My Friend's Faith and His Son's Testimony
From my friend Dana who is fighting cancer with faith and gallantry:
Me thinks sometimes when I write something God says, "OK, now live it out." (It is easier just to write it:) So, I'm in the midst of persevering, hoping we can get enough stem cells for a future transplant (if needed). The normal procedure did not work this past week as we only got a tenth of what is required. So this next week we are trying an experimental drug discovered in AIDS research that tends to bring more stem cells out of the bone morrow into the blood stream. This means another weekend of shots, more tests, and a brief hospitalization
Tuesday and Wednesday. Perseverance...:-)
So I thought I would change topics and write a little about healing...
Five years ago, I firmly expected God to miraculously heal me of cancer.
I know He really did, but I was kind of hoping for the type that bypasses all the suffering. It really is amazing to think of all the things that have been discovered in medicine. God deserves the glory for all these advancements and I praise Him for the progress made in my disease. From a purely scientific point of view, if I had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma twenty-five years ago, I would not have lived more than a year. Five years ago, there was no chemotherapy around that would knock back the cancer like the new chemo I received before Christmas.
Even this experimental drug, which has only been in use about a year, is an incredible advancement that gives people with damaged bone marrow hope for harvesting stem cells. I am thankful for all these discoveries and I am certain that, if God permits, man will continue to find ways to combat cancer and other diseases. If He chooses another transplant as the path for me to go, I pray for grace.
But I know God heals in other ways. Some doctors and nurses will tell you there are things they have seen that defy any medical explanation. Taylor told us some funny stories about healing from his recent trip.
People sometimes say, "Yea, all those stories of miracles always happen in some third world country where there is no proof. Why doesn't God just heal everyone in Northside Hospital? Then I'll believe." I imagine God has His reasons for what He does and where He does it. Even Jesus addressed such skepticism in the prideful people of His hometown as He prepared to share truth they did not want to hear. "Surely, you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.'" (See Luke 4:23-30)
One of Taylor's friends, who went on a different outreach, shared God's display of power as they visited a local church. In that church there was a lady that had been blessed with the gift of healing. When Zeke saw this, he said, "Man, I wish God would use me this way!" The lady told him to come over and she would pray for him. Zeke related the story:
"She prayed for me a long time and when she finished I was stoked! But then she told me I needed to put this gift into practice and she pointed to Chris!" Chris was one of the leaders on the outreach and everyone knew he had a disability. Chris had been born with a condition where one leg was three to four inches shorter than the other. Taylor said Chris had a very noticeable limp and that he could not run or do physical activities the way most people could. "You want me to heal Chris?" Zeke asked reluctantly. Well, Zeke walked over to Chris and asked if he could pray for him. He did not lay a hand on him, but while he prayed Chris yelled, "What are you doing?" Chris described what felt like three separate tugs on his leg and his shorter leg grew about three inches. Taylor said this was one of the testimonies shared in front of two hundred people after all the students came back together in Hawaii at the end of the outreaches. As Zeke told the story, everyone turned around and looked at Chris. He just waved and said, "It's true!"
Isn't that cool? I asked Taylor, "What if someone denied that such a thing happened?" "I'd just give 'em Zeke's phone number and let him tell the story." Taylor said it was not uncommon for God to heal people out in the country-side of Cambodia. "We didn't see much healing in town, but God often healed people in the hill country." He told us about a guy who had been bedridden for two years. After much prayer, a missionary named Garth told him to get up. The guy not only got up and walked, but he started jumping. The funniest story Taylor told took place the previous year when a team went to pray for the sick in the country.
"This girl on the outreach prayed for a man with a withered arm. Right there in front of everyone, the arm grew and became normal. The girl that prayed was so shocked, she fainted!" The "faith of a mustard seed..."
Many of you have heard, perhaps, that a generous family gave me a ticket to go to Africa this spring. I want to go without this catheter in my neck and with more than a mustard seed of faith! Our team will serve many orphans in Namibia whose parents have died of AIDS. How Africa needs healing! How the children need comfort for their hearts and food for their bellies! How the missionaries need encouragement and support from the Body of Christ! May our awesome God do far more than we can ask or imagine!
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21