Carlos had a friend, Tony, dying of cancer. Tony was told he had only a short time to live, so he ended his chemo treatments and to simply spend time with his wife and children.
Summer ended, then Thanksgiving came, then Christmas, and still he didn’t die. Eventually he decided to go back to work, and to take some experimental cancer drugs. But he was afraid the side effects would be like those of chemo, and rob him of his ability to spend time with his family.
Tony was telling Carlos this one day over the phone, just before he was going to receive the experimental drugs. When he hung up, Carlos began to pray. “Lord, if I can share this cross with Tony, let me. Let me bear the side effects, if I can.” And he went back to work.
About an hour later he began to feel a little light headed, then dizzy. A bit later waves of nausea began that increased in severity. He asked his wife to drive him home because he didn’t feel well. “I wonder if I’m getting the flu,” he said to her. On the way home, he remembered his prayer.
That night he awoke with terrible pain in his feet, like fire ants stinging and stinging and stinging. All he could think was, “thank you, Lord.”
And it came as no surprise to him when Tony called a few days later and said, “Carlos, you won’t believe it. I had no side effects from the drugs they gave me. The docs said I must be lucky. People usually get nauseous and some even have terrible pain in their legs or feet.”
And Carlos smiled, “As a matter of fact, I do believe you, Tony.”
I believe Carlos's prayer is the kind that God loves to answer.
Why? Because Carlos prayed to become like Jesus, who came to fulfill His Father's will in all things, and then embraced the cross we gave him in response to that faithfulness. Jesus lovingly accepted the fate we sinners deserved so that we would not have to suffer separation from our Father. In asking to endure what Tony might otherwise suffer, Carlos unknowingly asked to imitate Jesus.
The Father delights that we become like his Son.
Do you and I have the courage to do what Carlos did?