By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
On Wednesday of last week I was feeling pretty good about myself. I had written an editorial which normally doesn’t happen until the end of the week prior to publication on Monday.
But then I received an e-mail which contained a Facebook posting from Susie Edwards, a long-time staff member of the Baptist and Reflector, and, more importantly, a longtime friend. The editorial I had written was no longer relevant and I tossed it aside.
For nearly two years Susie has battled cancer. We thought she had gotten through the worst of it at one point, but that was not the case. Cancer has developed in other areas of her body.
She recently completed an aggressive round of chemotherapy and thousands upon thousands of people were praying that the tumors in her body would shrink.
Results from her scan, however, were not positive. Here is what Susie wrote about discovering the bad news:
“The day has been a trying one. I admit that I had a meltdown about 10 this morning but Mark was so good. He didn’t try to offer any explanations or make light of the situation. He was just there with just the right ‘whatever’ I needed.
“What a blessing he is. After we left Dr. Penley’s office, I asked Mark if this was the time to wonder if prayer works. As soon as I got those words out of my mouth, I said no. Here I am relatively healthy, able to get out and go to church, do retail therapy (Susie’s code word for shopping), take a trip, be with people I love, have a pretty normal life. In the waiting room we saw a woman who may have been younger than me, in a wheelchair being helped by someone who might be her husband. She looked like she was having a really bad day and probably has experienced many bad days recently. I said a short prayer for her. After I asked and answered my ‘does prayer work’ question, I remembered this lady and lots of others who are suffering so much more than I am.
“Yes, we have been praying for the tumors to shrink and the meds to work. We have also prayed that I will have good days. We have prayed for other friends who have serious illnesses to be healed and they have been.
“So, yes, prayers do work. I don’t remember who said it but ‘God gives His presence even when He doesn’t give His protection.’ We have experienced this time and time again on this journey. We are human and we still have our meltdowns and pity parties but they don’t last long and we soon recognize and feel His overwhelming presence. Such is today. We are very disappointed about the scan results and the ineffectiveness of the drugs but we know Who holds the future and all we have needed His hand has provided.”
What a word from a trooper who has been through the battle.
Susie is an inspiration to me and numerous other people each and every day. There are days when I complain about a new ache or pain, but then I think about Susie and all that she has been through and I feel ashamed.
As Susie so eloquently pointed out, we all will have times of feeling sorry for ourselves and even question God why bad things are happening.
We all need to follow Susie’s example and hold onto the truth that God indeed is in control, even when it seems like life is spiraling downward.
Continue to pray for Susie Edwards and her family. Through adversity she has been a positive witness for the Lord who she loves with all of her heart. May He continue to be glorified through Susie’s journey.