MaryEsther was suddenly spending countless hours at the hospital after her 2-year-old son, Cole, was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer. The time spent just waiting was painfully tedious. It was obvious, Cole needed a miracle and MaryEsther needed to stay busy to keep herself from spiraling down into depression. But most importantly, she needed God.
The odds against Cole surviving seemed insurmountable, and bad news seemed to lurk at every turn. Aside from a tumor on his liver, cancer also metastasized to the little boy’s lungs. Due to the rarity of this particular type of cancer – Hepatoblastoma, – there was no standard protocol for his treatment. So, the doctors moved immediately into “attack mode,” which meant intense chemotherapy, followed by surgery, followed by more chemotherapy.
Members of a Bible study group MaryEsther attended, knew how much she loved to draw. And so, Rachel, one of the women in the group, introduced MaryEsther to “Bible journaling” — the practice of drawing artistic interpretations of verses and passages on the sides of the pages. There were Bibles designed for this exact purpose, and Rachel suspected it would be the perfect way to help this worried mom pass the time.
And it was. MaryEsther spent every day studying God’s word, drawing her thoughts in the margins, and praying for a miracle for her son. “During this period of time in my life, said MaryEsther, I needed God so desperately, and journaling provided a way for me to communicate with Him daily.” And it soon became clear to MaryEsther that, in addition to comforting her during this time of darkness, God had an even greater purpose for her artwork. He was using her gift as a unique way to spread the Good News to even more people!
Nurses would ask MaryEsther about her Bible, and she would use this as an opportunity to tell them all about Jesus and what he had done for them. Interest in her drawings grew and grew, so she finally began posting them to her Facebook page. And from there, God worked a miracle!
Cole endured all of his treatments like a champ. It was an emotional rollercoaster for MaryEsther and the family, but one year later, 3-year-old Cole is cancer-free! He still needs prayers, the doctors told her, because his type of cancer can come back. It’s most likely, they said, to occur within 18-24 months. But MaryEsther continued to put her trust in God, rejoicing in the miracle He already sent.
God is also continuing to use MaryEsther’s art to minister and inspire so many more than she ever imagined. In His timing, the Facebook album of her Bible journaling has gone viral. So far, it has resulted in more than 32,000 “shares.”
What a beautiful example of God’s great power. He’s given each of us special gifts — gifts He can put to use even during our darkest hours.
The Apostle Paul saw this opportunity for the Galatians. So, he wrote them, when you have an opportunity, do something good for somebody, and especially to those who are fellow believers. (Galatians 6:10) He also told the Ephesians, stop moaning, groaning, and complaining. Find something that works in encouraging others, no matter what the occasion. This will give them hope and trust. (Ephesians 4:29). And the writer of Hebrews urged everyone not to neglect the good they can do. Share what you can give because sacrificing your time and effort is always pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16).
Like me, you may not be into drawing. But certainly, God has given you some talent you can use to bring joy and comfort to those who are hurting. Posting a motivational message every day on your Facebook page is a start. Then there is “Messaging” that can be used as a tool for cheering people up and brightening their day. You may have even greater talents in the area of artwork, creating posters, montages, collages, or even writing. In any case, you know what you do best. So, ask God to help you transform that talent into something He can use to share His love, comfort, assurance, hope, and Word for encouragement. You may be surprised how well it will turn out! – Dr. Robert R Seyda