"Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him after anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord." -James 5:14 (HSCB)
This story began back in January 2014. I was honored to preach a funeral for a lifelong friend. He grew up with my Dad and was like an uncle to me. He had died at the age of 62 of bone cancer, a very painful sickness. I had spent time with him, praying with him, and hoping for a miracle, but it didn’t come the way we wanted. Carl passed on January 18, 2014, and we were heartbroken. I remember being in my office weeping, angry, and sad as I prepared yet another funeral message. Since I have been in the ministry, I have done way more funerals than weddings. I have attended, helped, or officiated hundreds of funerals. If everyone had to stand up over a casket and deliver a message of hope and comfort several times a year, I believe they would understand my emotions. The bottom line was I was sick of death! I was sick of watching people I love die. It felt like death was all around. I was bleeding emotionally. I once read you should only bleed on Jesus Christ, not on others. So I did just that, I cried out, “Lord, I am so sick of death, could you just save one from death? Just one time, it doesn’t have to even be in my family. I believe you can; I just want to see it happen one time.”
Fast forward to February of this year, and we find Gale Cole, a beloved church member of Grace Baptist, struggling to breathe. After weeks of doctor’s visits and tests, the doctors found a mass in the lung. I was sitting in the room when the oncologist came into the room. He said, “Mrs. Cole, you have single cell lung cancer, you will have a week to live without treatment, what do you want to do?” It was a devastating death sentence. A sad, dark moment for her, our church, and another one for me. Lung cancer claimed the lives of my Mamaw and Aunt. I had never heard of anyone coming back from this, especially this advanced. I never shared it out loud, but I thought, “Here we go another death, another funeral again. It appears that death wins again.” But things are not always what they seem to be. God was working and moving.
The Sunday following the news, Gayle’s Sunday School Class gathered around her with a few others from church. She asked for me to anoint her with oil, and pray over her. We did that, and I didn’t know what would happen. I once heard an FCA leader say, “I’ve told people all my life, “Jesus is all you need,” but you never know Jesus is all you need until you get to the place where He is all you’ve got. When He’s all you’ve got, then you know He’s all you need.” God was all she needed. Gayle took her treatments, hoped, and we all prayed. Four months later, the doctors could not find any cancer in her body! God had healed her; it was a miracle. God provided!