God bless you.
I started this healing journey privately, praying to God with my wife Joyce in our home as the revelations of brain cancer, end-stage congestive heart failure and prostate cancer were made in that order by doctors at Northwestern Hospital and the University of Chicago Hospital in April.
Next, I was inspired by my faith in God to audaciously make this journey a public one by inviting the world to watch God work. Before starting this blog, I accepted an invitation to preach the 82nd church anniversary revival of the Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, 4600 South Martin Luther King Drive, on the nights on May 5, 6 and 8. Thursday night is my last night.
Of all the people that I knew would be behind me prayerfully to the victorious end, true fellow Christians would be my most loyal supporters. So I used this preaching engagement to show that I was not going to let sickness stop me from preaching God's word as I have been doing for 55 years since God called me to preach at the age of nine. When I accepted the call, I vowed to God that I would preach His gospel until I die. So as long as I have the strength to preach, I will do so as the Spirit and my health dictate, not only to fulfill my original vow but to show the world that I am a HEALING IN PROGRESS.
When I told my wife of 39 years, Joyce, that I was going to accept the preaching invitation graciously
extended by Pastor Joseph Jackson, she cried and begged me not to do so. It was her love for me
speaking and I consoled her with hugs and kisses and assured her that God is in control. She didn't want
me to accept the engagement because she knew I'd preach hard and possibly hurt myself. At the same
time, the devil also didn't want me to accept the engagement because he knew that I would hurt him no
matter how hard I preached.
Don't get me wrong. I love my wife, our three daughters and our five grandchildren dearly. They're
the biggest earthly reasons I want to keep living so that I can enjoy being with them. But I made it clear to
my wife before I married her that I love God more than her or anybody or anything in the universe, and
that I wanted her to do the very same thing. She assures me she does even though I know it's difficult.
Sure enough, the first two nights of the revival were highly uplifting spiritually. God gave me the
power to preach about 25-30 minutes and the Holy Ghost set our hearts on fire. The two services
sandwiched around Tuesday morning's debut of this Sun-Times blog, which resulted in encouraging
comments primarily from fellow Christians who have heard me preach or who have enjoyed my
Sun-Times reporting and didn't know I am a preacher.
I take 10 different medications (15 to 17 pills total) a day, get plenty of rest and I walk at least a mile
on my treadmill, presently averaging 2.5 miles an hour. When I feel winded or tired, I stop and rest. While
I can work up a sweat preaching because the preaching of mainstream black Baptist preachers is highly
aerobic, the preaching is actually good to me and, I believe, good for me. It's part of my healing. Good
preaching not only strengthens and helps heal the parishioners who hear God's word, but the preachers
who preach it. We get the first fruits of God's anointing. Very often, I shout privately while taking heavenly
dictations to write my manuscripts.
I know that my healing will come from God either directly or through medication or surgeries. But
until He does heal me and however He chooses to do it, I'm going to do my best and trust Him for the
rest. And doing my best means making use of God-gifted doctors and my common sense.
Despite the fact, I've given my phone number to few people, I've gotten dozens of phone calls and
emails on my AOL account from fellow Christians and non-Christians from across America and from
abroad, assuring me that they are praying for me. Outside my wife and children, the families of Deacon
Jimmy Coleman, Sister Veola Boyles and Rev. Bill Thompson help head my army of prayer partners. My
sisters and brothers at Chicago's Fellowship Baptist Church, where Rev. Charles Jenkins is my pastor and
Rev. Clay Evans is founder, Homewood's Cathedral of Joy (Pastor Sam Hinkle), Chicago's Liberty Baptist
Church (Pastor Darrell Jackson), Trinity United (Rev. Jeremiah Wright), Mt. Pisgah (Pastor Joseph Jackson),
Cosmopolitan Community Church (Henry Hardy) and some 100 other congregations, to which I have
preached, stand staunchly behind me in prayer.
So far, I feel pretty good. I'm not in any real pain or discomfort and my doctors tell me they are
amazed at how well I am responding so far to treatment, which will include at least two vital surgeries in
the coming months unless God heals me all at once and cancels them.
But I'm patient. I got time and faith and God's got eternity and grace, plus all power. We Baptists love
to sing an old favorite gospel song that declares, "You can't hurry God. Oh no, you just have to wait. You
have to trust Him and give Him time, no matter how long it takes. He's a God you can't hurry. But He'll be
there. Don't worry. Job said, 'He may not come when you want Him but He's right on time.'"
In my next blog, I'm going to introduce you to my medical dream team of a dozen doctors at three
different Chicago hospitals, their names and their original diagnoses confirming brain cancer, end-stage
congestive heart failure and prostate cancer. And as I go down the healing checklist, I will do so with
names and progress reports.
Oh what a mighty God I serve!
God bless you.