“I don’t believe in miracles. I rely on them!” As I’m now on my third lease on life, that is my quick reply to those who ask me if I believe in miracles.
Today, we will talk about the miraculous healing of Ed Zaragoza, a world-class marketing executive. Ed and his wife Leda are old friends of mine. Ed was also my client when I was still an Account Manager of J. Walter Thompson, Inc. in 1973-74 while Ed was Advertising Manager of Pepsi Cola.
Following is an edited version of Ed’s recent letter to his friends and kin, narrating how he was granted his second lease on life.
“Dear family and friends,
Today is the first anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. And strange as it may seem to some, I praise God for the cancer. My life has been completely overhauled, transformed because God allowed it to happen.
My purpose for writing to you is to give glory to God for all the blessings that He has showered on me, even as He allowed cancer in my prostate.
The past year has been an extraordinary journey. I was diagnosed on February 10, 2007 . The next day, a Sunday, as the first song started in the 8:45 a.m. service of the Union Church of Manila, I felt my hand go up in praise of the Lord. I felt so much love for Him I was in tears; not out of despondency over the cancer but in gratitude because for the first time, I actually felt, truly felt, love for Him. God had put love for Him in my heart. My first thought was, “God, if cancer is what it took for me to actually feel love for you, then I thank you for it. It is worth it.”
Why do I mention that my hand went up in praise? For those who know me, this is out of character for me to do. Until then, I liked to worship quietly, discreetly. But after February 11, no one can stop me from raising my hands! Truly, this is God’s transformational work. I take absolutely no credit for it.
As you can imagine, with the prospect of death so real, I began to see life in a totally different perspective. I finally internalized what many people had written and said before: that when you are about to die, nothing matters except your relationships — with God, with your spouse, with your child or children and with your fellowmen.
On February 15, the elders of Union Church prayed over me and anointed me with oil for my healing, as promised in James 5. On February 16, my sister in Christ, Luz Ibarra, came to visit me at home, prayed over me, together with Leda, and boldly declared that I was healed. On February 18, just 8 days after I was diagnosed with cancer, I felt I was healed. I wrote/noted it in my PDA that this was the day of my healing.
I continued with my quest for prayers by elders and believers over me. With all these godly men and women praying over me, I knew I was healed or was in the process of being healed by God. It was only a question of when medical science will catch up with that fact.
Then a miracle happened. At 1 a.m. of March 16, God talked to me in a dream. I heard a voice telling me to “heal, find Victorino, St. Luke’s.” And lo and behold, there was indeed a patient named Victorino (first name Leo) who was confined in St. Luke’s for a blood clot in the brain and was facing the possibility of brain surgery.
My wife and I contacted him and were granted permission to visit. We told him about my dream, I prayed over him, and then Leda shared the gospel with him, which he tearfully accepted. While we were still there, the neurologist came and asked to see the CT Scan taken a day or two before but had not been seen by her.
She looked at it and declared Leo Victorino ready for discharge. The blood clot was small enough to be handled by medication.
I made it clear to Victorino that I did not heal him — God did. God sent me to him so that he would know it was God who should take the primary credit, not just the doctors, who were simply His instruments. I felt then that this was confirmation that I too was healed or in the process of being so.
The moment of truth came. On August 22, I had my blood test to measure my PSA. God was faithful to the impressions and signs He gave me. My PSA was 0.00 — nothing could be detected!
When I showed it to my doctor, his first words were, “This is not natural.” Then he corrected himself, saying, “I should not have said that.” Then, he said that, “these are amazing results! Congratulations.”
I asked him if I should repeat the test in case it was erroneous but he said no. To be sure, he asked me to take another test one month later.
The next test was 4 months later and again it was 0.00! My doctor is careful not to declare me healed. When I asked him if I am already out of the woods, he said that I was “at the edge of the woods.” But he said that if he had a diploma he would give me one. He also scheduled my next PSA test 6 months, instead of 3 months, from the last. One day, my doctor will catch up with God. But I understand and respect where he is coming from.
So that’s my journey. It has not ended yet because the journey is not about my cancer but about my walk with God and the faith that He has gifted me when I asked for it after I was diagnosed with cancer. I look forward to continuing to experience God and I pray I manifest whatever it is that He desires so that on the day that I meet Him face to face, He will say, “Welcome, Ed, my good and faithful servant!”
Thank you all for your love and prayers. I pray that you have been blessed with my sharing and that God has been glorified to you.
Ed” (End of Ed’s sharing)
Truly, faith is nothing more than leaving room in our lives for God to perform a miracle.