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by J. C. Corcoran
My wife and I were napping after a hard day’s work when my cell phone brought us awake. It was the Urologist from the IU Melvin and Bren Cancer Center in Indianapolis. Can you imagine how alarming, or disarming, it is to be brought up out of a deep sleep and told that you have cancer?
I sat numb and staring out my bedroom window as the doctor’s voice continued through my phone. “It is just as we thought, Mr. Corcoran. The M. R. I. confirms our original prognosis; your right kidney is full and we must remove it.”
“What about the left one, doctor?” That’s all I remember saying. His reply was short and to the point; “There is a small section on the left kidney that will also need to be removed.”
The remainder of the conversation, which may have lasted less than three minutes, was about meeting in his office in a week or two to discuss a plan of action.
I hung up the phone and continued to stare through my bedroom window. It was a beautiful evening, somewhere around seven P. M.. I noticed how beautifully green and healthy our garden appeared. It wouldn’t be long before we would be picking fresh onions and tomatoes and melon and beans and all that other good stuff that was growing.
But my thoughts quickly turned to how unhealthy I was and I felt like screaming. The one thing that kept me from screaming was my wife’s hand on my shoulder. “It’s in God’s hands,” she said in a hushed voice.
It was just the night before that, when we had lain in bed, that I explained to her how I really believed that God was going to heal me. I quoted Proverbs 3:7-8; “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”
I also quoted Galatians 3:13 that says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law.” And I explained how, in Deuteronomy 28 it tells us about that curse which includes, among many other things, sickness and diseases to anyone who fails to obey God’s word. So, I insisted, if Jesus has redeemed us from the curse, I believe this will all go away and God will be glorified.
So now, here we are sitting by the window and my wife is reminding me of all these things I had told her last night, and she said; “I believe what you said is probably right.”
I was listening to her but I was coming to a slow boil inside. Inwardly I was screaming at God. “How can you make all these promises and then let me get news like this? What am I supposed to believe?” I never let my wife know what I was feeling inside because I did not want to ruin her faith.
About an hour later I was sitting on the couch staring through the living room window. I hadn’t said a word for quite a while when Charlene came over and asked if I was OK. “Yes, I’m ok; I just need some time to get over this bad news.” And that reminded me of what I had recently read in Psalm 112. Verse 1 says “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord.” And verse 7 says; “He will have no fear of bad news.”
Which set me to thinking; was I afraid? “No, I can honestly say I’m not afraid but I am disappointed. I had been thinking all along that the M. R. I. was going to show the two doctors that they were wrong in their prognosis; that God had healed me. Then I showed Charlene the prayer I had written and had been praying daily for some weeks now; ever since this whole thing began back in April. It all comes from Scripture so I know I am praying according to God’s will.
“My God, I pray that You lengthen my years; heal my body; open my ears; strengthen my bones; and I will serve You as my Lord and King. (Prv. 3:7-8)
Grant me wisdom and understanding that I might serve You with love and integrity. (James 1:5)
Cleanse me from all unrighteousness and create in me a clean heart and a steadfast mind and I will serve You all the rest of my days.” (1 John 1:9 & Ps. 51:10).
The next day, July 3rd, while Charlie (Charlene) was working, I spent time with my bible, a pen and notebook, and opened my heart to God’s instruction on faith and unanswered prayer.
The one thing that kept running through my mind was the fact that Gods timing was not the same as ours and I shouldn’t be feeling disappointed that He hadn’t answered my prayers; not yet. I looked at Moses, who spent 80 years wandering in the desert searching and hoping for God’s promise. Then there’s Noah, who spent nearly a hundred years building an ark while everyone laughed at him. He kept going because he had God’s promise. And of course, there was Abraham, who waited 25 years for the birth of a son only to have God tell him to sacrifice him.
So, who am I to be disappointed after only a few weeks? Faith and endurance are the key words in my search for an answer as to why God did not answer my prayer. Who am I to get angry at God for not answering the way I thought He should? There I go right back to my old habit of wanting it my way.
I consider myself a righteous man because the Word of God says I am. Romans 3:22: “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” I believe, therefore I am found righteous in the eyes of God the father and Romans 1:17 says that “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Sometimes my faith comes in short measure when I take my eyes off Jesus and His word. That’s why He has to remind me of people like Moses and Noah and Abraham. Faith is an exercise in endurance and the writer of Romans said in 15:4; “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
So there is still hope for healing for those who love the Lord and show their love by obedience to His word. His word promises healing and I will hold onto that promise just as Moses and Noah and Abraham hung onto their promises.
I don’t know what’s going to happen. Will God heal me or will He allow them to take my kidney? What I do know is this: It really doesn’t matter as long as whatever happens; it brings glory to God. After all, that’s why we’re here isn’t it?
Remember what Jesus said about the blind man in John chapter nine? “This happened so that the work of God might be displayed.” He also said the same thing about the death of Lazarus when He first heard that Lazarus was sick; he said: “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
I’m not looking for sympathy in telling this story but rather like it tells us in 2nd Corinthians 1:3-4, I’m trying to encourage you who have cancer or might know someone with cancer and I will close with these words from 2nd Corinthians:
“Praise be to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” Amen
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