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God Answers Persistent Prayer

Sharon Atwell tells the story of her daughter Kate in June of 2000 having a backache and diagnosed with leukemia. She went through chemo but by August she had a seizure and was unconscious. While getting treated at St. Jude an infection attacked her brain. Only six cases of this deadly meningitis had ever been documented. It wasn’t a matter of, if she would die, but when. She hung on for 5 months as the family carried on a 24/7 vigil by her bedside, with their other daughter caring for the home and her husband splitting time between work and the hospital. But then the autonomic storms hit which attacked Kate’s nervous system skyrocketing her temp to 109 degrees, her pulse to 240 and her blood pressure to 185/135. When they did subside, her heart would pause between beats that left Sharon pleading for the next heartbeat. The doctors told Sharon that they needed to decide if Kate was going to die in the hospital or at home. Her family immediately decided to bring Kate home. Sharon was given a crash course by the ICU staff. Christmas came but it was a subdued holiday. Sharon’s days were filled with caring and checking in on Kate and every time she left the room, she was gripped with fear that Kate would slip away before she got back. Desperation and desolation trapped her. Her church, the doctors and nurses and her husband’s co-workers prayed incessantly for her. Many shared that they felt God’s hand was on Kate and that she was going to recover. So she clung to those prayers and messages of hope given to her as a sign from God.

By March, Kate had another surgery and the doctor said, I see miracles all of the time. When Kate got home, she started to make facial expressions like the itchy face when she didn’t like something. Then she was able to nod and then she was able to follow simple commands and then communicate with one finger. She couldn’t still talk or see but she could blow kisses. Months and months of physical therapy followed. Then in September, Sharon told Kate she loved and Kate mouthed the words back to her. Her sight came back in November. By December, Kate was eating real food. In May of the following year, Kate went to her sister’s graduation ceremony. In December she wheeled the Olympic torch through downtown Memphis. In February of 2002, Kate graduated to a walker and on August 12, she returned to school three years after she had fallen sick. And then Sharon writes, “My baby girl is growing up and growing stronger, moving boldly into her future. And I can only marvel at how, when you live not in fear but in hope, trusting God completely, taking step after step with your hand in his, every day is a miracle.”

From a sermon by Tim Smith, Are You Ready for a Miracle?, 10/19/2009

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