God Has a Purpose for Your Life

Our lives do not happen in a void. http://wp.me/p2UZoK-H8 via @blestbutstrest #kisscancergoodbyeI haunted the hallways, waiting for the doctors to finish their regular morning meeting in the corner room. For days Pedro’s life had hung in the balance while a yeast infection in his blood ravaged his cancer-weakened body. The chemo treatment he had received shortly before the yeast started colonizing had killed off his white blood cells, and his body had nothing left to fight the newest onslaught.

The day before, the doctors had discussed giving Pedro a white blood cell transplant, and had asked about possible sibling donors. I had called Pedro’s only sibling and he stood by, ready to fly to San Francisco and do whatever it took to help out.

I let everyone back home and all of the people on the update email list know about the special prayer request—that Pedro’s brother be a match and that the white blood cell transfusion would turn the tide.

When I saw the resident on call walking towards Pedro’s hospital room, I rushed over and exclaimed, “Pedro’s brother can be here in four hours. Does he need to do anything before he comes to see if he’s a match?”

The doctor shook his head, “A match for what?”

“The white blood cell transfusion!” I exclaimed. I knew everyone discussed each patient every morning, so surely this doctor knew what Pedro needed.

“No one told you?” he asked.

“What?” my heart wavered between my toes and its usual place. The doctor’s stoic expression didn’t reveal much.

“He won’t need the white blood cell transfusion!” A smile broke out on his face. “He’s producing his own white blood cells.” His face sobered. “Now we wait some more.”

I stood there, stunned, as he hurried off down the hallway, muttering something about miracles under his breath.

A miracle of epic proportions, indeed. Pedro’s body had started producing white blood cells again two days earlier than it had at any other point during treatment. The prayer warriors had prayed for a successful transplant, and instead God had provided something even better—he had given Pedro the ability to fight on his own without another procedure.

Looking back, I don’t understand the reason for the miracle (maybe I suffer from a bit of survivor’s guilt by proxy). Thousands of others have prayed for healing and for miracles, and God has answered their prayers differently. My own grandpa suffered a slow death from mesothelioma (lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos).

But this I do know. God has a purpose for each of us. Our lives do not happen in a void. (tweet this)

Maybe that doctor needed to see a miracle in order to believe in God. Perhaps a nurse needed to know that the selfless way she poured herself out each day on the cancer ward really did make a difference.

Maybe I needed to realize that my arranging and organizing and control had little effect on the outcome of Pedro’s journey—God would perform miracles in his own time and of his own choosing. I needed to relinquish the driver’s seat and concentrate on prayer.

Almost thirteen years have passed since that incident, and Pedro is living out his God-sized dream as the principal of a mission school for Native students. The work never ends, it seems. I don’t mind, though, because I know that God saved him for such a time as this.

Today is World Cancer Day, and I’d like to thank God, first of all, for healing Pedro. I would also like to thank God’s hands and feet—the doctors and nurses at the University of California, San Francisco Parnassus campus who work tirelessly in the Hematology Oncology clinic and in the trenches on Eleven Long. Thank you. Your dedication to healing and helping thirteen years ago makes a difference in the lives of troubled kids today.

What about you? Is there anyone you want to than

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Hi Friend.:) Glad to be your neighbor at Coffee for Your Heart. Yes, this, “Maybe I needed to realize that my arranging and organizing and control had little effect on the outcome of Pedro’s journey—God would perform miracles in his own time and of his own choosing. I needed to relinquish the driver’s seat and concentrate on prayer.”
    Katie Reid (@ImprintsKatie) recently posted…Dear Tightly Wound Woman: Unrealistic ExpectationsMy Profile

    • It’s funny how often we think we’re in control or have control. We’re all first class delusionists ;).

  • What a powerful story of God’s healing in Pedro’s life! I love how He is able to do all things and all things well. How he uses people, medical staff, teachers – all followers of him – to carry out his plans and purposes. Today I’m thankful for a Christian coach that shared his testimony to our high school students yesterday at school. Our son came home saying he was almost in tears as he heard his story. Christian teachers in both dark and places of light have a tremendous impact on our kids.
    Melody recently posted…When we act bigger than we really areMy Profile

    • I’m so glad your son had a Christian coach who was willing to share his testimony. And I’m so glad that he uses us–no matter where we’re planted–to affect the lives of others.

  • What an encouraging testimony, Anita. God always has a plan. Amen!
    Susan Shipe recently posted…do i believe?My Profile

    • :). Sometimes, we don’t understand the plan–but we know he’ll be with us!

  • OK, I’m a bit loopy from pain today…I read your first sentence as “I haunted the hallway, waiting for the witch doctors to finish their morning meeting…”

    I agree that God has a purpose for us all, but it’s a part of His grand mosaic. My illness could be taken in and turned into self-pity, or I can try to spread some hope around, that even when one is truly – please forgive me – f***ed, one can still do one good thing in every moment.

    I don’t think God cares too much about my plans; he does care about ME, and that I fulfill His hopes for me by helping me do my duty.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…LOVE-U : U For UnbendMy Profile

    • I’m so glad I’m not the only one who reads things too quickly/hears things wrong and thinks, “HUH?” Our daughters WERE convinced that one of Pedro’s physicians was evil (his name was Dr. Daemon–we had to explain that Daemon was not the same as ‘demon’, nor was it pronounced the same). Andrew, your attitude inspires me. No matter how bad things are, your determination to let God use you in the moment just blows my mind. May He continue to give you courage to face each day and grant you comfort along the way.

    • I think He is still using your miracle to be a witness to others.
      Laura recently posted….advice.My Profile

  • What an incredibly beautiful post this is, Anita. Thank you so much for sharing Pedro’s story and the power of prayer and positive mental attitude. There are some things that happen in life that defy all reason and it sounds as though Pedro’s prognosis and ability to produce his own white blood cells falls under this categor.

    Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful words with us today (and for leaving a comment so I could find you here!) XOXO
    Charlotte recently posted…The man who almost ruined it allMy Profile

    • And thank you for stopping by for a visit!

  • Yeah, just two more things…I hit “post” too quick.

    First, I am SO GLAD that Pedro’s making it.

    Second…and I’m going to be transparent, which is hard for an ex-merc…there are days when your words are a lifebelt of hope.

    I’m not weak, or some wimpy-ass intellectual. My working tools of choice were an AK and an SVD (the ‘Dragunov’, in popular parlance). I know how to exfil under a black Huey, on strings. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt, but the dogs used it as bedding.

    There are days when it hurts too much to go on, and you have given me a reason to get up, keep moving. Your faith has CARRIED me, when mine fell short.

    Anita, you make a difference.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…LOVE-U : U For UnbendMy Profile

    • Thank you for your powerful words of affirmation, Andrew. Sometimes I feel like I’m calling in the dark and there’s no one out there–so it’s wonderful to know that I can make a difference–and after all, that’s why we’re here–to make a difference for each other and to carry each other’s burdens and always, always, lead each other closer to God. It must be so tough for you to be the one who needs the carrying when your life has centered around being the carrier and bearer of burdens. Rest gently in His arms, my friend. He holds you up day after day. He never fails.

  • I just love reading more about your story… praying and praising and giving thanks for Pedro’s healing with you, friend!
    ~Karrilee~ recently posted…On How Declarations of Wonder Are All Around You…My Profile

    • :). Thank you for stopping by and discovering more!

  • I thank every last person who’s walked with my mom and my sister through their multiple battles with cancer. And I am grateful to Jesus Christ. Beyond measure. For allowing our family this grace.

    Thank you, Anita. Yes, miracles still happen.

    Although they don’t always look like what we expected …
    Linda@Creekside recently posted…His Wedding Ring . . . and A Handful of Gleanings That Just Might Jumpstart Your MarriageMy Profile

    • Amen! I’m so glad you had and have someone walking alongside your family through your tough times. Without the grace of God and the people he sent to help us, I would have been balled up in the fetal position most of the time.

  • Your way of bringing us in to this tragic yet beautiful time is wonderful. So glad he I’d living his dream! Yea God! FEAR NOT
    Debra Alexander recently posted…Day 28 / 365 Fear Not – Our SinMy Profile

    • Amen! When God is for us, whom should we fear?

  • I love this post. God is great! And what a lovely tribute to Him and to the people who helped Him do his work.
    Laura recently posted…Five Tips On Getting Things DoneMy Profile

  • I love this!!! Its at that moment when everything hangs in the balance that life stands still. Nobody can really relate unless they have been there. There is purpose and that moment…that brief whisper from God right when we need it the most…that my friend will never be forgotten. What an inspiring moment you shared! Love this!!
    Bethany Boring recently posted…One Branch RemainsMy Profile

    • Don’t you love those grace notes from God?

  • Hi Anita. What a testimony! God does, indeed, have a purpose for each of us. How wonderful his miracles are. I was healed of pretty severe rheumatoid arthritis. Not life-threatening (usually), but I would have been in a wheel chair by now if not for my Lord’s mercy. Yes, he answers others’ prayers differently, but He has a purpose for them as well.
    Betsy de Cruz recently posted…3 Ways to Encourage Our Kids’ FaithMy Profile

    • I love hearing miracle stories! And it’s even better to hear/know how someone used the miracle for God’s purpose after the healing.

  • Wow! That is an awesome miracle Anita! I love when God steps in, usually about the time I am arranging things my way. 🙂 His ways are always better, even when we don’t understand them.
    Sarah Donegan recently posted…God Can Use MakeupMy Profile

    • Isn’t that the truth?! I always seem to get caught up in my arranging ;). But I’m learning!

  • When you referred to how maybe the doctor needed to see a miracle to believe on God or the nurse needed to know what she did made a difference, I can’t help but to imagine the many others lives the miracle for your husband impacted. Because God often uses something far beyond what we see. Gives me goosebumps. Blessings to you.
    Beth S. recently posted…Remember His FaithfulnessMy Profile

  • Wow, Anita – the “as such a time as this” moments just never cease to amaze me. The things that often feel so out of reach and suck all our power that ultimately reveal the unending reach and mighty power of God. We run and race and plan, and God just moves right by us and does incredible and beautiful things. Oh, so, so grateful that He is able! Thanks for sharing this story with us. Blessings!
    Tiffany recently posted…We Are the ChurchMy Profile

    • I’m with you! God directs our paths in ways we would never imagine and for purposes we might not know until heaven. But that’s ok.