When my son battled cancer, I never asked “Why?” I put my son and my trust in the hands of God. Throughout his illness I prayed for healing. I knew my God was bigger than cancer. I had always been taught if I had enough faith and stood on scripture, the sick would be healed.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
Each night I prayed with my son. We took turns praying. We prayed for family. We prayed for friends. Everything that was on the heart of an 8-year-old boy was lifted up to the Lord. Always we prayed for healing.
Many months into my son’s battle with cancer, we enjoyed a late night bowl of ice cream. Medications he was on caused hunger. In standard practice of our family, a late night bowl of ice cream should not be consumed alone. In fact, it should be shared and include an ample amount of chocolate sauce.
Over our snack, my son discussed what he thought it might be like in heaven. It had become a common topic in recent weeks. We laughed together over his idea to park monster trucks in the living room of the family celestial mansion. He insisted he would have a great time putting skid marks on streets of gold, and was sure Jesus would want to ride shotgun.
Despite our banter and discussion of eternity, I held fast to the promise of healing. Through my resolve came a whisper. An innocent question my son had asked weeks before. “Mom, do you think God will heal me in heaven?” His prayers changed after that question. He continued to pray for healing, but he prayed for God’s will as to where his healing would come. “Please heal me Lord. It’s okay if you heal me here on earth, or if you heal me in heaven.”
As our laughter over heavenly monster trucks subsided, I tried to push the whisper away. I commented, “I hope God heals you soon.”
A warm gentleness filled the room. My son let out a quiet sigh. He spoke softly, and with a tenderness far beyond his few years. “Mom, God wants to heal me. He just wants to heal me in heaven. There’s no cancer in heaven.”
I began feeling the role of parent and child had somehow changed. We ate our ice cream in silence for several minutes as I fought back tears. Finally I tried to reason with my son “I want you to grow up.” He responded simply, “Jesus wants me to grow up too. He just wants me to grow up in heaven.”
I continued to pray for healing for my son. My mothers heart was determined to change the will of God, and yet I knew it was really my heart changing.
As my son continued to deteriorate, we talked about his fears. He insisted he was not afraid to die and go to heaven, but he was afraid of what his body would have to go through to get there. He rapidly lost all mobility and the ability to verbally communicate.
His oncologist had told us to expect him to be in pain at the end. Potentially weeks in and out of a coma. We were assured he would be kept comfortable. I privately wept in prayer. “Lord, if he is in pain, take him home quickly.”
The first and last night my son felt pain, we were in the hospital. For a few hours my husband sat next to the bed on his left, and I was on the right. We held his hands. We told him we loved him. We told him it was okay to go home. We reminded him of our earlier instruction not to hold on for us. It was okay to go home when Jesus and the angels came to get him. “Go with Jesus,” I whispered.
It was some time after my son took his final breath before my husband rose to notify the nurse. He verified there was no pulse and gently laid his hand down. He walked to the door, and as he put his hand on the knob I said, “Wait!”
Praise the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your disease. Psalms 103:2
I never asked “why” my son wasn’t healed. Not initially. With passing years I have seen others face illness and loss, as well as experienced it again in my own family. Many times I’ve been asked how I was able to walk the path I was put upon in losing a child, why did I think he wasn’t healed and why did he have to die.
Quite simply, I could not have walked the path without faith. I believe my son was healed. Scripture says the Lord will heal our disease, but it does not say where. I used to think healing applied to this side of heaven. I believe it is so much more. I believe God is so much bigger then I can ever hope or imagine.
My son displayed amazing faith and trust in God. He did not give up. He fought cancer hard. He was surrendered to Gods will. He did not doubt where he would go when he died. Because of that, he was ready. Shouldn’t we all live each day ready?
I believe healing encompasses so much more than what we imagine in our earthly existence. Maybe healing is for both sides of heaven. For certain I know the words spoken by an eight year old to be true. There is no cancer in heaven!