This past week I had occasion to have the physical needs of two people put on my heart in a special way. One is related to me...the other, a member of a local congregation. Both, have brain tumors. The prognosis for one is not yet determined, the other, dismal. Allow me to share the dismal case.
At our Wednesday night rehearsal and planning session for our praise and worship service, a local Baptist pastor came in the door and waved me over to speak with him. He said that a 9 year old who they thought had viral encephalitis was just diagnosed with a brain tumor and would be moved to another hospital in Birmingham, AL. He said that God told him to come tell me and that he felt led that I would consent to go to the hospital that's 45 minutes away and pray for him. I pray every morning that God leads me to the people for whom he wants me to pray for His mercies and healing. I couldn't resist saying yes, as that is an answered prayer. We drove to the hospital, getting there a little after 9pm, and went into the child's room. We visited shortly then the minister anointed the child with oil, read some scripture, then asked me to pray for him. I led us in prayer, laid hands upon him, and told him stories of people being healed by having faith in Jesus Christ. I told him that God gives us all that we need to deal with whatever life throws our way. I assured him that Jesus knew him personally, and hears his and his family's prayers, and takes them to the Father. Then we left.
The next day when he was transferred to a bigger and more qualified hospital the findings of the biopsy were that he should make arrangements to have the best Christmas ever...as it may be his last. This tumor is so intertwined in his brain tissue that surgery is out of the question. He is undergoing experimental chemical treatments, the side effects of which are tortuous and as of yet still unpredictable. I was devastated and broken hearted for this child.
It was then that I started to truly pray for him. When I visited him in the hospital, it was a bit awkward, and almost a bit contrived. Mind you, I prayed with all that was in me at the time, but it was the next day that I truly felt an intercession on his behalf. And it is now that I feel that same intercession for him. He occupies my consciousness always, and my spirit is intermingled with his wellbeing. I fall prostrate before Our Lord on his behalf. I know that now God is hearing me...now God is listening...now God is showing His mercy to that boy and his family. I know it. Why? Because NOW, I'm truly praying for him.
I lift up this boy in the morning, noon and night. Tears well up as I pray for his healing. I know Our God is a merciful god. I can do nothing to wield His power, but do everything to pray for His mercy. The plight of this boy has knocked out the stilts I thought I was walking upon. It's knocked out my own feet. I fall prostrate before Our Lord in intercession on his behalf. While I cannot discern the will of God, I know that He hears my prayers better now than when I visited the boy in the hospital. He has broken me of arrogance. He has broken me of self. He has broken me for this child. May I remain broken and dependent upon the love and mercy of Our Lord.
Then there's the family member with a brain tumor. My heart is broken for him. It's broken for his wife and children. They will biopsy the tumor in a little over a week and the surgical team will know where to go from there. He and I have mature conversations about faith, the universe, and the grander scheme of things. I'm in awe as to the strength he is showing throughout all of this uncertainty. In over 50 years of being everything that brothers are...I'm in awe of the person he's become.
I pray that I can make the expensive trip to see him and be with him before the verdict is in on his condition. I've been there for him in the past, as he has been there for me. But now, I seek God's presence, more than mine, to be there with him. And I'm sure that it is.
Life...so precious. Life...so eternal. Life...I pray for life for these two. It is only in God's will how these two lives will be lived, but I know that God loves to hear us lift up others...He loves to hear the choir more than a solo...He loves to know that we love through the example of His son, Jesus Christ. May I continually grow to have that same, selfless, compassionate love that Jesus had for those he encountered. I pray, Father God, that your son, Jesus, tells you of our petitions. I pray, Holy Spirit, that you provide the words to The Father that my mere human mind cannot come up with. I pray, with all that is in me, that when Thy Will Be Done, it be a merciful will; it be a compassionate will; it be a will that leads others to know of the sacrifice of your son, Jesus. I pray.