Monday, October 22, 2007

Holding up their hands

Julie left an update on the baby girl with neuroblastoma in the comments:
Lauren is recovering from her first round of chemo. She goes again in 30 days for a check of the eye, another round of chemo, and a laser treatment. I know God is holding her in His hands.
Thanks for keeping her, mom Tammy and dad Andrew, in your prayers.

I was thinking of Lauren and her situation yesterday at Mass, because the Old Testament reading was from Exodus 17:
8: Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
9: And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.
10: So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
11: And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
12: But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

13: And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. [Emphasis mine, obviously. ]

That incident struck me as a perfect example of why Christians pray for people we don't know. Tammy and Andrew are obviously praying. I don't know their religion, but they're assuredly praying. (Even if they were atheists before, nobody whose child has cancer is going to refuse to pray on principle, I'll tell you what.) There's no way they can pray as hard as they want to; they're only human. So we, the Body of Christ, step in and hold up their arms, as it were. I don't know Lauren's family, but Julie does. I know Julie, at least within the limitations of the datawaves. Other people by now will have picked up this prayer request who know who I am but have never heard of Julie, much less Lauren's family, before. Last night I brought the prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in Moses Lake, Washington. Julie prayed in Houston, probably not in a Catholic sanctuary. Another Julie in Dallas goes through her blogroll looking for prayer requests, and may have picked this one up by the time you read this. (Update on Tuesday morning: she's got it here.) I know I have Protestant readers in Oregon, Alberta, and wherever Ricki is, among other places. And it extends beyond the Body: my Reverend Auntie, whose ideas of God are so radically heterodox as to no longer constitute Christianity, prays, and I think the real God hears her. I even know a couple of agnostics who would be praying if they were sure whom to address it to, and they're certainly backing us up as far as they can. They may not know God, but they know and love some of God's people.

We're from different communions, different places, and in some cases, even different religions altogether, but in one way or another, we're all lined up to hold up Tammy and Andrew's hands while they pray their hearts out for their baby. We'll probably never meet Lauren in the flesh, but that doesn't matter. She's still our concern to pray for, and God hears not only her parents, but the whole crowd of us supporting their praying hands. And when God's people support the hands of those who pray, neither neuroblastoma nor the Amalekites can defeat us.

Update October 17, 2010: Per Julie:
Lauren is doing GREAT! She has one glass eye -- that was the eye that had the first tumor (it was too late to save that eye) but thank God, they kept checking her other eye, and when a tumor developed in her good eye, they were able to control it with radiation and chemo, and saved her sight. She is very cute and a very happy child.

And via Julie, from Lauren's daddy:
We can always use the prayers, she is doing great, just got a new eye made last week and is as tenacious as a three year old can be. We go on friday to do another EUA (about every four months now, until she is around 5 to 6).

Do we have an incredible God, or what?

No comments: