Sunday, June 14, 2009

Thanks Lord!

Yesterday, we had a long day. We had gone up to Reseda to visit Michael's dear friend who is almost done with her battle with lung cancer. As we sat there with her while she slept, Michael brought up a conversation he'd had earlier in the week with a fellow musician.

This guy told Michael about his cancer experience. He hadn't been to a doctor in something like 18 years and he thought he was in great shape. But one morning his wife told him that she'd had a dream that he was terminally ill and she insisted he see a doctor. He was very reluctant to do so, but his wife made him an appointment and told him not to bother coming home if he didn't go! LOL! Well, he went and it turned out that his PSA was very high  - he had prostate cancer. Not only that, it had spread to his pelvic bones. Yikes! This guy is a committed Christian, and he turned to some fellow believers for faith healing. In other words, they prayed over him and anointed him with oil - very Biblical. So, when he went back for another bone scan, he was cancer free and the doctors were amazed. He did have surgery for the prostate cancer, but experienced a miraculous healing for the cancer that had metastasized to the bones. He really emphasized to Michael how much he believed his faith had led to his healing and recovery from cancer. This is the point that Michael brought up yesterday. I told him that he needs to have faith.

Well, faith comes from hearing: 

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Romans 10:16-18. 

Got to get him to church!

Earlier in the week, I had asked Michael if he would go to church with me on Saturday night, and he agreed to. I had asked him to go with me after we first learned he might have cancer a few weeks ago, and although he was agreeable to it, when the time came he had to work, or I was sick. So, it had been several weeks and we still hadn't gone to church together. After our very long day (horrible traffic kept us on the freeway for about three hours yesterday), we got home with only 25 minutes to spare before we needed to leave for church. Michael took a quick nap, and then I had to get him up to go. I could tell that he really didn't want to go, but I had a strong feeling that we needed to go together.

I knew he'd appreciate the music because the band and the vocalists are so talented, but I was concerned that he'd not be interested in the message. Every time I've sat in church with him in the past, he takes a nap during the sermon. So, before we got there I asked him if he thought he could go with an open mind and try to stay awake. He told me that he would try.

Well, one of the things the associate pastors like to say when welcoming visitors each week is that they've already been prayed for and that God knew they'd be there. As the service progressed this became so obvious to me. The guest speaker was Jeff Perry from St. Louis, MO. He started off by saying that he thought it was so cool that our church bordered a race track. He said he never been to a horse race before, but that he thought we could learn a lot about life from horse racing. Well, you know what? One of Michael's passions in life is horse racing! He loves to spend an afternoon at the track. His parents and his aunt and uncle have bred and owned race horses for years and years. When Michael's not at the track - he goes very infrequently now - he watches the races online. He loves to handicap the races. Overall, he seems to bet relatively little money, but he loves everything about horse racing. So, right away I'm thinking this is a God thing! God has inspired this pastor to use an analogy that my husband can relate to.

So, the pastor goes on to show a clip of this year's Kentucky Derby. If you'll remember the winner, Mine That Bird, was a 50 to 1 long shot that came from behind for a remarkable victory. Then he says that after he shared this message with his congregation, a member came up to him and told him that he doesn't tell many people this (as many Christians don't gamble), but that he owns a race horse. He named his race horse Thanks Lord because every time he raced he wanted to hear the announcer say, "thanks, Lord." Too funny! So, then we got to watch a clip from a race that Thanks Lord won at Arlington Park in Chicago. By now, I can see that Michael is getting a kick out of this, and I lean over and tell him that God planned this all for him.

For the rest of the message, which was based on the book of Hebrews, Michael was attentive. I didn't catch him with his eyes shut once. He really focused and listened to the message, and Pastor Jeff was a great speaker. His teaching was Biblical. He used lots of great illustrations and humor. It was a wonderful message. Basically, he wanted us to know that we may have the odds stacked against us, but that in Christ we can overcome and be victorious whether our challenges are addictions, finances, broken relationships, or illness. God can move us ahead to victory.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

Be blessed!


Number 6 and no more counting! said...

fantastic post.


Terri @ in His hands said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome story. GO GOD!!!

Alex and Jill said...

Oh Joannah, I'm in tears reading this. I've been praying for Michael in this way, every since you mentioned that he wasn't a believer. God works in the coolest ways. Continuing to pray, sweet friend.


AprilMay said...

What a beautiful, uplifting post! I wish I had been at that service, and I got goosebumps just thinking about the fantastic way God is talking to Michael...yay!!!

Kudo said...

God knows just what we need to hear. So glad you were not at our church as I could not say awake. Just goes to show you that you both were in God's hands.

Jill said...

Joannah, school ended on Friday, but I have a makeup day tomorrow. I am just catching up on your blog! Remember that my mother had Kidney cancer 5 years ago. It had been presenting itself for about 2 years before the urologist finally found it. Her doctors were amazing; several were advisors from UCLA, and we felt so confident about her care. She had such hope all the way through. She is so well now! She laid her own sod last year (at age 68) and she has more vim and vigor than I could ever hope for! Keep your hopes high and your thoughts positive.

Alyson and Ford said...

I'm thinking God prepared this message for the both of you and for us... How great is our Lord!
Too cool.

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

THANKS LORD is right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And thank YOU for sharing this story with us!

Kathy and Joel said...

So nice to read this post. Wishing you and Michael all the inspiration you can possibly get. <3

Kayce said...

I just love the way God works. Thanks, Lord!

Paula said...

TAHNKS LORD! for putting that sermon in Michaels ears at just the right time. What an awesome story.

jeri lynne said...

one of those beautiful moments where when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
What a beautiful message, and of course there are no accidents. the timing was right on time.