By Linda Porter Carlyle
MacKenzie Isabelle Evans heard the telephone ring. “I’ll get it!” she hollered. Mac liked answering the phone. She never knew who would be on the other end of the line, and it was always fun to find out. Even if the person was calling for her mom or her dad—which was usually the case.
“Hello. This is Mac. May I ask who’s calling?” she said, picking up the receiver.
“Hi,” a soft voice said. And then there was silence.
“Hannah?” Mac asked. “Is that you?”
“Yes,” Hannah whispered.
“What’s the matter?” Mac asked quickly. “You sound funny!”
“I just got really bad news,” Hannah said a little louder. “My cousin Allison is really sick. She has cancer.” Hannah gulped. It sounded like she was trying very hard not to cry.
“Oh, dear!” Mac exclaimed. Then she was quiet. “I know how you feel,” she said. “It’s really scary!” Mac remembered very well how she had felt when she found out her Mom had cancer. She had never been so afraid in her whole life! She had been afraid Mom would die. She had been so afraid it had even been hard to breathe.
“We’re going to go down to California and see her,” Hannah said. “I think we’re leaving tomorrow.”
“I know a lot of stuff about cancer,” Mac said. She sank down cross-legged on the floor. “Is your cousin going to have an operation?”
“I don’t think so,” Hannah answered. “I think she just has to take some horrible medicine that will make her feel really, really bad.”
“I know about that,” Mac replied. All of a sudden her stomach felt tight and knotted. She remembered, just like it was yesterday, how the cancer medicine had made Mom feel. “The medicine will probably make her not want to eat,” Mac said. “Some days my mom would throw up everything she ate. And then she wouldn’t want to eat anything else because she was sure she would throw that up too.”
“I don’t know what to do,” Hannah said. “I don’t know if I even want to go see Allison. Mama said the medicine might make her hair all fall out! I don’t know what to say to her or anything!” Hannah wailed.
“Well, I do!” Mac answered. “When my mom was sick with cancer, lots and lots of people prayed for her. G.M. called lots of different churches and asked them to put my mom on their prayer chains. That means one person will pray for you, and then they call another person who will pray, and they call another person after they pray, and the praying goes on and on.” Mac stopped for breath. “So that’s one thing you can talk to your cousin about. You can tell her that lots and lots of people she doesn’t even know are praying for her. And you can tell her that all your friends are praying for her too,” Mac added. She paused. “And you can take her a cute hat for if her hair does fall out!” she went on.
“That’s a good idea!” Hannah said, sounding a little more cheerful. “I have to go now. I have to pack my clothes.”
Mac hung up the phone. She stood still, thinking. Then she hurried up the stairs to her bedroom. She ripped the page for the month off of her calendar and then rummaged through her desk drawers looking for a roll of masking tape. When she found it, she ran back to the kitchen. She carefully taped the calendar page onto the kitchen table at the spot where she always sat.
“What are you doing?” Mom asked as she came into the room.
“I taped my calendar here so I won’t forget to pray for Hannah’s cousin every day,” Mac explained. “Because if you say you will pray for someone, it’s not good to forget about it. So I’m going to mark off on the calendar every time I pray. And this way I’ll remember every day when I eat because I never forget to eat!” Mac stopped. She frowned. The calendar was taped crookedly.
“That’s a great idea for remembering!” Mom said. “But why are you praying especially for Hannah’s cousin?”
“She has cancer,” Mac said softly.
Mom put her arm around Mac’s shoulders. “And we both know all about that, don’t we?” she asked.
A big shiver ran through Mac’s whole body. She gave Mom a big hug. “I hated it when you were sick! But God healed you! You don’t have cancer anymore.”
Mom kissed the top of Mac’s curly head. “Let’s pray for Hannah’s cousin right now,” she suggested.
“Then can we put Hannah’s cousin on prayer chains?” Mac asked. “Can we put her on lots of prayer chains?”
“Absolutely!” Mom answered.
“And I have to call Joseph, and Trevor, and all the other kids in my class!” Mac added.
Have you ever known anyone who had cancer? It is a bad and scary disease, but we have better and better ways to treat it all the time and more and more people are getting well from it! At my church we have an email prayer chain. Whenever someone wants the whole church to pray, they send an email to the pastor or me or Joy. We’re the ones who keep track of the whole church’s email addresses. Then we send the prayer request out to everyone on the list. When one of those emails comes, we pray as soon as we read it. Aren’t you glad that we can always take everything to God in prayer? He loves helping His children.—Love, Mrs. Sox