I don’t believe I shared with you all here before that 7 months ago I started getting really sick. It was worst when I traveled but not reserved only for weekends of travel. I was miserable a couple days a week with stomach pain and I started to worry that maybe there was something really serious wrong with me. I saw a few doctors, underwent tests, and they kept coming back and telling me I was healthy enough to live to 100. So from there it became even more about watching what I ate and pinpointing foods that were causing me problems.
I was challenged in my daily bible reading in several verses one of which comes from James and says, ‘Count it all joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be whole and complete, not lacking anything’. Testing of my faith it was. Being sick, on the road, while working events. Working 16-20 hours days and then flying home again while in terrible pain was a real test of my faith. Could I count it all joy? Was my attitude where it needed to be despite the frustrations of sickness with no answers? Was I serving whole heartedly despite how my body may be feeling?
I challenged myself to use the time I was sick for good. Ever since I started at my current job our staff had been praying for a man named Rich, who was suffering from stage 4 cancer. As many of you who have loved ones who have battled with cancer know, stage 4 is usually considered terminal. In Rich’s case, they said it was impossible that he could beat the cancer – but they hoped the chemo and radiation would give him a little more time with his wife and sons before he passed. I to this day have not met Rich face-to-face but I felt a heavy burden in my heart to pray for him.
I remember with clarity the moment I decided that whenever I was feeling sick, I would use that time to pray for Rich – who was going through so much more than I. Now before you think I’m all saintly or anything, I did this so that I wouldn’t have a crappy attitude all day. As a reminder that not only could things be worse for me, but they WERE worse for many people around me. I have to watch myself in order to keep from throwing the occasional pity party. Our health is so easy to take for granted, is it not?
The time that most stands out in my mind took place in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was sick as a dog, the worst yet of my episodes. I was sitting in the bathroom at Paul Brown Stadium praying for Rich. I felt such an overwhelming sense of peace about my own situation through praying for someone else. Prayer is incredible that way, is it not?
I share this story with you to tell you that miracles do happen. We got word last week that Rich has been pronounced cancer free. A miracle that even the doctors can’t deny. There was no medical way to heal Rich. Only the Lord could and did heal his body of all traces of this horrible disease.
I know that hundreds of people wore their knees out in prayer for Rich and it’s incredible to see how God answered those prayers in an even bigger way than any of us could have hoped for or imagined. But then again, the word says ‘ To him who his able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask for or imagine – to him be the glory and honor throughout this generation and forever’. Amen.
I love to share that the Lord still does miracles. I love when doctors are left baffled because they know it was impossible. But nothing my friends is impossible with God.
Pray without ceasing, he instructs. And I am challenged by scripture when it says that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. The faith of a great many people combined sure did move a cancerous mountain. I hope someday to meet Rich myself but until I'm giving thanks and praise to the Lord for an incredible, modern day miracle.