A friend of mine, Kate*, is excitedly jumping up and down. Although an upbeat person by nature, today she is positively beaming, her zest for life bursting out of her. So I ask her what has happened.

Kate is a paediatric nurse in our large, local hospital. As an oncology specialist, she frequently sees young lives cut cruelly short by cancer. Over the years, she has learnt to leave work on the ward, so that she can focus fully on her husband and young children when she gets home.


It turns out that there is a nine-year-old boy in her care at the moment. Let’s call him Ben*.

Ben has childhood brain stem glioma, a form of cancer, which is inoperable. He’s experiencing constant headaches. His face is drooping. He’s struggling to chew, swallow and talk. He wobbles over as soon as he tries to stand. When he endeavours to pick things up, his hands won’t work properly, so he ends up knocking them over instead. He can no longer communicate clearly. He is tired, weak and frustrated, and his prognosis is bleak.

Every time Kate works a shift, she’s looking out for Ben and checking in on his progress. There’s something about him, and his parents, which has got under her skin.


A few weeks ago, at church, she was challenged by a sermon about fasting. So much so that she resolved to do something about it, to give it another go, despite trying and failing to successfully fast in the past.

Heading into work the following day, Kate was talking about the sermon with a Christian colleague, Linda*, and that’s when the seed of an idea was planted …

How about both of them fast and pray, for Ben, for healing?

It doesn’t take long for the seed to take root and germinate. As the weeks pass, they hold each other accountable, fasting and praying together when their shifts permit it, pleading with God to bring breakthrough for Ben. They are acting in faith, as neither of them know what difference it’s really making.


Two days ago, Kate and Linda are set to work the same shift. They arrive at the same time and walk on to the ward, one after the other. But neither of them can quite believe what they are witnessing …

Ben is sitting up in bed – smiling, lucid and laughing! His laugh is heartfelt and belly aching. Their eyes well up with tears.

“He’s back to the Ben who we know and love,” his parents pronounce from his bedside. “We’re calling him the Come Back Kid!”

Kate and Linda look at each other momentarily.

Without hesitation, Kate starts telling Ben’s parents that she and Linda have been fasting and praying for Ben; that they are Christians; that they believe God can heal today; that all of us can call on the name of Jesus.

She doesn’t hold back. She doesn’t count the cost. She doesn’t stop and think about whether, as a nurse, she should be admitting to praying for a patient. She simply shares the burden that God has laid on her heart for this young boy.


Tests that day reveal that Ben still has a tumour on his brain stem.

Yes, his symptoms have dissipated. Yes, his demeanour has dramatically improved. Yes, it seems he can physically do things now that shouldn’t, medically, be possible. But the fact remains that Ben still has malignant cancer. The tumour hasn’t totally disappeared – or not yet anyway.

Everything is the same and yet nothing is the same – but there is no sense of discouragement, disappointment or disillusionment. Far from it! Kate and Linda are still fasting and praying for Ben, trusting that the Almighty God of the universe will finish what He has begun. Then he truly will be the Come Back Kid!

Is it any wonder that Kate is so excitedly jumping up and down, two days later, when I see her?


* Names changed to preserve confidentiality.

[Photo from Pixabay]


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