Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)
TITLE: Perfect Peace
By Jenny Fitch
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She scrambled to put all the dishes down before the ringing stopped. “Hello.”
“Marissa? This is Dr. Denton’s office.”
“Dr. Denton would like to see you tomorrow afternoon.”
“Uh, I guess. Why?”
“He wants to go over your test results.”
“Okay, I’ll be there.”
Marissa’s mind raced as she hung up the phone. <I>What was that about?</I> She called her husband at work. “Mike, the doctor’s office called. They want me to come in tomorrow.”
“How come?” Mike asked.
Marissa’s voice shook. “She wouldn’t say.”
Mike said, “I wouldn’t worry honey. They probably had an inconclusive result and want to rerun a test.”
She prayed and tried not to worry. Her heart pounded as she walked through the door of the doctor’s office. Mike’s arm supported her as she walked toward the front desk. His presence made her feel stronger. She checked in and took a seat to wait. And waited. Her heart jumped in her throat when the nurse called her name.
Marissa’s hand gripped Mike’s.
Dr. Denton walked in, eyes down. He grabbed a chair and settled in front of Marissa. “Thanks for coming in on such short notice.”
“No problem. Did you get my results back?” asked Marissa.
Dr. Denton leaned in and rested his hand on her knee. He stared at his hands. “Marissa, I’m so sorry…” He pulled his eyes up to meet hers. “You have pancreatic cancer.”
His words sucked the air out of her. She couldn’t speak.
Mike’s hand squeezed hers. “How bad?”
“It appears to have spread to other organs. We have some options, which might add a couple of months to her life. There is no cure. I am so sorry.”
She must have heard wrong. <I>No cure? This can’t be happening.</I>
Marissa couldn’t remember getting home. She felt like she was drowning. The water was so cold and dark. <I>Maybe it was all a dream.</I>
Sounds from the kitchen pulled her back to reality. Mike. She tried to lift herself off the couch. She felt so heavy. She pulled her knees into her chest and slumped further into the couch. Her eyes closed. When she opened them, Mike stood there with a cup of tea for her. He nestled in and held her. She snuggled closer, tears streaming down her face. “I don’t want to die.”
Mike held her and ran his fingers through her hair. Silent tears flowed from his eyes. There was nothing to say.
Neither felt like sleeping. Every minute together had become critical. Holding each other, they prayed until the sun peeked through the curtains of their bedroom window.
Marissa always found strength when she prayed. Today the raw pain made her more vulnerable, more open. She laid herself bare before God. Helpless. Afraid. <I>Lord, please, heal me. I’m not ready to die.</I>
The answer to her prayer was not what she expected. God did bring healing. To her heart. He calmed her fears. Peace washed over her like a healing rain. The only sorrow now came from thoughts of her loved ones after her death.
Over the next couple of months, Marissa strived to live each day for her Savior. Her heart rejoiced in the sovereign control of her Lord. She celebrated the gift of time God gave her.
Marissa grew weaker. She could no longer get out of bed. Her slight frame propped on pillows so she could see. Loved ones surrounded her. Read scripture to her. Prayed with her.
The days ran together. Marissa drifted in and out, at times barely conscious. Every waking moment she listened to the beautiful words of scripture being read to her. She smiled weakly. <I>I am so blessed. Lord, You are so good. Thank You for Your peace. Please be with all of these wonderful people when I am gone.</I>
She smiled at the voice of her husband reading to her. <I>Lord, bless him.</I>
“Do not be anxious about anything…peace of God…”
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
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