The day was almost over. As I cleaned the room in preparation for the next patient, I heard the intercom blare my name announcing a call waiting for me at the nurses’ station.
I maneuvered my way through the crowded hospital corridor and picked up the first free phone I could find. The grim tone of my brother’s voice caused my heart to leap into my throat.
“They found a large tumor on Mom’s liver.” This was not the first time we had heard the words “tumor” or “cancer.”
Six years earlier, she had fought a hard fight against colon cancer and won. However, we felt the winds of change after a kidney infection landed her in the emergency room earlier that month. Her doctor performed a blood test that indicated her cancer might have returned. The CAT scan confirmed our worst fears. The cancer had spread, or metastasized, to her liver.
“What are we going to do?” Alan’s voice broke through my stunned silence.
After asking a few more questions about my mother’s test results, all I could say was, “I’ll call you back.”
I left the desk and found my husband in another area of the emergency room where we both worked as nurses. I shared the news with him and other co-workers who were standing by. Concerned looks and pats on the shoulder were all they could offer in the way of a solution. My husband turned to me. “What about Rhonda?”
Spurred on by a glimmer of hope, I grabbed the phone. My hands shook as I dialed the number. The din of the emergency room grew faint as I waited for the familiar voice to answer.
“Hey, Rhon. It’s Pam. Can you talk for a minute?”
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
I launched into the story without taking a breath. “Mom has a tumor on her liver. Alan told me her doctor said he can’t operate because it is wrapped around a major blood vessel. What can I do? Who can I take her to?”
Then came the inevitable question, “What kind of insurance does she have?”
I took a deep breath “She doesn’t have any.”
The silence that followed was shattered by my friend’s determined voice, “Pam, give me a minute and I will call you back.” The phone went dead.
As I waited, my heart began to sink. How would my mother get the care she needed? Mom had survived two major surgeries, six weeks of radiation, and eighteen months of chemotherapy. After she went into remission, my parents tried to obtain some sort of health coverage for her. All of these efforts were fruitless. Because of her history, no conventional insurance company would touch her. She was too young for Medicare, and when she tried applying for Medicaid, she was told she would have to divorce my father in order to qualify for benefits. After fifty years of marriage, this was not an option. Furthermore, even if we had the funds, where would she get a doctor? Few surgeons in the state would call themselves qualified to tackle such a case, and, if they did, it could take months to get an appointment. Our chances seemed bleak. It was an impossible situation.
Throughout the Bible, we find story after story of men and women surrounded by circumstances that had no viable solution. In the Old Testament, we read about a couple of senior citizens waiting for a promised child to be born. Let us not forget the runaway murderer commissioned by God to lead Israel out of centuries of slavery against the super power of his day. How about the Israeli leader who needed more hours of daylight in order to defeat the enemy? All of these were impossible situations.
In the New Testament, we can feel the anxiety of the disciples as five thousand hungry people waited for the meal Jesus announced that He would provide. Ponder this: Lazarus was dead. Mary and Martha were racked with grief when Jesus finally arrived three days later. “Where were you?” they cried. More impossible situations.
The list goes on and on, but with every insurmountable obstacle, God comes through. Abraham and Sarah have a healthy baby boy. Moses brings the children of Israel out of bondage after four hundred years of oppression while being chased by the entire Egyptian army. Joshua defeated the enemy when God made the sun stand still. Jesus not only fed five thousand men, but also all the women and children who were there with food to spare. Much to the delight of Mary and Martha, Jesus brought Lazarus back to life. When the world shakes its head and announces there is no way, God flexes His muscles on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him, (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Replaying the events of that day, I feel humbled and honored at the evidence of God’s hand at work in Mom’s life. Little did I know that God would use an old friendship to bring about a new solution. When the call finally came, Rhonda’s voice rang full of confidence.
“Pam, the doctor I work for has agreed to see your Mom. He is one of the best trauma surgeons in Florida. And, because of where her tumor is located, we are going to enroll her in the teaching program so all her hospital costs will be covered. She won’t have to pay for a thing.”
Friend, are you facing an impossible situation? Perhaps a loved one has been touched by an unexpected illness like my mother, or your checkbook shows more withdrawals than deposits. If so, just remember what God asked Jeremiah in chapter 32, verse 27: “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too difficult for me?” When we see obstacles, God sees opportunities. God is ready, willing, and able to do all that we need. Turn the burden over to Him, ignite your faith, and watch the hand of God turn your situation around.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for working all things for my good. Give me a loyal heart so that you can ‘show Yourself strong’ in my life. Bring to my mind how You have rescued me in the past. Increase my faith so I can see Your solution to my impossible situation. In Jesus’ name, amen.”