The Measure of a Miracle

A few years ago, my mother was diagnosed as having a malignant brain tumor. Despite the crushing news, my father, a firm believer in miracles, insisted that she could recover if our family exerted the necessary faith. We prayed fervently, and Mother received many priesthood blessings. But her condition grew steadily worse.

Desperate yet undaunted, Father continued to attend the temple daily. As I stood at the window and watched him leave for the temple early one morning, I remembered a day many years earlier, when my little brother was thrown from a horse. Thinking he had suffered only a little bruising and a bloody nose, I was devastated when he died late that night. My world caved in, and for months I mulled over the painful question, Why hadn’t Heavenly Father sent a miracle to save my brother’s life?

A few years after my brother died, our family was blessed with a miracle when Mother survived the removal of her first brain tumor. We knew Heavenly Father had answered our prayers by sparing Mother’s life.

I turned away from the window, thinking about miracles: Who is entitled to them? Are they granted strictly by faith? How, exactly, do you measure a miracle? Then I thought of my mother. Now she seemed to be slipping away—dying from a second brain tumor some thirty-five years after her first one had been removed. She had lived happily and productively—a full life—and I wondered if there could be another miracle in store for her.

When I kissed her for what would be the last time in this life, I told her I loved her. The serene look on her face as she passed away convinced me that I had witnessed one of the greatest miracles of all. Because of the reality of the gospel and of Christ’s resurrection, I knew she was smiling again, embracing all those loved ones who had gone on before.

I still don’t know how to measure a miracle, but it no longer matters. Miracles happen with every breath we take. And sometimes the best miracles are not in living, but in going home.

[illustration] Illustrated by Keith Larson