Jesus Loves Angela
Updated: Jan 6, 2022
Well, of course, Jesus loves Angela! Jesus loves everyone, right? But let me tell you--Jesus loves ANGELA!
My wife is going through an unexpected ordeal since last spring. In April she was diagnosed with breast cancer, or rather, breast cancers. What started as a small shadow on one side turned out to get a cancer diagnosis and as the doctors then investigated further, they found another unrelated cancer on the other side. They were a bit stupefied and ran more tests to confirm what they were seeing. And the second cancer that didn't show up in their first tests was found in her lymph node--it had already metastasized. That means, it was potentially moving through her body to other organs. They hustled to get her into chemotherapy as soon as possible.
We have learned a lot about breast cancer this year. Maybe if you got that diagnosis, you would have rushed off to the Googleverse to fully understand it all, but my reaction was surprisingly passive. I recognized that this was a job for the experts and all the study in the world would not greatly benefit our reaction. But her diagnosis did deeply move me and I broke down to some church friends and found an amazing response. We soon discovered that we unwittingly were friends with several cancer survivors that rallied with empathy, prayers, and practical help. So many expressed concern, prayed for us, and several brought thoughtful gifts, sent cards, and cooked meals. It was beautiful to see the body of Christ mobilized.
The chemotherapy took its toll. Angela is a resilient woman. Every three weeks she had to sit in an armchair for six or seven hours while the oncologist poured healing poison into her veins. She had all the side-effects: hair loss, burning sensations, weakness, fatigue. We braced ourselves emotionally for the range of possibilities as her stature gradually declined. But then it was over! We were thrilled when she had her last treatment. Ahead lay surgery and radiation, but that was a cakewalk compared to the chemo.
Then the day arrived for her surgery. We were naturally apprehensive as the day approached. On the morning of, I accompanied her into the surgical center. The administrative staff graciously waved the COVID restrictions to allow me to be with her as she was anesthetized.
As she lay there prepped and waiting, one doctor after another came by to check on her to make sure she had followed the necessary pre-op instructions and that she knew what the procedures were. Finally, a crowd of medical personnel parted to let the surgeon pass through.
We had met her a few times before, but Dr. Evans in her scrubs seemed a bit more transcendent. She went up to Angela and asked her all the questions that had already been asked, explained the procedure again, then looked up at me and asked if we had any more questions. I managed to stammer out, "Can we pray together?"
To our surprise, Dr. Evans reached out and with one hand grabbed my hand, and laid the other on Angela and said, "Of course!" and began to lead us in a wonderful prayer of commitment of herself and Angela! She asked the Lord to guide her eyes and hands as she worked. We looked up to see that the medical personnel had retreated a step and closed the curtain to give the three of us privacy. Then the anesthesiologist stepped in, and I willingly stepped back to consign Angela to their care and they whisked her off.
Only an hour and a half later, Dr. Evans called me from the operating room to tell me that they had cut out tumors and lymph nodes, but found no cancer in them! Angela was being wheeled into post-op and would soon be ready to go home.
A week later Angela had a follow up appointment with the surgeon. We sat in an examination room until Dr. Evans entered with a knock and came in looking down and fixated on Angela's medical file. As she read, she spoke out, "Jesus loves you!" What joyous words! What an unexpected source! We sat together and poured out our gratitude both to our believing doctor who shared our faith and in the God who is in the process of saving Angela from cancer.
Angela committed her life to Christ decades ago. She is ready to meet Jesus. In fact she would openly share Paul's sentiment, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain!" We are aware of life's risks, and if her prognosis was not as optimistic we would still have to state boldly, "Jesus loves Angela!" His love is obvious. He died to give her eternal life. But we found such comfort and rest in the words of her surgeon reflecting the positive outcome.