Chicago Sun-Times
...with Jesus, doctors and common sense

I'm fighting to live while others are fighting to die

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God bless you.
Few things teach us the priceless value of life better than sickness and death.
Ever since doctors diagnosed me three months ago with suffering from life-threatening brain cancer, prostate cancer and end-stage congestive heart failure, I have been greatly inspired to appreciate the fact I'm still alive and being healed while so many others are playing life cheap with murder and suicide.
It reminds me of that wise saying that, in substance, says it's a shame that youth is wasted on young people.
Life is good.
Love is good.
Why aren't young people loving more so that they can live longer and better?
Indeed, we older peopl were equally guilty in our youth. Misguided by poverty, ignorance, immaturity, gangs, guns, substance abuse or hopelessness, we also ignorantly wasted many opportunities and made bad decisions that set us back.
If we had known then what we know now ,and exercised that wisdom responsibly, we would have had more money, better health, better security and more to look forward to today.
So when I view my solo suffering against the backdrop of our society's seething savagery, it moves me to echo those ol' top-hit Marvin Gaye lyrics: "What's goin' on?....Makes me wanna holler....throw up my hands."

Here I am fighting for my life while so many others are throwing their lives away or are violently

taking the lives of their fellowmen and women. This has been painfully illustrated on the Sun-Times'

recent riveting four-part series chronicling "59 hours of violence between April 18 and April 20" when 40

people were shot, seven fatally, in the Chicago area.

I love life because I love love and I want to live. My life is also predicated on my faith that Jesus

came that we might have life and that more abundantly. I see my doctors--Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam, Dr.

James Flaherty, Dr. Brian Moran, Dr. Allen Anderson, Dr. Jeffrey Trunsky, Dr. Kenneth Cline, Dr. Glenn

Gerber--as God's instruments toward abundant life. I go to them to do their best. Then I trust God for

the rest.

A primary ingredient of my "healing in progress' is the prayerful encouragement and

empowerment that I am receiving from readers, relatives, friends and fellow Christians. People I have

inspired through my writing and preaching now turn toward me to return the favor. And this kind

of synergy and communal energy represent America at its best. We caring people are the core of our

nation's greatest strength and hope.

While my health is not yet at its very best again, my sensitivity toward the suffering of others is

higher than it's ever been. If I were well, I might take that great health for granted. But my greatest

pains right now come from seeing others suffer greater loss and pain from storms, violence, more

serious disease, corporate greed, political corruption, environmental crimes and epidemic societal

ills.

My sickness and ongoing healing thus have put me in closer touch with suffering people and all

this is making a better preacher, a better husband, father, reporter and human being out of me.

God bless you.

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8 Comments

Good Morning Rev. Banks, We can't give up because He never, ever gives up on us, in spite of us. Stay in prayer. He is still on the throne.

Banks' response: You are so right. God not only gives us staying power, but winning power. That's when we remain steadfast, immovable and always abound in God's work, our labors will not be in vain.

good for you what did they give you 6months?

Banks' response: Not exactly. Few experienced, knowledgeable doctors will give a hard time limit because that's close to playing God. Too many doctors have been proven wrong when God healed in spite of what lab results and previous similar cases suggested. Fortunately, my cancers were found to be either benign or early-stage and have been responding to treatment. But end-stage congestive heart failure normally means the patient, without treatment, generally won't live longer than eight to 12 months. My sister lasted just nine months despite having an ILVAS heart pump implanted in her and being hospitalized at the renown Cleveland Clinic for six months awaiting a heart transplant.

Rev. Banks:
I had to take this time to thank you for being with us in our Mens-Day celebration this past Sunday. My vocabulary is not large enough to express what your presence meant to our congregation. I have heard nothing but rave reveiws about "that annointed preacher Rev. Banks". I am so glad I had the oppotinity to watch GOD heal you. You certainally don't preach like someone who has a medical problem.
I was a little concered about the day as satan tried to get in the way in the days leading up to Sunday. But, as usual my father stepped in and had his way from the begining to the end. In the coming days ahead, be watching your mailbox for a copy of Sundays service as well as a thank-you note from our pastor. If I can ever assist you with anything please don't hesitate to give me a call. Again, Thank-You for all you have done for the people of True Vine of Holiness Church.
P.S. If they want me to head Mens Day in 2009 it will be with only one condition---Rev. Lacy Banks Guest Speaker. Stay Blessed

Banks' response: I want to thank you, Brother Norris, Pastor Henderson Hill and the whole congregation for your continued prayerful support. I am extremely impressed with tremendous spiritual electricity of True Vine Holiness and the strong outstanding group of Christian men that are active in that great church. The men's choir was off the hook and the support of your women is incredible and invaluable. Dr. Hill fruitful labors prove that he is a truly anointed vessel of the Lord.

Lacy,
Are you sure that you have heart problems? When I read your blogs I realize that you have one of the biggest hearts on the planet. I wish every one of us could have a heart like you were given. The world would be a better place. Doctor is not spelled G-O-D. Hang in there my friend. You have many years left, and many lessons to teach us. Each time you write it’s a gift to the world! You are an ispiration!!!

Banks' response: Au contraire, mon frere. But my primary physician is The Great Physician, who says what when we see Him (Jesus), we see His Father (Jehovah, or God). And when we see God, we see Him. Your kind words reach deep, my friend, into both my physical heart, which medical doctors diagnose as being critically weakened biologically and mechanically, and my spiritual heart, which you so eloquently and kindly praise, and which is also propelling me prayerfully to the Master Heart-fixer, who, again, is God.
The struggles of my physical heart are strengthening and sensitizing my spiritual heart, from which flows, for you, for me and for everybody else, the issues of things. Powerful, humbling, caring and sharing people like you help heal wounded hearts. And when you speak so lovingly from your hearts, it reaches my heart. Hearts speak a linguistic foreign to their neighboring tongues. And as you and I commune in this language of love, where God's strength is made perfect in my weakened heart's feeding off the food of faith, a miracle is being forged for the encouragement of legions.
May God bless you, Stan, by keeping, strengthening and encouraging your very heart. Tears are welling up in my eyes right now and the first one just dropped and rolled down the right side of my face to curve around and converge with a running right nostril. God is good all the time and all the time--THANK YOU, JESUS!!!--God is good. Bless you with joy and happiness and His perfect peace that passeth all understanding.

Good Afternoon Rev,

I had thought that I would not respond to this one but then after what happened in Dolton at the insurance office I read your post again and thought how approriate it was. There is enough sickness in the world without the senseless taking of lives. This woman was 'fighting to live' too in that she was working, raising a family, and being a wife. Even though she knew the dangers of her job, she went anyway because she needed this income to 'live'. I am sure that she loved life. Along comes someone who is 'fighting to die' and takes her life while also loosing his own. I like your choice of words when you say 'society's seething savagery'. That sounds better than the term we use all of the time when talking about 'senseless killings' And then as if we weren't killing each other fast enough the Supreme Court does a reverse on the gun ban. This should make the summer interesting. OK....on to the main dish....

I hope you are progressing well. Each time I see that you have posted another blog I thank God that you have the strength to do so. Although you are doing well, I (we) still continue to pray for you and Joyce and the children. And even though we have one more part of your illness to tackle, we are thanking God right now for the good outcome. I am so sorry I missed Sunday's service. Please let me know the date of your next engagement. Stay encouraged Rev. Your faith has made you whole.

Blessings,
Donna

Banks' response: A classic phrase from one of my favorite movies, "The Five Heartbeats," has the leading soloist thundering out this powerful, penetrating question, "Is there a heart.....Is there a heart in the house, tonight?"
Well, Donna, every real human heart hurts when we read again and again about such barbarity and butchery that occasioned Dolton. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and closest friends of that young, innocent sister, who fell into harm's way. And here, you, I and all of us are still numbered in the land of the living, though no merit of our own.
How unfortunate it is that politicians, including those who masquerade as supreme chief justices, make decisions that suggest they are in the pockets of gun lobbyists, refusing to pass laws to help suppress society's continued rampage of lethal gunslingers. I have children and grandchildren and I pray, day after day, for God to keep yours and mine out of harm's way.
Just thinking of that tragedy of that poor young lady tears me apart. Lord, bless that family. We lift them up to you, sweet Jesus, to comfort them in this time of deep grief. Our hope, of course, (here comes some more tears, I'm just a big, ol' crybaby) is that she knew the Savior, whose salvation is the quintessential life insurance policy against the loss of her physical life.
It's life a jungle out here in the world now with mad predators on the prowl, going to and fro like roaring lions seeking whom they may devour. Some woman's son, some man's daughter, some husband's wife, some wife's husband, some sister's brother and some brother's sister. Meantime, the government and courts, that should be harder and harder on crime, tilts more toward the gun maker and the life-taker than the victims of gun violence. Just think of how much better this world would be if there were no guns anywhere.
Sorry you missed the great service we had Sunday at True Vine of Holiness MBC. But all is in divine order. I pray that all is well and getting better with you, Carissa and Auntie Crystal Ryles.

Lacy Banks:

Your story is a magnificent tale in human faith and divine power. I am on the Student Projects at Unity, and I writing a story on you for the Unity conference in Chicago this summer. Could you contact me privately so that I could talk to you for a few minutes? I emailed you earlier this week, so you can respond on that.

Thanks, and have a blessed weekend.

-Zettler Clay

Banks' response: Thank you Zettler for reading my blog and for taking an interest in promoting it in your story. You, or any other reader, may feel free to lift any quotes from any of my blog entries for other stories you'd like to do on me. I'd simply request that you attribute this newspaper and me as the source of such quotes with the understanding that my personal opinions and beliefs are not necessarily those of this newspaper,

Your suffering is my inspiration. It strengthens me. After close to 6 years of paraplegia post surgery, and 4 lengthy back surgeries I have experienced your words to be true. For me it all comes down to my relationship with God Almighty through my repentance of sin through Christ Jesus. We’re the lucky ones Rev. Banks. We are the blessed ones!

Banks' response: Yes, Vicky, we are blessed to still be alive and to have the presence of mind to know that as bad as things are they could be a whole lot worse. I am happy to be your voice and the voice of others beset with whatever physical, spiritual, social, financial and psychological challenges they have. I salute you for finding Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and for casting your cares upon Him, for He sees and cares for us who trust Him to do so. He saith unto us in His holy bible, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." Consider rest in the broader terms as being relief, joy, healing, delivery and hope.

My sister,Leni was also my best friend, who died from cancer 2years ago, and i miss her so much. She wanted to live and fought her cancer for 3 years.I don't understand how people take life for granted. I am a nurse and I will care for patients that try to commit suicide and I tell them about Leni.I really miss her.SHE WANTED TO LIVE.

Banks' response: God bless you Greta for trying to heal others from hopelessness with your testimony about Leni. I regret the loss of your beloved sister. But I salute you for turning a negative into a positive by using her tragedy to inspire others not to give up but to fight for their lives as long as they can. Despite the worlds' evils, that sometimes seem to overwhelm us, which the devil desires to do, there are plenty of beautiful things, especially beautiful people, in this world. They make living worth while.

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Lacy J. Banks

Lacy J. Banks, 67, has been a Sun-Times sportswriter/columnist for 38 years and a Baptist preacher for 58 years. He has preached at more than 100 different churches in the Chicago area. A native of Lyon, Miss., Banks graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in French and he served three years in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Naval officer. Lacy and wife, Joyce, have been married 42 years and have three daughters and five grandchildren. Among beats Banks has covered for the Sun-Times are the Bulls, Fire, defunct Sting, Blackhawks, Wolves, Cubs, defunct Hussle, Rush, Sky, college football and basketball and pro boxing.

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This page contains a single entry by Lacy Banks published on June 24, 2008 10:42 PM.

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