In December of last year, my friend Leisy posted about a little boy on her blog. His name was Gabe. He had cancer, and the prognosis wasn't good. In fact, he wasn't expected to live more than a few weeks. She asked the family how she could help, and they told her to ask people to send Christmas cards to Gabe, because he LOVED to get mail. I read her post, and became inspired.
I bought a couple cards. But I couldn't stop thinking about them. I wondered how I would feel, what I would do, if one of my girls had cancer. So I put together a box. I began collecting items that an 8 year old boy would like. Then a website was formed on Gabe's behalf, so that people could keep up with how he was doing. I was instantly hooked. There were pictures of him on the website, and I finally got to see the little boy who I was praying for, hoping for, wishing for. He was an adorable brown haired, brown eyed angel. SpongeBob was his absolute favorite, so I found a SpongeBob ornament to send him. Then I had another idea.
Trinity and Natalie's school has a theme each year. This year's was "Giving Back." They have been doing all sorts of things, including visiting the old folks' home and cleaning up the trash on the side of the road. With the school putting so much focus on the community and loving one another, I just knew they would love to help Gabe. I presented the idea to the teacher, and she agreed to have all of the students in the Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten classes make a Christmas card for Gabe. I was giddy with excitement. I knew that the simplistic box that I was sending wouldn't do much, but I hoped it would at least lend a smile. I don't know if he ever got the box, but I do know that Gabe's story reached thousands of people, and he received cards from as far away as Japan! Seeing such humanity in this world today is so inspiring!
Though the doctors only gave Gabe a short time to live, his parents decided to give chemo a try. It worked for awhile, and his tumor began to shrink. He got to go to Disney World through the "Make A Wish Foundation." And he had the chance to visit with several friends and family members. In an interview given to Gabe by his dad, he was asked what having cancer has taught him. He said "nothing." But I know that his cancer has taught many. It has taught me. Life is precious. Your children are precious. Appreciate what you have, while you still have it. Death is not the end. You can do hard things.
Gabriel died early this morning. He was 8 years old. Hours before his death, he asked his dad for a Priesthood blessing. He asked for one for his mom, too. He then hugged everyone in the room, and said that he was tired and wanted to take a nap. A few hours later, he passed away.
I don't know why I felt compelled to help this little boy. I have never met him, nor have I met anyone in his family. Maybe I needed to learn something. A few weeks ago, Gabe's dad posted a talk about faith, healing, and God's will. All things that are very prominent in my life. Recently in Relief Society, we had a lesson on prayer. One sister made a comment about how maybe the purpose of prayer is to help us align our will with God's will. I would like to end this post with that same talk that Gabe's dad posted...
Will of the Lord
Young men and older men, please take special note of what I will say now. As we exercise the undoubted power of the priesthood of God and as we treasure His promise that He will hear and answer the prayer of faith, we must always remember that faith and the healing power of the priesthood cannot produce a result contrary to the will of Him whose priesthood it is. This principle is taught in the revelation directing that the elders of the Church shall lay their hands upon the sick. The Lord’s promise is that “he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed” (D&C 42:48; emphasis added). Similarly, in another modern revelation the Lord declares that when one “asketh according to the will of God . . . it is done even as he asketh” (D&C 46:30).14
From all of this we learn that even the servants of the Lord, exercising His divine power in a circumstance where there is sufficient faith to be healed, cannot give a priesthood blessing that will cause a person to be healed if that healing is not the will of the Lord.
As children of God, knowing of His great love and His ultimate knowledge of what is best for our eternal welfare, we trust in Him. The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and faith means trust. I felt that trust in a talk my cousin gave at the funeral of a teenage girl who had died of a serious illness. He spoke these words, which first astonished me and then edified me: “I know it was the will of the Lord that she die. She had good medical care. She was given priesthood blessings. Her name was on the prayer roll in the temple. She was the subject of hundreds of prayers for her restoration to health. And I know that there is enough faith in this family that she would have been healed unless it was the will of the Lord to take her home at this time.” I felt that same trust in the words of the father of another choice girl whose life was taken by cancer in her teen years. He declared, “Our family’s faith is in Jesus Christ and is not dependent on outcomes.” Those teachings ring true to me. We do all that we can for the healing of a loved one, and then we trust in the Lord for the outcome.
**If you would like to read the talk in its entirety, click here.