Below is the testimony of a friend of mine, a piece of his youth, and a memory that he holds dear in his mind. While Adam and I have not known each other long; I am greatly enjoying the friendship the Lord is allowing to be molded. I hope that you will read, ponder, and take to heart the lessons learned through another’s testimony.
The Power of Prayer
Even though I was not saved until the age of twelve, my journey to understand spiritual things started when I was five. It was 1996 and my dad was diagnosed with melanoma, a form of skin cancer. At the time there was not a cure, especially at the stage that they found it. He and my mom went to Mexico to try some experimental treatment, but to no avail. I do not remember much because I was so young, but I do remember him using some weird lotions and drinking nasty juices.
I did not really understand what was happening, or the seriousness of the situation, but I do remember him telling me everything was going to be okay. My mom and Pastor, who was best friends with my dad, both told me just to pray for my daddy, and Jesus was going to heal him.
Dad’s health continued to decline to the point where he lost all color in his skin and the ability to speak. I would come home from school and go to our living room, sit in his lap and tell him about my day as he smiled and nodded.
On February 15, 1997, family, friends, and church members came to our house and held hands, completely encircling our house. We started to pray that God would heal my daddy; it seemed like we prayed for hours. Standing by my uncle, I realized something was happening: there was a presence of peace. I could not understand exactly what the feeling was, but something was different. After a couple hours almost everyone went home.
That night, my older siblings and I were playing games in our room. I went to get a glass of water and I came back into the room to find my pastor and his wife were there and everyone was crying. I climbed onto the bed by my pastor; he looked at me and said, “Your daddy went to heaven.” I asked, “What do you mean?” He just hugged me and held me as I started to cry with everyone else. We eventually ended up downstairs where my pastor put me in my brother’s lap and told him he had to look after me now. That is the last thing I remember from that night.
As I stated earlier, I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior when I was twelve years old. We were having a revival meeting at my church; Tom Farrell was the speaker. He was preaching about being a witness for Christ and as he preached about witnessing, it was like he was witnessing to me right then. I realized I could not be a witness until I had received Jesus’ gift of salvation for myself. I went down to the altar, knelt and asked Jesus to forgive me and wash my sins away. I wanted Him to change me and make me new. I was baptized and thought everything was going to be easy after that.
But after a few years, things changed. Even though I was the “model Christian kid” and knew how to put on a mask to make people think I was doing great, I really struggled with a lot in my Christian walk. I mainly struggled with faith and understanding the sovereignty of God. I just couldn’t understand how God could take our dad away from us. He was a godly man, the head deacon of our church, and my pastor’s best friend, why would God let him die? The loss of my dad really did not hit me until I was sixteen and I finally realized what all I missed out on. I became bitter and began to doubt God’s involvement in everyday life. I began to distance myself from my church and even called myself an agnostic Christian. I stating that I believed Jesus was God, but He was not involved anymore.
After some time, and with the help of some friends, I began to work through some of my doubts and problems. By the summer of 2010, God had completely broken me down. I had plans to major in marketing and chase money and then, if I could make time, maybe help with a youth group or something. God showed me I had it backwards, He wanted me to first serve Him and if money came, great; if not, that would be good too.
Even though I finally got my life back on track I still struggled with understanding what happened to my dad. I remembered feeling God’s presence that day when we were all praying, so why did He not heal my dad? Finally, it hit me: He did heal my dad, just not in the way I wanted or expected. God gave my dad a new body completely free from pain and misery. Even though it was not what I wanted, God healed my dad in a way so much greater than what I was expecting. How could I be so selfish to wish that my dad live in this world where he would have to suffer on? I will never be able to fully understand why my dad died, but just knowing he is with his Savior and family waiting on us to join him is always enough to bring a smile to my face. I cannot wait for the day when I get to see my dad again and hug his neck, and then turn to my Lord and thank Him for His love and grace.