Doctors talk percentages. Chances. Likelihood. This child has 30% chance. This other child, 10%. And this one over here…this one with the cancer relapse…she has 1% chance of survival. I don’t have to be around the hospital too long before my own mind starts looking at situations through the lens of likelihood. This child with the 1%, she has parents who want to keep fighting. They want to try everything, even if it doesn’t change the 1%. You can easily look at those parents as people in denial. People who should be focusing on making these last days ones of love, peace and “goodbye”.
But, the parents insist on not giving up. So, doctors roll their eyes….nurses sigh deeply. They know what this means. To keep fighting means to prolong the inevitable. It means more suffering. More pain. More struggle before the child is allowed to die. I found myself easily, and quickly, and naturally joining them in the frustration…in the judgment.
And then I walk into the room. I see her. She is beautiful, energetic and silly. She looks like any other 1-year-old. You would never know that inside her body a battle rages on…a brutal battle that is going to end in death. Or is it? The grandmother hears that I’m a chaplain and is quick to share her faith. God is going to move…mightily! God is going to bring a miracle! She looks at me expectantly…expecting that I believe the same. “It’s only when the doctors’ hands stop, that God’s hands come in.” She is trusting in a miracle, and so is the rest of the family…and her church community. And the cloud of witnesses who are watching…and who are praying. They are not in denial. They acknowledge the sobering probability that this baby is going to be taken from them. But they are simultaneously clinging to the promises of God! The promise that God heals, redeems…and performs miracles.
I feel the stirring of my spirit in that room. God can perform miracles. He can save this beautiful baby! I forgot. I forgot that I stand on that truth. I forgot just how much I trust that God can, and might, move…regardless of percentages. He can move in the 1% just as easily as He can move in the 30%. He moves despite the doubts of doctors, the frustration of nurses or the fears of family. He moves when it’s His will to move…and we do not know when that is going to be. All we can do is pray, have faith, trust in His Will and stand in the truth of God’s love for miracles.
I am not a medical professional. I do not think in percentages, and I must work diligently to not let my medical surroundings influence my faith. I am there to believe in the Love and Power that is bigger and stronger than any likelihood. Patients and their families look to the chaplain to find…and cling to…hope. And it is a hope that is real and alive and active…so I will stand in that 1% with them.
The most important thing in illness is never to lose heart. ~Nikolai Lenin
Hope is the physician of each misery. ~Irish Proverb