Miracles Do Happen
How an answered prayer on Christmas helped give hope for the future.
Miracles do happen. Here is my story about one I experienced on Christmas day when I was just 13 years old.
This miracle, or an act of God that defies explanation, came at a critical time for me—especially considering all the struggles I would soon face in the coming months.
Not just a sports injury
I lived what I considered a normal life, that is until I started experiencing unbearable pain.
At my 8th grade basketball practice, another player accidentally kneed me in the back. It was November of 1993.
I thought it was just a sports injury, but the pain persisted for the next two months, moving around my upper, lower and mid back.
Some of my classmates thought I was faking it. This hurt almost as much as the pain did. “Back pain doesn’t move,” they said.
In December, I began sleeping in a recliner in our family room because I couldn’t lie down. It hurt too much to lie flat on a bed.
I tried playing basketball again, but after experiencing more pain, I realized I had to quit the team.
I also stopped helping my mom run Secret Santa at my school, which was so disappointing. It was a Christmas tradition and something I had been a part of since I was four years old.
I didn’t feel I had a choice; the pain was beginning to control my life.
How I found hope, strength and peace
I grew up in a family who believed that God was real and where prayers were part of my everyday life.
I knew that miracles do happen, but at this point it was more theoretical than experiential.
Regardless of my experience, I needed help—and to really see that miracles do happen.
Especially as my pain kept getting worse.
The pain could go from a deep, aching throb to a sharp, stabling pain at any minute. I took it one day at a time and did the best I could.
I had countless x-rays, none of which showed anything wrong. Some suspected I had inherited a bad back, since my dad and other relatives had bad backs. My parents just figured it was an undetected slipped disk or growing pains.
Only after Christmas would we find out the truth, but in the meantime, I had to deal with this mysterious pain the best I could.
Wishing for a pain-free Christmas
Come Christmas, all I wanted was a day without pain.
Our family tradition was to wake up Christmas morning, open presents, eat cookies and drive two hours to see our grandparents. I loved Christmas. It was and continues to be my favorite time of the year, but I was not looking forward to this Christmas, especially considering the two-hour drive to my grandparents’ house.
I prayed for it specifically, asking God to take away my pain. As the pain progressively got more intense, I prayed more and as Christmas became closer, I started wishing for a day without pain.
I hadn’t written Santa a list in years, but recall thinking I was going to ask God and Santa for a day without pain. I knew and trusted one of them would listen. I had no idea that this request would be answered.
Miracles do happen
Christmas morning, I woke up without pain. For the first time in two months, I could move freely. I could sit on the ground. I could twist and turn. I smiled and thanked God for the greatest gift I could have been given. I opened my presents with my family, ate cookies, and survived the two-hour drive.
There was no explainable reason for this change, other than it was a miracle. That Christmas, I experienced firsthand that miracles do happen.
Even today, at Christmastime, I still think about how God answered my prayers. A day without pain was the best Christmas present I have ever received. It wasn’t a gift from family or friends. It was a special gift from God, as He is the only one who could have made this happen.
And this answered prayer didn’t just give me relief in the moment but hope for what was ahead. If God could do this, He could do anything.
Hope for what was ahead
That Christmas was the first time I truly saw a prayer be answered. It showed me God DOES listen. He DOES care.
After Christmas, the pain returned, but until then I had a clear reprieve.
A month later I found out the reason for my pain: I had acute lymphocytic leukemia, which nearly proved deadly for me. You can read my full story, “I Met God In a Hospital” (see link at the end of the article).
I had no idea how much I would rely on the power of prayer to get me through the highs and lows of my diagnosis and treatment—how God would be there for me in my darkest moments.
Knowing God listened help motivate me to pray. I prayed for comfort when I was feeling ill. I prayed for others who were sicker than I was. I prayed for my nurses and doctors.
I realized God had a plan for me. He didn’t give me cancer, but I knew one day I would be able to speak of the goodness and glory of God because of my cancer.
Looking for a miracle
I know there might be others who are looking for a miracle right now. Know that miracles do happen—and they can happen for you, too.
Pray and ask God for help. We can’t control how he will answer, but know that He cares for you and he will be there for you in your darkest hours.
Carolyn Koncal Breinich is an author, speaker and cancer survivor. You can read more about her journey at leukemiagirl.com.
To read more about Carolyn’s cancer story, see, “I Met God In a Hospital.”
To unlock the power of prayer see Asking God for Help.
For more about how to begin a relationship with God see Knowing God Personally.