Just before the clock struck midnight New Year’s Eve, I received a notice on Facebook of an urgent prayer request from Bismarck. We were just about to clink our champagne glasses of sparkling grape juice here at home when, after checking the time on my phone, I read that a young woman — whose path I’d crossed briefly while working at the Fargo Diocese in 2012 — had ended her 2014 learning of a very unexpected stage-4 cancer diagnosis.
Though feeling very unsettled, I didn’t say anything to my family. Instead, I clinked away and celebrated the upcoming year with them. But inside, I was in knots just as the New Year was emerging.
From what I have observed, namely from attending a faith conference a couple falls ago that Michelle helped organize and lead, she is a truly faith-filled young woman — the kind of person God would undoubtedly delight in having work on His behalf on this good but troubled earth for years to come.
I knew that in receiving this news, I was being called to be one of many prayer warriors for Michelle, who joins other friends in ardent need of prayer in 2015.
When I signed up to receive Michelle’s Caringbridge entries to keep up with her journey, I began reading her sister’s reflections and was quickly and deeply drawn in. I realized that being a prayer warrior for Michelle, though hopefully helpful to her, will also be a gift to me as I keep up with those accounts.
“This is what faith is,” I thought. Faith is learning your sister has just been handed a burden beyond comprehension and, by default, choosing to trust fully in the Lord anyway. Faith is facing a long, dark tunnel, wanting nothing more than to run screaming in the opposite direction, and yet taking the hand of a loved one and leading them into the tunnel, and moving through it together, without any clarity on where it will lead. Just doing it. And trusting.
Could I do the same? I’m not so sure. None of us can know unless or until it happens to us, can we? So I figure the only thing we can do is prepare for that possible eventuality, hoping it will never be handed to us, but also that if it should come to that, that we might be as ready to face whatever might be as Michelle’s loved ones.
In her sister’s renditions of what has taken place so far, I detect no signs of hopelessness, despite the cloud that undoubtedly looms over their lives at present. No, instead the family has chosen to focus on the gift of amazing doctors and taking one day at a time and seeing this cross as an opportunity to spend time with her dear one.
I’m not asking you to sign up for the journal entries — though please do if you feel compelled — but would you join me in praying for Michelle and her family? It seems an unjust thing that such a light would be at risk for being diminished. I just have to believe, as the family no doubt believes, that a miracle is coming. But just how will this miracle manifest? Perhaps it has already begun to unfold.
I will prayerfully watch and learn. Michelle and her sister have already taught me something new about faith, and for that I am grateful. Above all, I pray that good things will come this family’s way.
Q4U: What are your prayer requests for 2015? I’m happy to add them to my list, too!