Do you know what you were doing at 8:10 P.M. on June 20, 2018? I’m sure you just thought, ‘Cherie, I can’t remember what I was doing yesterday … no way I remember what I was doing then.’ Well, I do. At that moment on that date, God’s presence enveloped a room full of beautiful young ladies in the den of my home. Although His presence had been evident over the past four years, on this night, God showed up in a very tangible way.
Have you ever met someone who was physically beautiful but their physical beauty paled in comparison to the humility and grace they displayed? I have. Her name is Mary Catherine. Mary Catherine is quiet, reserved, intelligent, and full of strength. I see meekness in Mary Catherine and yet her humble spirit keeps her from recognizing it in herself.
A love story began six years ago when Mary Catherine and Ben met during her freshman year of college. After they met, there would be no more dating other people. They fell hook-line-and-sinker in love. After finishing college, both acquired jobs, and Ben bought a ring. Mary Catherine said, “Yes!,” and the wedding date was set for December 7, 2017.
Everything was moving along as planned. Then one month before the wedding, Ben felt a lump. He went to the doctor, who also happens to be his father, and they ran some tests. Once the results were in, things moved quickly. Ben was sent immediately to a urologist. Later that day, the results concluded the lump was cancer – a word not found in fairy tales.
After surgery, the doctors determined Ben needed chemotherapy. The wedding would need to be postponed. After praying and agreeing they wouldn’t move their wedding date, the doctors revisited Ben’s regiment. They scheduled a course of treatment that would begin the day of their honeymoon. While their honeymoon was exotic, a little black cloud called cancer hovered over their fairytale beginning.
Ben and Mary Catherine returned on Sunday. On Monday, Ben began chemotherapy, which led to six long months of treatments and waiting. There were side effects like losing his hair and having to wear a medical mask to work since he is a high-school teacher. Through it all, they continued to trust that God had not abandoned them.
Mary Catherine was invited to our Bible study by one of her friends who was a part of the group. This mutual friend had already asked our group to pray for this young couple, but we weren’t given their names. One month after their marriage, Mary Catherine showed up, but had decided not to share her request. She did not want this time to be a time for “the poor young couple,” but a time to focus on God. She exhibited such grace and meekness of heart.
On June 20, 2018 we were studying Psalm 100, focused on verse four (ESV, editor's capitalization):
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
Wow! To enter the presence of the Lord we must come with a heart of thanksgiving and praise.
We started that evening with each young woman giving a word of thanksgiving. Coming back around the room, we uttered offerings of praise. Mary Catherine, sitting on the floor, was eighth in line.
At precisely 8:10 P.M. she gave thanks by saying, “God is faithful.” We became aware of the time because Mary Catherine’s phone buzzed on the floor beside her just after the words came out of her mouth. As the young lady beside her proceeded with her thanksgiving, Mary Catherine picked up her phone. Tears began to pool in her eyes, and the most beautiful smile was etched across her face. She remained silent until her turn to offer praise. When it was her turn again, she began to explain: “God is faithful. My father-in-law just texted us. He received the lab work from Ben’s final follow-up, and the words of his text read, ‘Ben is cancer free!’”
Tears flooded the eyes of every person in the room. One of the young ladies announced, “That’s a miracle! We just witnessed a miracle.”
I closed my Bible and said, “Bible study is done for tonight.”
My beloved friends, I know life can be difficult. The trials can be fiery. But today, will you pause and give God thanks for Who He is, and praise Him for all He has done? He is found in the thanksgiving and praises of His children. Ben and Mary Catherine are just beginning their story of happily ever after, and come what may, they know God will be faithful on every page.
Cherie Nettles is a Christian comedienne, author, and speaker. She’s a mother of two and lives in West Columbia, S.C. with her husband, Mike. Check out her blog at: CherieNettles.net.