’s just around the corner.” I saw the veil of panic pass over their faces and I knew what they were thinking, but Glen surprised us. “We’re gonna have us one good time in that RV come spring. We’re going to Gulf Shores.”

Before the discussion went further, the door opened and the doctor walked into the room. He glanced at the files in his hand. A quizzical smile spread across his face. “Mr. Kinsey, I have no explanation, no medical reasons, but the cancer is gone. You, my friend, are cancer-free. I don’t know how or why.”

“I do,” Glen responded. “My family’s been praying.”

We each hugged each other and cried. There were no words for what we felt.

We had our vacation at the beautiful Gulf Shores and rambled around the Florida Panhandle before returning home. It was a miraculous vacation we shall never forget. I had my husband, and my children had their father for two more years before it was finally the right time for that dreaded talk. I thank God for His miracle that extended my husband’s life, and I thank Him even more so for the greatest miracle of all—that my husband believed.

I sit at the kitchen table watching the snow cover the bird feeder, flake by falling flake. Soon the cardinals’ brilliant red plumage will contrast with the snow-clad trees as they scratch in the white-covered seeds. The chickadees’ dark backs will turn light, matching their white bellies, and the woodpecker’s beak will scatter snow as he pecks at the peanut butter and suet cake.

There’s another visitor this morning. A gray mourning dove has joined the other birds as the snowflakes cascade down.

~Jean Thompson Kinsey

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