The Gift of Life

The Gift of Life

Every year, a month or so before Christmas, I used to go to the same office to renew my visa. My visit there was usually made easy by the help of Judy, one of the office staff.

One year, after several minutes of small talk, Judy burst into tears. Her husband’s cancer had returned—he had already had one tumor removed from his liver—and his doctor said he didn’t have long to live. “Thomas is only 42,” said a tearful Judy, “and our two sons are so young!”

I prayed with her for her own peace of mind and for Thomas to be healed, if that was God’s will.

Judy smiled through her tears and thanked me.

When I phoned Judy the next day, she told me Thomas was scheduled for another examination a couple of weeks later, at which time they would have a better idea how much longer he had to live. We arranged to talk more when I returned to finish my paperwork before the New Year.

Christmas had come and gone but strains of “O Come All Ye Faithful” were still running through my mind as I gathered some things for Judy and Thomas to read, including a book of comforting thoughts for the dying and bereaved, Glimpses of Heaven. They were going to need lots of encouragement, I figured.

When I arrived at the office, Judy was not at her desk. I supposed she was with her husband. Surely she was more needed at his side than in the office at this time.

Then suddenly Judy entered the room, and when she saw me, she lit up like a light bulb! She explained that at Thomas’s last checkup, the same doctor who had shown him a clear image of the cancerous tumor on the ultrasound screen before we prayed for his healing couldn’t find any trace of it now. It had completely disappeared, and the doctor was baffled.

Judy and Thomas were ecstatic. They had wanted to phone me to share the wonderful news, but hadn’t been able to find my number. Judy and I rejoiced together, right there in the office.

As I looked down at the Glimpses of Heaven book still in my hand, I realized how little faith I had had that God would answer our prayers. I felt a little embarrassed about that, but very happy that God had given Judy and Thomas a most wonderful Christmas gift—the gift of life.

Michael Palace is a teacher and works among the mountain tribal people of Taiwan.

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