The Greatest Gift

Connor demonstrated courage, strength, and faith. Each time a nurse poked him with a needle Connor looked up at his father and me with his wide brown eyes to urgently request that we pray for him. And when we prayed God faithfully answered each prayer with an overwhelming comfort and peace that surpassed all understanding as promised in the Bible (Phil. 4:7).

Three intense rounds of chemotherapy were required to treat my five-year-old son from an adult form of leukemia (AML). Often times with the chemotherapy, children suffer from a compromised immune system. Their bodies are unable to fight off infection, which often leads to pneumonia, the most common cause of death.

To survive this form of leukemia Connor needed a donor for a bone marrow transplant. His nine-year-old sister prayed that she could save her brother’s life. God answered Kayla’s prayer by allowing her to be an exact tissue match in all six categories.

People across the country prayed that Connor’s body would accept his sister’s bone marrow. The goal was for his body to start producing healthy blood cells. Our biggest concern was Graft-versus-Host disease. If the body rejected the bone marrow Connor’s life would end.

I carried my Bible with me to the hospital every day, searching the scriptures and praying. I clung to God’s promises through the turmoil of Connor’s illness. Unsure if God would heal my son here on earth or heal him in heaven, I trusted God at His word.

God promises He will work all things for the good to those who love Jesus and are following him, (Romans 8:28). I had no doubt that God would equip and sustain me in whatever outcome prevailed, life or death. I also claimed his promise that He would use me later on to bring comfort and compassion to others who would go through a similar situation, (2 Corinth. 1:3-5).

The previous year I had studied my Bible to learn that I needed to surrender my son to God’s will. Jesus taught me in the Garden of Gethsemane as he prayed to his heavenly Father, “…take this cup of suffering from me, yet not my will be done, but Thy will be done,” (Matt. 26:39).

God gave Jesus the peace that he must suffer the cross on our behalf. He willingly went to the cross to pay the consequence of our sin. His suffering produced a greater good for all of humanity. When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf and invite Him into our heart we have the gift of the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit we have peace in our turmoil, wisdom to guide and direct our path, and resurrection power and strength to endure difficult times here on earth.

Would I have to surrender my child for the greater good? My children are a gift. One I did not deserve, for I had taken the life of my unborn child many years before. I had confessed my sin and mourned the loss of my baby after I accepted Jesus into my heart. I was forgiven and delivered of my past shame, but now I faced the possibility of losing another child.

On Christmas day, my husband left the hospital with our other three young children after opening gifts. In complete isolation Connor slept. I sat next to Connor’s bed wearing my face mask after a five minute beta dine scrub. I cried out to Jesus to heal my son of his leukemia.

I asked God to guide me in his word. Randomly I opened to a page in my Bible. For the first time I read the story in John Chapter four about a royal official who begged Jesus to heal his sick son. The moment I read these words I looked up beyond the white sterile ceiling knowing God was talking to me.

I glanced back to the page to read what God wanted me to know. Jesus said to the royal official, “You may go your son will live.” God spoke to me that Christmas day. I shook my head in amazement, tears filled my eyes as I discovered that Jesus is personal. He gave me hope through his Word that my son would live.

Thirteen days later, the hospital discharged Connor, the first child to be released so soon after a bone marrow transplant. Connor spent the remainder of his one hundred days of isolation at home with our family as an outpatient.

At home Connor said one night as I put him to bed, “Mommy, I’m not afraid to die. I can’t wait to see Jesus and give God a great big hug.” Connor had an amazing faith and peace about the possibility of dying. But God had another plan for Connor.

God healed my son. Since then, I view each day as a precious gift. I may have to give my children and loved ones back to their heavenly Father before I want to. But I have peace. For God told me, my Grace is sufficient for you, (2 Corinth. 12:9).

I imagine that if God had asked me before Connor was born, do you want a son for five years or not have a son at all? Confidently I would have answered, I want my son even if only for five years. I would rather cling to the memories of those precious years to know my son than avoid the suffering of his loss.

My loved ones belong to Him. I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child, but I know God loves me and has a wonderful future for me as I seek Him. God loves us so much that He allows us to struggle in this life so that we might turn to him in our time of need to find an abundant life here and an eternal life in heaven through His Son.

In isolation, without my friends, I discovered Jesus is my best friend. In my marriage struggles I discovered Jesus is my husband. In His word I discovered I am His child, His bride, His princess. God’s grace is sufficient for me. All I need is Jesus, my greatest gift. And I praise God that I received the gift of healing, my son lives.

God’s Word To Live By:

Matthew 9:35
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

Acts 3:16
By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

Proverbs 3:5,6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Jeremiah 29:11-13
God says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, but to give you hope and a future. Then you will seek me with all of your heart and you will find me.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

 

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