” Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto Him, saying, Lord, behold, him whom Thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, He said, ‘this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” John 11:4
When Patty and I had heard the news about the cancer, we really didn’t say much to each other about it. We did encourage each other saying, ‘We know God is in this, we don’t understand where He is leading this, but, we will trust in Him and pray that He will send us word. And so as we waited, He faithfully gave us this promise in the book of John 11:4
A couple days had passed after I was released from the hospital. Having just barely returned from our Honeymoon in beautiful Mill Valley, we weren’t even finished opening all the wedding gifts, we returned home in the midst of the Perfect Storm.
It was good to be back home, away from the hospital, the very thought of not being awakened by ‘vital checks’ was a comfort indeed. But as quickly as I had those thoughts, it didn’t take long to be reminded that, I was not the same man as the one who left a week ago to find out what had gone wrong. Barely shuffling myself inside took every ounce of strength I could garner up. No doubt the Lord was sustaining me in His strength.
That night as we prepared to sleep for the night, the pain within my entire abdomen was intense. My Surgeon, Dr. Ramin Roohipour had to make a ten inch incision in the middle of my stomach muscles to get to the part of the colon where the mass was detected. My whole lower abdomen was so sensitive that all you had to do was accidentally toss a towel on it and those muscles would heave up in pain.
Getting comfortable was challenging,to say the least; there really there was no difference between sitting in a chair or lying down to go to sleep. It was equally difficult and uncomfortable, and a slow process. Patty would become a Nurse Intern overnight as she attended to my every move.
The doctors prescribed me what seemed to be a ton of antibiotics and what would become the most dreadful pain pills called percoset, a very strong pain reliever.
I remember Pastor Steve teaching some studies way back about drugs and their effect on your body and your mind; and how these drugs were so powerful that they could leave an open door for evil itself to come by and harass you. I recall he used the Greek word Pharmacia which is the modern transliteration of the Greek word Pharmakeia, which means Pharmacy, the making and despencing of poisons, pharmaceuticals, medicines.
I’ve got to tell you, these drugs were to me poison. I thought these ‘pain relief’ pills were supposed to bring me relief and rest. Instead, I was in a delusion, neither here, nor there.
There were endless moments into the night when there would be contorted twisted images that raced by, so fast that sometimes I couldn’t plead the blood of Jesus fast enough! Truly, the enemy was coming like someone stuck their hand in a hornet’s nest. That Tuesday night was definitely the worse.
It was Wednesday morning, two days after I was released from the hospital that I woke up at home and shared with Patty, ‘no more of these pain pills’ ………“the Lord is going to have take over from here, these pain pills are from the very pit of hell itself!”
We prayed and asked God to take authority over this and release me from the need to take any pain medication, and the Lord did it! It was pretty much cut down immediately. Not only did I not have a need for any pain medication but I was able to actually start getting much needed rest.
That night, no pills, next day, no pills. Praise the Lord, I haven’t take one of those pills since. I began to see that truly God was in control over everything, even this drug.
Now, I’m not advocating anyone not to take any prescribed medicines assigned to you. That is between you and your doctors, and ultimately God.
I recall in one of my many dreams during the medication nights that in the midst of all those twisted and contorted images, effects from the drug, how there was one dream that stood out.
In it, things all around were dark and murky, and out of nowhere, appeared this hand. In it was a very small, what appeared to me, as a very small pebble.
As I looked closer, I heard this: ‘Marty, this is what your faith in Me appears to you like right now. But remember, all I need is the faith of a mustard seed, and I will accomplish My promise unto you.’ I was humbled, that as I saw my faith, that was all I had. And yet, to the Lord, it was all He required. Everything in my perception of just ‘how much faith do I need?’ changed from that night on. Especially when I remember that Jesus said “no one can snatch me out of His hand”.
The Perfect Promise…….
I have to say, I needed this promise, and God only knows I needed more!
It was that same Wednesday that the Lord spoke to us right out of the Center of this storm, where I have to say, there were many times I felt I was alone, and God had turned away from this……for now.
Suddenly, that Wednesday, God speaks powerfully and hushes all the turmoil from outside the storm. Out of the ‘Perfect Storm‘ He speaks to the both of us His ‘Perfect Promise’..
“Patty, Marty, this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby”
Amazingly, within 24 hours, this same Scripture would be confirmed by other saints as the Holy Spirit linked up this verse 3 times!
We were agasp! But, the tough part was coming. I admit I did believe what the Scripture said, but I found myself asking God…….was it for me personally? Just about the time I was meandering in my thoughts about this, I remembered back to fine moments in my childhood when there were times people would make incredible promises to me, and without thinking, I believed them!
I remember one specifically when I was about 5, when my Aunt promised me she was going to take me to Disneyland the next week. I was thrilled, I was full of anticipation, expectation, never had a doubt crossed my young believing, trusting mind. The only so called bad about it, which was erased by thoughts of going, was it seemed almost every day I’d be asking; ‘Is it time yet?’.
When we received this ‘Perfect Promise’ from the Lord, I found myself in that same place. The difference was, I wasn’t quite thinking with thrill, anticipation, expectation, just taking God at His Word and looking at it through a child’s eyes.
Instead of saying, ‘God is this really from You?’ ‘Would You really do this for me?’ God was saying to me, ‘Marty, it really is Me, it really is true!’ I can tell you, this really opened my eyes to see how I walked in faith as a child, and I’m walking in faith as an adult, but with a ‘childlike faith’. Taking God’s Perfect Promise as it is given.
For a few days, as fast as He reassured me that it was indeed true, the enemy would creep in and try and find a way he could ‘contribute’ his ‘two cents’ into things. He would use phrases like, ‘what if this is not for you?’ ‘How can you be sure….this is from God?’ I can’t begin to tell you how many times the Scriptures rapidly were sent to me by the Holy Spirit to bring an offensive against the lies of the enemy. The most prominent one I can remember, ‘Get behind me Satan’, and ‘the Lord rebuke you’. Powerful, very powerful weapon is the Word of God. He rules!
I can’t tell you how many of those nights Patty and I would prepare for sleep and she would be reading Ephesians about the ‘Helmet of Salvation’ and the ‘Shield of Faith’. This was so important, to read through the Scriptures outloud because we found that the battle didn’t extend just to daytime but, into the night watches.
The enemy tried his best to come in the shadows of the night, only to find God’s heavenly hosts guarding and shielding throughout the night. All this, done in faith. ‘the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ Ahhh, faith! What a fine word indeed!
I always looked at my own faith as strong and able to stand in anything! After all, there were so many who would seek me out for prayer and encouragement. The Lord did amazing things that I couldn’t even imagine, through the measure of faith He’d given me. I figured I had enough for my lifetime!
The Perfect Promise…..“This sickness is not unto death, but that God be glorified, and that the Son of God might be glorified, thereby.” I like what the Greek says about this. ‘that the Son of God might, ‘keep on’ being glorified thereby’
Every time someone hears about this, the response? ‘Let’s pray’!
I have to say, I needed this promise, and God only knows I needed more!
As I read this passage over and over in John 11, the Lord pointed right at me and what He said made me to stand at attention. What was being tested here? Was this chastisement? Far from it, He narrowed it down to verse 40.
“Jesus saith unto her, (Martha), ‘Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, that shouldest see the glory of God?”
‘Didn’t I say to you, Marty, that if you would only believe, that you should see the glory of God?………did I not promise to you that this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might (keep on) being glorified thereby?”
Well, I discovered I had what I call ‘narrow minded faith’. I could hear what the words of God were saying, and even believing Him at His Word. My issue here was I couldn’t comprehend from my perspective that God was and is doing what He said….already!
Truly my narrow minded faith was going through some adjustments. I had to believe that God’s perfect promise was already being backed up with His own perfect plan. If I would take Him at His Word, I would see amazing miracles that would point to Jesus and result in peoples also seeing Him glorified thereby. I can honestly tell you I have seen this happen, day by day. Case in point, my trip to see my Oncologist.
The day arrived on February 6th when God would reveal, and confirm to me evidence of both the Perfect Storm and the Perfect Promise.
This would be the day we would meet with the Oncologist. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it is a Cancer Specialist.
Patty and I had prayed for days that the Lord would provide His perfect Doctor/ Representative. When we arrived, after the preliminary testing, we finally met him. His first name was Todd.
He began to explain in detail what kind of surgery I had, and what the definitive results were. He went on to say that he was most amazed that the cancer had localized itself to only 1 of 24 lymph nodes of the colon; and that there were only microbe traces.
He said if there were no evidence of microbes in that one lymph node, I would have been a Stage 2 instead of Stage 3, and that would have meant I wouldn’t need any further treatment. He said, I was in excellent physical condition, and had healed extremely fast from the surgery. He also said that those microbes could very well have ‘already healed’. But, for insurance sake, he was going to prescribe me to a chemotherapy treatment. The final analysis, he says I have an excellent outlook in recovering from this cancer!
Patty and I were both relieved that God had not only brought us the Perfect Promise in His Word, and confirmation after confirmation, He had brought us the ‘peace that surpassed our understanding’.
What an amazing God He is. Although I truly am not looking forward to the chemotherapy treatments beginning next Wednesday, I can say that I am trusting God. He has done so many excellent things so far!
The next blog will be bringing things up to date and current, so they won’t be as long for you all to read.
It is my intention this blog become an interactive prayer response center where you can also posts your prayer needs that others and myself can bring your needs before the “Throne of Grace, where we can receive mercy and help in a time of need”. And so we will be adding a ‘Prayer Widget’ where you can submit your own requests for prayer and link up with many other visitors to this sight as we interceed for each other.
There will also be a widget where you can subscribe to this blog and receive automatic alerts that a new post has been finished. My hope is that the Lord will give me one post every day!
Next Blog, detailed information,on begining date of chemotherapy treatments, and individual prayer dates.
Thank you all again, and may the Lord bless and keep you and comfort you!