Miracles, medicine and mysteries

Earlier this year, my mother was diagnosed with a 5cm uterine tumour. She was then sent from the local clinic to Peter McCallum hospital in Melbourne for further tests and surgery.

Being my mother (who has had skin cancers disappear and blocked arteries cleared by the power of prayer in the past) she set about to pray. Sure enough, by the time her second appointment came around, there was no trace of anything.

The specialist at the follow-up appointment was informed that Mum and her friends had prayed. He just kept looking at the two sets of scans dumbfounded, shaking his head and saying "I've never seen anything like it".

It appears to be a true miracle.

I was so relieved my mum is OK. But I was left with a deep pang within. Why did my mother in her 80's receieve a miraculous healing, while my sister in her early 50's watched the slow progress of supposedly untreatable cancer through her bones? Why are a few graced with a miracle, but many others only graced with perserverance? These are very difficult questions to answer.

Well, the recent news for my sister is far more promising... the doctors have trialled a fairly new drug, and it appears to be working well with minimal side effects. It is possible the cancer will be managed after all... not by God's miracle, but perhaps by God-given wisdom granted to scientists and doctors. Either way a mercy.

The way my sister has managed her (initially dismal) diagnosis has been a miracle to me. She has been accepting, she has lived life to the full, she has trusted her true home is in heaven with God, she has been grateful she has lived to this point after facing breast cancer 10 years earlier, she has prayed for courage to face the pain ahead of her. She has faced a dismal diagnosis with such dignity she is an impressive advocate for faith. Sometimes grace is granted in the midst of difficulty, when we would of course prefer the grace that removes difficulty.

This account opens up so many questions, and brings us to the threshold of mystery. Why do some suffer? Why are some healed... but not others? How much of the task of redemption of creation is left in the hands of humankind (including the research scientists of this world) and how much is left in the hands of God?

There are no easy answers. But I am deeply moved by the grace that has come to my family this year, one way or the other.


AbiSomeone said…
Praise God for his mercies, regardless of whether or not we understand them, eh?

I'm always pondering this very question -- reading a book on Job at this very moment -- and it always goes back to the fact that we do not know what is truly best for anyone. We must leave that to God.

Don't we hate not being in control! ;^)
John Lynch said…
I feel that as well. Grateful for God's abundant grace and mercy... and deeply troubled at how to actively participate in them as appears biblically normal. Thanks for writing on this and telling this part of your story.
Janet Woodlock said…
Hey, thanks for dropping by John... I've had a sticky-beak at your blog and have enjoyed your writing... I especially love the heading of your blog... reflects something of what I was rambling about on TFW.

The latest update is that there's been no progression of cancer in my sister's latest scans, which is great... seems the drug is doing something good!

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