In my book “Profundities of Love” Chapter 4, I write about God’s Amazing Grace as it related to my husband, Charles’ illness. Initially, Charles was given two to five years to live.
From the date of Charles’ diagnosis of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia in May 1994, Charles lived until January 2014.
As Christians, when we pray, though believing, we never know how God will answer our prayers. He may answer with “yes.” Or He may answer with a “no,” or “not yet.” Throughout this 20 year journey with leukemia, on several occasions Charles and I would talk about what we thought God would do on his behalf. Would God heal him or not? Charles always referred to this scripture from II Corinthians 12: 8 and 9 (KJV) where the Apostle Paul wrote “for this thing,” referring to having a thorn in his flesh.
” For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
And so it was with Charles. We besought God way more than thrice. No matter the treatment, nothing cured him of the leukemia. Charles stated:
“Obviously God wants me to know that His grace is sufficient.”
“Absolutely,” I said.
And it certainly was! Amazing grace!
As I thought about Charles’ resolve, the story behind the writing of one of the most inspirational spiritual hymns, Amazing Grace, came to mind. The author, John Newton, a sea captain was on a homeward journey when he and his sailors were caught in a raging storm at sea. Newton, tied to the helm, tried desperately to hold the ship to its course. Exhausted and convinced that all was lost and that the ship would surely sink, but by the grace of God they weathered the storm. He reflected on his deliverance and said he believed that God had brought him through and that grace had begun to work for him. Thus, he wrote:
“Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”
As with Newton, God‘s grace helped us weather the storm of leukemia for about 20 years. Absolutely amazing grace!
Another scripture Charles liked was in Daniel 3. He said:
“I love the story about God’s deliverance of the three Hebrew boys. During the time that the Jews were in Babylonian captivity, King Nebuchadnezzar had this tall gold image thing made for the people to fall down and worship when they heard the applicable sound. Anyone that did not obey this decree was to be thrown in a fiery furnace that same hour. As you already know, the three Hebrew boys, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not.”
I responded: “Right on. They were serious about serving the one and only living God, not some idol that King Nebby set up.”
Then Charles added: “They point blank told him that God was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace. And if not, they were still not going to serve his idol. They had some faith! What’s more, these three fellows were young.”
“I know,” I said. “They were awesome! Of course, some folks were watching to see who fell down and worshipped and who did not.”
Charles jumped in with: “Those tatter tales couldn’t wait to tell the King that these Hebrew fellows were not following his decree, and the heat was on, seven times hotter than normal. They ended up thrown in the furnace.”
“But delivered indeed,” I proclaimed. “Not only that, the fire did not burn their hair, clothes nor did they smell of smoke. Amazing, huh?”
We would get so excited talking about God’s deliverance of his saints. For the details of this story, they are recorded in Daniel 3:17 – 27 (KJV).
“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was a hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.”
“If God could save these three fellows from the fury of a burning fiery furnace heated seven times more than usual, I definitely have no doubt whatsoever that He is able to heal me from such a small thing like leukemia. But if not, I am still going to keep the faith and serve him. The ultimate decision is God’s,” Charles stated.
“I, too, know that He is able to heal you. And if He does not, He will most definitely sustain you in it,” I said. And He did. For 20 years God showed us unmerited favor! Amazing Grace! I claim this as one of the greatest profundities of all!
Something to think about:
If you are diagnosed with “not-so-good” news, “Be still.” Make no hasty decisions in your life. Pray about it! Keep the faith! Think positive! Talk with others that have gone through similar diagnoses before making a final decision about treatment. Continue to research and to meet with doctors regarding new procedures and medicines that may be available for you to consider. And remember: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Ephesian 3:20 (KJV)
Gloria Dixon is a contributing writer for Christian Life Magazine and author of the book Profundities Of Love and After Death. Go to gloriadixon.com