The media won’t ask the question, but I wanted us to. Did God heal our former president Jimmy Carter? I wrote the Advent devotional this year about miracles. God often chooses Christmas to be a season of miracles. Jimmy Carter stood up to teach his Sunday school class and said, “When I went this week, they didn’t find any cancer at all, so I have good news.”
Reuters reported: The former Democratic president, known for his unassuming style, offered a quick smile as people who had come for the Sunday School class he teaches gasped and clapped. Carter, 91, started treatment in August for melanoma that had spread from his liver to his brain. In a brief written statement afterward, Carter confirmed his most recent brain scan “did not reveal any signs of the original cancer spots nor any new ones.”
I’m not surprised that President Carter decided to announce that news to his Sunday school class instead of the media. Chances are, he knows that his Sunday school class is the reason the doctors didn’t find any cancer. Carter thanked his class for their prayers. I think Jimmy Carter and every member of his class knows why the MRI came back clear of cancer.
The media is spending a lot of time speaking about the treatment that Carter has been taking. But even that is somewhat puzzling to the doctors that have been called to serve as “experts.” Thirty percent of patients treated with the drug experience significant shrinkage of their cancer, only approximately five percent experience complete remission, said Dr. Marc Ernstoff, director of the melanoma program at the Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute in Ohio. At the age of 91, Jimmy Carter is in the five percent category. Can we say that the drug stopped Carter’s cancer? Yes, but should we? In my math, there is a 5% chance that the drug cured the cancer and a 95% chance that God did the healing.
It is difficult to write on this subject. All of us know people that have been prayed for who have not received the same kind of healing that President Carter has received. I spent a lot of time working on the Advent book, reading about the miracles that people had experienced. At the end of the writing process I had a strong belief in the wondrous miracles of God, often experienced at Christmas time. I also know that there is not a common explanation for why some people receive a miracle while others do not. I don’t understand God any more now than before I did the research.
I do know this: my first thought when I heard that Jimmy Carter had announced he was cancer free, I believed that God had done a miracle. And it is still what I believe. I read the doctor’s evaluations and continue to think that God did a miraculous work in our former president’s life. I’m disappointed (but not surprised) that the media has not given God any attention for this miracle, so I wanted to write this blog for that purpose.
Christmas is a season for miracles. People cannot believe the Christmas story unless they are able to believe in miracles. A virgin gave birth to a Son. The baby in the manger was God incarnate. The wise men were led to the baby, knowing a King had been born. The star shone above the shepherds and an angel announced the Savior had been born. And those are just some of the miracles of the Christmas story.
The same God who authored the Christmas story and performed those Christmas miracles is still on his throne today. He is completely able to remove cancer from a person’s body, and I believe he gave that miracle to Jimmy Carter and to a Sunday school class who had been praying for their teacher. I believe he gave that miracle to each of us, so that we can share the news with those who are discussing the story, but maybe not recognizing the true source of Carter’s healing.
I believe that God healed Jimmy Carter for Christmas and we are called to share the news. If people can believe God can do one miracle, they can believe in the miracle of the Christmas story. Let’s link the miracles together and help someone trust the truth of Christmas.
Might Jimmy Carter’s cancer come back? Possibly. Did God extend our former president’s life? Scientifically, there is a 95% chance that he did. I know I will take those odds and run with them! I can’t wait until I hear someone speaking about this story. I will make a point to speak up and point them to God.
Join me in praising the God of Christmas miracles. Then, take a minute and pray for someone you know who needs one of his miracles today. God loves to do miracles for Christmas.
Join us at www.christianparenting.org and chime in on this week’s discussion question: How does your family celebrate Jesus during the Christmas holiday?