"It is well. It is well with my soul!"
"It is well. It is well with my soul!"
OUR PRAYER WARRIORS
Principal: Anything that causes you to take your eyes off the truth, Jesus, is spiritual warfare.
One thing I promised to do was to blog and share my experience so others could walk with me and with the Lord. As you can see, I jumped from day 3 to day 7 and now want to go back and explain what happened to 4,5 & 6.
On the eve of the 4th day, I wrote out a blog I planned to publish the next day. Little did I know that it would be the start of one of the most significant and most powerful spiritual attacks I had ever experienced. The attack was so strong that it kept me up most of the night wrestling with God. I wanted answers. My main question was, “Why?”
I am sure I am not alone in asking why? Surely, each of us at one-point in our lives has asked the question without an explanation. I was sure my question fell on deaf ears. There seemed to be no explanation. I was convinced that my God did not hear me, that he was not going to heal me, and that he was not willing. Satan had gotten into my head.
John 10:10 tells us, “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; but I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Thursday morning came and I was scheduled for radiation at 8:55. I was incredibly agitated. I was tired and worn out from wrestling with God all night. Nothing had been resolved. I was convinced that my very presence at MD Anderson proved my lack of faith in God to heal me. How could I put my faith in science when the God I knew could take it away instantaneously?
At 7:20 that morning, I talked with Stephanie. I told her that I was trying to discern God’s will and His method of delivery regarding my healing. I told her that my faith in Jesus, led me to believe I had been healed, not would be healed. I asked her, “Is my faith not enough?” I went on to say, “What if, as much faith as I believe I have, it falls short and is not even as big as a mustard seed?”
Matthew 17:20 tell us, “… Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
I told Stephanie that, it was the "what if" that made me want to leave MD Anderson and go home. In a way, I wanted to test God. Was he faithful or not? If I believed I was healed then why stay, why not just go home now. I told her that my presence was nothing more than a lack of faith and I was not going to radiation. I decided I was packing up our car and heading back to Oklahoma, because my God was the great healer and this was not where I was supposed to be. The underlying question was, “Am I even supposed to use science to extend my life and if so, at what cost? I thought, I would rather die than subject myself to this treatment.
Stephanie immediately prayed over me. I told her not to, that my mind was made up. She prayed anyway. We cried. Her heart was broken. After the prayer, she asked me to go. I told her that I would go today for her, but that we were leaving tomorrow.
I went to radiation at the request of Stephanie. For the first time, I did not ask to listen to contemporary Christian music and I did not pray during the procedure. I was only doing it for her. It was a task and I wanted out of it as fast as possible. I was not by any stretch of the imagination, still, which I had been up to this point. I was done and I was out of here. So, I thought!
My treatment was over by 9:10.
At 9:09, while I was in treatment, I received this message from Pastor Danny Duran.
Today's going to be a great day! Love you, praying for you. May God, give you His strength, His peace, and His joy. Never forget that you are not alone! All faith requires is that first step, you can't have faith without it. #TGBTG
I immediately texted Danny back while walking to the car.
Your timing is God's timing. Last night I wrote a blog to my prayer warriors to publish today on day 4. When I had finished, I wasn't sold out on what I wrote. I found myself trying to persuade others that I "am" healed and yet I was asking them to pray for my healing, no side-affects and no symptoms. I asked them, do they believe? That caused me to ask myself, do I believe? Anyway, I wrestled with God all night. I do believe God can heal me right now. I do believe He can remove my cancer with a single word or touch. Yet, I am concerned that my presence here is a lack of faith. There are millions of people who go through here and I suspect most put their faith and trust in the doctors, the machines and the process. I just can't. So, I wrestle. I went to radiation today. I don't know if I will go tomorrow. I want my witness to be about Jesus's healing hand, not MD Anderson and science.
Danny went on to minister to me for some time. He filled my mind with truths and with scripture. He challenged my thinking and pushed to get me to think about the things of God. Here is some of the narrative and guidance that began to change my thinking.
Danny: Tom I totally understand that. Faith is often hard to discern and follow. Some steps of faith come with a loud yes, while others come with a firm no. I do know that God uses Dr’s and that he says in Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. I can relate to you on trusting Dr’s and the struggle with doing so. I believed that God would heal Lille completely and he didn’t need a neurosurgeon, but I felt like she was to be part of the story. She (the Dr.) in the beginning didn’t believe in miracles. But when she could only take out 75% of the tumor and went and looked after word; all of it was gone. I then understood what God wanted to do. She (the Dr.) then called Lille her miracle patient. It was one of the best parts of the whole process. The Dr’s might say that the side-affects are this and this, but I am praying that God will show them that and that!! Lille was supposed to have speech therapy and struggle with talking. Well we both now she doesn’t struggle in communicating. Ha-ha. Another sign for all to know that He is God. Instead of God healing Lille without Dr’s and it just being our story, He chose to include them and make it all our stories. He’s good like that.
[About Lillie: Lille is Danny and Emily’s five-year-old daughter who is the miracle child described herein. At 18 months, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. They were only able to remove 75% of the tumor. Three days later after the swelling subsided, they completed another MRI and all the cancer was gone.]
Tom: Then, is my walk, for others? Is it to reach the lost or to reach the weak? Am I to suffer so others can see, so they can be part of the story? I truly believe God can heal me now.
Danny: He can... He may choose too!
Tom: I can't imagine the pain and suffering you and Emily went through while staying faithful to Lille's healing. I can't imagine how Lille; a child must have felt.
Danny: We all suffer, but we get to choose if our suffering will bring glory to Him or just to ourselves.
Tom: I agree.
Danny: He went on to share numerous pointed scriptures to build my faith and point me to the truth to break the stronghold Satan had on me.
Tom: Clearly, I need to go open my Bible. I have allowed the attacks of the evil one to gain a foothold. He has no power over me, in Jesus's name. AMEN and AMEN!
Danny: You are not in this alone, but the enemy will try and make you believe that so that you only listen to his voice. It is his greatest tool, loneliness. We all fall victim to it, myself included, but ultimately, we will Rise Against it! Because we are MORE THEN CONQUERERS!! Love you my friend! Always know that I am here, only a text or phone call away!
Tom: Thanks, Danny! Thanks for your faith and shepherding. Much needed today!
Danny: We are family! Forever connected!
Tom: Thank you, Danny! I am so grateful for you. Thanks for being there in my weakness. God knew I needed a brother this morning. He sent you before you even knew the why.
Danny: Just being obedient my friend! Glad I could help!
Prior to coming to MD Anderson, I went to visit my daughter Heather, who works with Danny Duran. The Duran family has taking her in almost as one of their own. While there we had the opportunity to worship and then went to lunch with the Duran family. Lille and I have always been connected, but on this day, Lille, shared some childlike love and faith with me that still speaks to me today.
How often do we miss the opportunity to have love and have faith like a child? Here a five-year-old was ministering to me simply by being love and by being willing to share it openly and honestly. She related with me, she reassured me and she let me know that my life mattered.
Her demonstration of love and faith reminds me of our Father in Heaven and how much he does the same with us. He knows everything. He knows how we feel. He knows what we need. He never leaves us. He never forsakes us. He comes to us and whispers words that give us life. All we need to be willing to do is listen. To stay in-tune with who He is and what He promises. It is so easy to get distracted by the ‘given over of our minds’ to the empty lies of Satan. All Satan wants to do is ‘steal, kill and destroy’. The easiest place to attack is our mind. Too often, we leave ourselves open to these kinds of attacks by not filling our mind with the truth found in scripture. God’s promises are for all of us.
Over the last three days, a lot has happened. Satan attacked my mind. He got me to think more about me than my Lord and Savior. Thus, I found myself glorifying myself more than glorifying Him. Every word I said or every action I took seemed to magnify me instead of magnifying Him. Please understand, while in the midst of the attack, I was not aware that I was under the shackles of Satan’s attacks. However, by the grace of God, He, in his almighty power, unloaded a legion of angles we call, ‘Our Prayer Warriors’ to fight off Satan’s attacks. Even while I was consumed with myself, He brought forth, hundreds, if not thousands of people to pray on our behalf. They filled our FB, our text, our email, our blog, through my kids posts, through cards, through scriptures in a bottle, and through phone calls and videos. There was no end to the amount of prayer occurring to fight off the spiritual attacks that was destroying me. I am so thankful for all of you. I am so thankful for a faithful God. I am so thankful for Jesus and how He is the center of my life.
I now know, again, that I am to walk this walk with all of you. I believe each of you is part of the story and part of the miracle.
To God be the glory and may His son’s name Jesus, be magnified!
We love all of you beyond measure,
TOM O'KEEFE BLOG