"Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:21,22, KJV)
"God help me, I feel like throwing up!"
The familiar, unrelenting nausea was there again, like a thief in the night, intruding into Faith's quiet time. She closed the book and set it back on the table, tortured by these words of Jesus that had once lit up her soul.
She must have read the passage a hundred times. Turned it over in her head a thousand more. Preached to numerous others this gospel of the kingdom: that Jesus Christ was everything. That the same miracles he did in Bible times He still performed today. How many times had she encouraged her friends, neighbors and family - everyone she met, in fact - to believe these Words and be healed? And many of them had been.
Instantaneously. Miraculously. Supernaturally.
A girl with a fever. A boy with a malignant tumor. A woman with a fractured wrist. A man born deaf. Those were just a few examples of the sorts of people upon whom she had laid her hands and prayed. And all of them had been made well.
Instantaneously. Miraculously. Supernaturally.
Faith sighed. She didn't know which was worse: the chemo therapy itself or the fact that such a treatment went against everything she believed as a Christian.
"What a hypocrite I feel like," she thought. "Taking chemo even though I know it's not God's best for me. And why do those words keep ringing in my head? 'She healed others. But she couldn't heal herself.' It makes me ill!"
Her stomach churned anew. It wouldn't be long now.
That's right. Get it over with, barf factory.
Unexpectedly the acids settled down. But it was only a matter of time. Faith ran a finger across her thinning scalp and felt ten-plus strands come off.
Sigh. More beauty in the trash can. What a pity! "I used to have such gorgeous hair! But now - now this!"
Oh why hadn't she stood up to Aunt Zelda, that obnoxious pillar of common sense and human wisdom whose banner "A Woman's Right To Control Her Own Body" flew in the face of this shove-the-medicine-down-your-throat no-choice tyranny!
"Some right to my own body!" Faith thought bitterly. "If she's so in favor of others having a free choice, then why does she push so hard to silence everyone who disagrees with her? She makes me sick!"
Of course most Christians Faith knew believed that that she was doing the right thing putting her fate in the doctors' hands. Even if it was unbearable. After all, every "thorn in the flesh" always came with a certain amount of pain. Just like the cross of Christ, of whose sufferings she must partake in order to experience His glory. (Romans 8:17, KJV)
But wasn't that verse speaking of persecution? And what was Paul's "thorn in the flesh anyway? Was it really an eye problem, like so many people seemed to think?"
Faith glanced at a snippet of the bulletin sticking out of her Bible with various prayer needs listed at the bottom of page three. "And please pray for Faith Smith, that her body would accept the chemotherapy and God would guide the doctors' hands."
Eeyew, oh, oooooh, yuck!
"Get me out of here!"
Faith flung the door open. Then slammed it shut. She threw the lid up.
Here it came, welling up from the depths of her stomach. Another dinner in the toilet.
Ten minutes later Faith was back in bed, staring at the ceiling, wishing she could die.
"Please, God," she sighed. "Tell me. I have to hear it again - from you, and no one else. Didn't you tell me to listen to my parents and accept the chemo?"
The answer came clear as a bell.
"And will you use it to cure me of the lupus?"
"Then I'm going to die."
"But I thought you told me I'd live."
"I don't get it," moaned Faith. "I just don't get it."
Four months later at the funeral she understood.
"Oh Lord, I'm so happy here in heaven, surrounded by angels, thrilled to be in your presence! Why, there's nothing at all like it down on earth! And to think I ever doubted your sovereign plan! It was worth it! It was all worth it! The needles, the hair loss, the pain! All of it was worth it, every single bit!"
Faith was surprised to see the serious look on Jesus' face. His eyes were full of love; his face glad, yet at the same time tinged with sorrow.
"What?" she wondered. "Have I done something wrong?"
"No, it's not that. You must go back."
"Me, go back? But Lord, I - why, I could just die!"
"You already did. Now's not the time to celebrate."
"But - but why?"
"I would like to keep you here, Faith Smith. But your work on earth is not yet finished. Your name is written in my book of life. But what of those others who do not yet believe? No, you cannot stay here. For the sake of love you must go back and tell them of the things that you have seen and heard."
Faith's heart sank. Leave heaven? But she had just arrived two days ago! How sad to have to go so soon! And yet she could not deny the truth of her Lord's words. She must go back.