"The Father's Activity in My Life"
Healing from Prostate Cancer
Although my father and his brother both died of prostate cancer, I never thought about it for a moment- until June 9 of 1995 when after an examination my family physician discovered that I had an enlarged prostate with a PSA reading of 19. He sent me for a bone scan and a biopsy. I was not expecting a negative report and my wife did not go with me for that particular visit.
I am one of those characters who thinks that reading the Bible daily is important. Interestingly, that morning I had read in 2 Chronicles 20 about Jehoshaphat's distress. A doom's day army composed of Ammon, Moab and Mt. Seir came against Judah. In essence they said, "Have you made your funeral arrangements? We are here to destroy you." The king got the people and they fell on their faces before God and said, "We don't know what to do, but we are looking to you." God responded and assured him that He was in the war room with them. That passage aligned my heart and spirit with the purposes of God and re-established my life mission of ministry.
At the appointed time, an older doctor gave me the report of the biopsy. A high grade of cancer had shown up in all six sticks. He quoted statistics and figures and percentages about survival and non-survival. In effect, what I saw and heard and felt from him gave me no hope at all. When I left the office, I had to go on errands for the church before returning to tell my wife of the report. I kept hearing Dr. Henry Blackaby's statement ringing in my ears, "When you face a crisis, the next thing you do really reveals what you believe about God."
At that very moment I made a decision that I think set the direction for my future. I refused to be a static statistic. I did not buy into what the doctor told me. My identity was based on life mission.
Later, at home, my wife sat on the couch, and like King Jehoshaphat of old, we had a very precious worship service- just the three of us. All the fear about the future faded away at that moment. As oncologist Dr. Bernie Seigel emphasized in LOVE, MEDICINE AND MIRACLES, I had the three elements that produce survivors: faith, hope and love. These three the Apostle Paul said would remain when everything else was gone.
My identity and life frame was and is bolstered by that incredible description given by Paul in Ephesians 1-3. For three chapters I think he was saying, "Before you take on fifteen jobs in the church, first, sit down and let me tell you what you have when you have Christ in you. You are sainted, blessed, chosen, holy, without blame, predestined, adopted, accepted, forgiven, redeemed, inherited, sealed, made alive, earnested, seated, brought near, loved, accessed, and built up." I was lying on the beaches of God's grace and enjoying every moment of the heavenly sunshine.
I had three surgeries: laproscopy to check the lympth nodes, prostate removal, and bilateral orchiectomy. I was fortunate to be teamed with Dr. Robert Webb, a wonderful Christian Urologist. After the prostate was removed my PSA was 11. It should have been "0". I had another surgery and later my reading was 0.7. Since that time it has remained below 1.0. On November 2, 1999, Dr. Webb looked at the report and said, "There is nothing normal about you." I responded, "Dr. Webb we know the answer, don't we?" He said, "Yes, it looks like the good Lord is going to keep you around for awhile."
These five years I have had time to reflect on these matters. These episodes resurfaced as I was reading FIGURING OUT PEOPLE by Drs. Bodenhamer and Hall. (If you haven't read it, it is MUST reading). I can reaffirm that anchoring in Mission and spiritual trans-mission in the hierarchy of logical levels has a powerful effect on everything on the lower levels. I am refusing to think of myself even as a cancer survivor. First and foremost, I see myself as a Child of God with a living Lord. It is He who has the final say about my life.
That passage in 2 Chronicles gave me my strategy. The cancer cells are Ammon, Moab and Mt. Seir. The Bible passage says that none of the enemy escaped. I created a picture of confusion among the cancer cells. I also portrayed my killer cells as SEALS, the good guys, who go in and hunt down the bad buys and destroy them. I found the submodalities that seemed to drive this image in moving color with all the attending sounds and a life-giving blue light. I maintained this strategy for months but now feel that it has fulfilled its purpose.
God also has His ways of reassuring us of His continuing purposes for our lives. I am involved in prison ministry. I was reading the assignments the same as the inmates. One particular week we were to read Psalm 118, a chapter I have probably read one hundred times. But that day, when I came to verses 19-20, for lack of a better term, I came unglued. All I could do was weep for about five minutes. My dear wife thought I was having a heart attack. I could not verbalize what was happening in those moments of divine confrontation. God reassured me through those two verses that I would lay hands on my great grandchildren and bless them, especially my eleven year old grandson in Wyoming. Again, there is that divine sense of mission and identification with what God is accomplishing in the world.
Each day I am confessing, "The joy of the Lord is my strength" and it is. I refuse, doggedly refuse, to become a static statistic, but rather a living, in process, vibrant reminder that we have a great God who is working within us. After all, if man can make penicillin out of a moldy piece of bread, what can God do with one person who is clay in His hand?
613 E. Dickerson
Goodlettesville, TN 37012
©2000 Jim Heflin All rights reserved.