This young woman is named Ruth Webber. She has advanced stomach cancer. The little one cradled on her is her son John. He was born prematurely at 28 weeks so the doctors could start treating his mama. John’s father and Ruth’s husband is Paul Webber, a young man who is in his final year of studies for the holy ministry at Bethany Lutheran Seminary in Mankato, MN. Ruth’s pregnancy had been really rough, and now they know why: she’s had stomach cancer the whole time. The cancer is aggressive and it’s spreading. Their little boy has been baptized into Christ, but he’s got a long road ahead of him too.
I don’t know them personally but I feel like I could have been them, because I’ve walked a similar path. My wife hasn’t had cancer (thanks be to God), but I was in seminary once and my wife has been pregnant. So maybe you understand why I’m asking you to get involved. Pray for these people — not only for their physical health and wellbeing, but that their faith may be refined in the fires of these trials; that the Evil One might not tempt them to doubt God’s goodness; that they may persevere in the face of these incredible odds because by faith they see Him who is invisible. That Jesus might keep all His promises to His children the Webber family — because they’re going to need His help now as never before. Pray for them, and if you’re so inclined and you’re able, please consider giving them a monetary gift of love. You can imagine what hospital bills for this sort of thing will look like.
They also have a Facebook group devoted to news, updates, and support for the family. From that group:
“Ruth was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer. Her cancer is advanced enough so that it cannot be removed surgically. At the advice of doctors, we decided to have our baby at 28 weeks instead of waiting till 32 weeks and having him exposed to several weeks of chemotherapy. At 7:43 am on February 7, 2012, Ruth gave birth to John Wilde Webber. Jo…hn was Baptized into the Christian faith at approximately 10:30 am that same morning. Even though John will continue to reside at the NICU at St. Mary’s Hospital, he is doing well and the doctors are optimistic about his ongoing growth and development. The doctors have decided that it would be best for Ruth to rest for about 10 days to heal from the c-section and take in nourishment so that she is strong for when chemotherapy starts. Because of her stomach, Ruth is being nourished exclusively by a feeding tube, so we expect that she should be able to get stronger and put on a little weight in spite of the cancer. It is possible that she will be discharged from the hospital this weekend or early next week. When that happens, we’ll be staying at the Ronald McDonald house so as to be near John and also so that Ruth can continue her care at Mayo instead of somewhere else. We don’t know what exactly will come our way in the coming weeks and months. What we do know is that God has blessed us with a healthy baby boy. He has also arranged for us to be at one of the most renowned cancer treatment hospitals in the world. Finally, we will continue to remind each other that God has a plan for our family and definitely loves and cares for us.”
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
— II Cor 12:8-10