This has been a remarkable week! God has used his people and the medical establishment to humble me… and bless me.
FIRST, on Friday (12/15) The Rev. Dick Burns, one of our Western PA UM evangelists and one of my personal heroes and mentors in the ministry, stopped into my office to see me and because he wanted to lay hands on me and pray for me. I was so humbled and in awe… He shared words of encouragement, a loving embrace of brother for brother, and, as only Dick can do, he shared laughter with me. What a blessing this man of God is!!!
SECOND, on Sunday (12/17), the Reynoldsville church family here at First UMC surprised and humbled me… and left me speechless all at the same time! (And making a preacher speechless is a pretty amazing feat!)
They presented a handmade prayer shawl to me as a constant reminder of the fact that THEY were praying for ME as I went through the medical uncertainties of my life right now… In fact, the prayer shawl itself had been prayed over before it was presented, that it would be a healing blessing every time I prayed with it. Turns out that this is one of the many ministries here at this church that go on in the background pretty silently… and yet faithfully.
Then, after the service was over, about 50 some people stayed after and waited until I was done shaking hands and stuff and came and got me and asked me to meet them at the altar rail. Led by the retired pastor we have in residence here in Reynoldsville, The Rev. Leo C. Cramer, this group gathered around and laid hands on me and prayed… for God to expose anything hidden as I was about to go for further testing and then planning for expected surgery and possible removal of my kidney if things were as bad as they seemed to be. And then they prayed that God would just bring about healing and surprise everyone.
Finally, it turns out that as I was in Pittsburgh all day today (12/19) for the testing and the consults, they were having a prayer vigil throughout the day here at home. They had divided up the day into half-hour increments and there was at least one person praying for every minute of this day. WOW!!!
THIRD, today, we actually went for the tests and the surgical consult. When all was said and done (and we’re talking leaving home at 7:00 am and returning at 9:30 pm) the tests exposed that there wasn’t one mass, but rather two. One mass is about 2 centimeters and the other one is about 4-5 centimeters. But, both were diagnosed as cysts… benign cysts is all they are! So the hidden has been exposed and all that had looked to require surgery and removal has either been healed or they made a big mistake to start with!
With this diagnosis, they don’t have to do anything! They’ll have me redo the tests in six months and then, if the tests are clear, we’ll repeat it again in another six months… but that’s it!
I probably need a lot of time to completely process all of this… but WOW! What a week!