Tamela Reed has a very personal perspective on the age-old question, Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?
When Tamela was diagnosed with a form of leukemia in 2006, she was 36, happily married and homeschooling two young daughters. She had earned two master's degrees -- one in organizational management and another in business administration -- and had just signed a lease on a commercial kitchen for her soul-food catering business.
As she faced the coming ordeal, Tamela prayed, and prayed again. She carried around 3 by 5 cards of scripture to meditate on, studying them like she studied during her master's programs. She claimed God's promises of healing. She prayed some more.
God, she cried, why would you do this to me?
Then, six weeks after her diagnosis, she noticed that the grapefruit-sized lump on her chest was gone. She raced downstairs to tell her husband, Major. He thought it looked as if the cancerous hump had declined. They hurried to Tamela's doctor.
"I've been healed!" she said. "I told you Jesus was real!"
The oncologist told Tamela she had to undergo cancer therapy anyway. Her particular type of cancer was too pernicious. He ordered the treatments to start right away.
God, she cried, you healed me. Why would you put me through this?During that horrible year -- through pain, nausea, two bone marrow transplants; through the stress of trying to be a mother, a wife, a homemaker, a businesswoman--Tamela heard God's answer: No one knows the needs of cancer patients better than... a cancer patient.
Surviving a Difficult Childhood
Tamela wasn't always listening to God.
Growing up in San Diego, she only saw her father twice before hearing that he had died of a drug overdose. Through the ups and downs of her childhood, though, her mother made sure to keep Tamela involved in church. From this early involvement Tamela developed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ at a young age.
But as a Clairemont High School student, she defied the teachings of her youth pastor, a former NFL player named Miles McPherson, vowing as she went off to college to move in with her boyfriend.
Her conscience didn't let her, but her path was still pretty bumpy during the next decade. She met her future husband, Major, at a school in Pittsburgh. They were friends for many years, each going through a list of relationships but always staying in touch. By now Tamela had returned to San Diego, and Major had followed her west. They finally were married in 1996 and had two daughters, Parris and Sydnie.
Establishing Rock Cancer C.A.R.E.
As soon as she got the strength after her cancer treatment, Tamela put the wheels in motion to start a ministry to patients, caregivers and survivors.
Rock Cancer C.A.R.E.'s 100 volunteers have helped more than 400 patients, delivering 300 meals and providing 500 rides to chemo and other appointments.
She never envisioned how big God's plans for the ministry were.
Rock Cancer C.A.R.E. is now a nonprofit, with 100 active volunteers and a committee leadership team. It has helped more than 400 patients, delivering 300 meals and providing 500 rides to chemo and other appointments.
The ministry offers an array of services: education and awareness, patient advocacy, prescription and financial assistance, peer support for survivors, transportation, grocery shopping, housecleaning, laundry services, pet walking, hospital visitation, special occasion events like children birthday parties. The needs are endless.
RCC also organizes special events like an annual Walk Down Memory Lane, a fundraising event that gave survivors, family members, and care providers the chance to honor a beloved cancer patient. In 2009 they partnered with the Rock Motorcycle Ministry to touch a man who loved Harleys and was battling terminal cancer. (See the video: www.sdrock.com/cancercarevideo/).
These days, 15 or so community groups or institutions, such as the Ronald McDonald House and Rady Children's Hospital, count on Rock Cancer C.A.R.E. for help.
Pastor Miles McPherson featured her in his book, DO Something! Make Your Life Count (Baker), and on companion websites. (Click here.)
Tamela, and her family, now understand the purpose God had planned for her pain, and hundreds are being blessed because she obeyed Him.
Congratulations, Tamela Reed, Rock Hero for March 2010!