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  • Heather Burke-Cody

You're Gonna Make It

Updated: Mar 1

The scan shows cancer all over her body. They call the red dots “hot spots” and it looks like her whole torso is riddled with sparks of fire. Doctors say they’ve done all they can do. And so they send her home to die. But she isn’t ready. She goes to a Sunday night revival instead.


It’s a charismatic church next to an outlet mall. Miracles happen here. Like turning an 83-year-old Baptist minister into a Pentecostal. And making blind men see. There’s no steeple or choir. No communion table or hanging wooden cross. But there’s a baptism pool to the right and she’s got nothing left. So she joins a line of folks waiting.


They say the water is holy. She figures a little water can’t hurt—with all that fire burning up her belly. A preacher prays. Then dunks her deep. The water feels electric–a current seeps through every cancer cell. Like Clorox, it bleaches her body clean. She’s got picture scans to prove it.


The doctor can’t explain it. He scratches his head and closes her chart. She hugs his neck as her eyes leak. He pats her back and whispers, “Looks like you’re gonna make it.” Science and medicine can’t lie when God knows the truth.


The teenage girl is driving too fast at night. Down a country road after the rainstorm. She’s responding to a text when her tire leaves the pavement. She overcorrects even though her daddy taught her better. She’s stomping the brake, but her car is spinning. Round and round and down the bank. Clipping trees and turning over. Upside down but alive. Bruised but not broken. Blood is running up her forehead.


The door is pinned and her seatbelt’s stuck. Lights flicker. She can’t tell if it’s fireflies dancing or Jesus coming. She’s praying when a lady crawls through the window. She cuts her free. Pulls her out and says, “Hold on, you’re gonna make it.” They crawl up the steep bank and flag down a truck. She turns around and the woman is nowhere to be found.


He is 18—going on 50. School has never been his thing. He comes from a long line of misfits, so he knows his place in the world of never-belonging. None of his family ever graduated. The bullies at school tell him he’s too dumb and too fat. The only thing tighter than his jeans are his mama’s wallet. Their car needs tires and gas. Rent is due. He knows she can’t afford the cap and gown. So he doesn’t even ask.


His mama is tired. From work and worry. She pulls up to the pump, wondering how they will make it. Folded money is wedged in the gas handle. A simple note attached says “God loves you.” She can’t see for all the tears. She laughs between sobs.


At home, she wraps a box in shiny blue and leaves it on his bed. He unwraps and unfolds and is undone. He’s standing tall in front of her and a mirror. The cap. The gown. This moment. A miracle. Everything finally feels like a fit. In a new world of ever-belonging. She leans in with a kiss and reminds him of what all mothers hope, “Baby, you’re gonna make it.”


I don’t know what you are facing today. Maybe you’re waiting on those test results. Starting chemo or finishing it. Just married. Just divorced. Maybe you buried your spouse or child. And grief is too much. Maybe your kid is graduating. A grandbaby is coming. Maybe you keep searching for the bible but keep finding another bottle. Maybe you start the job of your dreams tomorrow. Or maybe you’ve already written a note–made a plan to end it all.


Maybe you’re financially wrecked. Emotionally drained. Spiritually devoid. Maybe you think miracles don’t happen to people like us.


Words keep me up at night. Stories from this everyday life flit and fly around my head like caged birds trapped–begging me to free them. Too often I listen to the loud lies, which tell me I have nothing to say. But I can hear a quiet whisper now. God says just remind them this: “You’re gonna make it.”


I don’t have answers. But I do know this. Surefire miracles happen every day. Some big. Some small. To people just like us.


In case you need reminding: “Hang on, my friend. You’re gonna make it.”


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