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I Know I'm Dying, Children, But I Ain't Dead Yet......

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God bless you.

I went to see my doctors this past week and and I knew the news wasn't good before

I stepped into the office to be examined by Dr. Allen Anderson, renown cardiologist of the

University of Chicago Medical Center, and by Dr. Jeffrey Trunsky, my earthly primary care

physician at Northwestern Hospital.

"If not for my cancers, would I still need a heart transplant," I asked Dr. Anderson.

"Yes," he said. "Your heart is still pretty sick. But you can strike brain cancer from

your list. That tumor (on my brain's pituritary gland) is benign."

So that's one down, as officially acknowledged by my doctor, and two more to go.

"And how is your prostate cancer coming along?" Dr. Anderson asked.

I told him, as I recently reported in my blog, that the radiation therapy still has

yielded some painful side effects. It still hurts me when I urinate. Medication has

reduced that pain and also greatly reduced my incontinence issues. But the radiation did

destroy much of my nerve bundles in the prostate. That's one cause of the incontinence.

Plus, my PSA had been lowered to 2.1.

So that leaves me with the bad heart, which is what drove me to be hospitalized

last March in the first place, and moved UCMC cardiologists to conclude that I needed a

heart transplant to save my life. But while I was going through the necessary tests to clear

me for a transplant, the brain and prostate cancers were discovered and that disqualified

me from transplant candidacy until I could bring the cancers under control.

In the interim, new medications prescribed by Dr. Anderson, have relieved my

shortness-of-breath, extreme fatigue, weakness and severe coughs. But they were

never intended to permanently equal the effectiveness of, or replace the need for, a new

heart.

What has become apparent to me over the last few weeks is that while my lowered

PSA suggest that the implanted radioactive seeds are dissolving my prostate cancer, my

weakening heart is killing me.

Unless the Lord heals me and reverses that trend I will have trouble living out the

year unless I undergo a major operation to have an artificial pump implanted in me to

improve and control my circulation of blood.

So your prayers are not in vain. Through your prayers and the help of God-gifted

physicians, the brain cancer has been ruled benign and the prostate cancer is undergoing

effective treatment.

"At this rate, it's very unlikely that you would die of prostate cancer," Dr. Anderson

said.

I had already figured as much because he and other doctors had told me that

prostate cancers grow slowly even if not treated.

But my heart?

Well, I'm dying. I can feel it in my legs, my lungs, my heart action, my back and my

mind. Medical tests have already confirmed it, with the ejection rate now reduced to 19

percent because of my defective mitral valve and my greatly dilated or enlarged left

ventricle.

At least I am dying in slow motion and without severe pain. But I feel myself dying

nonetheless. Of course, there are many other people also dying from bad health and

won't feel it or know it until it's too late. I am blessed that I know it before hand. I have

begged for honesty from my doctors and I believe thaty've been honest. That's

why I am fighting the health issues with all my spiritual, physical and mental might.

I still am fighting the good fight of faith. I am praying to God, with your help, trusting

Him for my miracle and waiting on Him to heal my heart. I am taking my nine different

medications daily. I am exercising regularly and I am pacing myself in my return to work

as a Sun-Times reporter and I thank God that I have an understanding and kind boss

in sports editor Stu Courtney and an outstanding employer in the Sun-Times. It has

put me on the honor system and is allowing me to do the work that I feel I am capable of

doing. The paper is not trying to play God or doctor. And I am not trying to play martyr

or hero.

I will share this painful memory with you, however. Three years ago, a superior of

mine, perhaps in a fit of anger, told me I should retire because he felt I had slowed

down physically and he knew I had undergone a triple-bypass in 2001 and still had a

weak heart.

"Why don't you retire and enjoy life," he said. "You ought ti be able to do so."

Obviously, he knew nothing about my financial obligations, my need for the best

health insurance and medical care available and what I could financially afford to do.

When other people dare to speculate and count your money, they always end up with a

whole lot more than you KNOW YOU HAVE.

Those words hurt me more than anything I had ever heard in my 36 years of

working for the paper. It is true that I am no longer young. At 65, I am the oldest writer in

the Sun-Times sports department and also the second longest in tenure. But I am still

healthy enough to do my job. I've never had a heart attack. Dick Cheney has had

several, as well as bypass surgery, and he was the vice president of the United States

for eight years!

Millions of Americans with congestive heart failure still work and live productive and

enjoyable lives.

Yes, I'm 65 years old and now officially drawing social security and I'm proud of my

age. I thank God that I have lived this long.

But even before I had a talk with the Lord and my lawyers, I knew that as long as

I was healthy enough to work and, even more important, was doing my job properly, I

could achieve something no black writer has yet achieved at this paper: and that is a

normal retirement, not a forced one.

Meantime, back to my death.

My body is breaking down because of my weakening heart. My legs are thinner

and weaker. My breathing is frequently labored. My heart rhythms are often flawed

and raced. I seldom enjoy an entire good night's sleep. If I stand or walk too long my

back and legs start hurting and giving out.

My heart medications appear to be reaching their limits. But I can't allow my heart

to weaken too much to the extent that poor circulation causes irreparable damage

to my other vital organs. That would also eliminate me from heart transplant

candidacy. So I am monitoring myself (and being monitored by doctors) closely.

How does dying, or my kind of dying, feel?

Scary and sad and anger-provoking from the emotional sides.

But from the physical side, it's an increase in weakness, in assorted non-specific

pain and general fatigue. I feel all these breakdowns in every joint and in every limb and

it frequently takes its toll on my nervous system. Sometimes, I just feel so downright

weak and sore that it really scares me. Especially when I know I haven't been out doing

something really strenuous like shoveling snow, which my wife Joyce retired me from

this winter, as well as putting up outside Christmas lights and mowing the lawn or any

other yard work.

An artificial pump could add at least 18 months to my life. But that would be point of

no return. I'd have to go from there to a new heart, not back to my original. Plus, I'd

become a battery-operated man outside the house and an AC-current man inside. My

oldest sister, Maude Lee Burrell, was hooked up to an artificial pump for six months in

the Cleveland Clinic awaiting a heart transplant. When they coudn't bring an infection,

caused by the pump, under control, she was disqualified from transplant candidacy,

sent home with her heart pump still keeping her alive and died within four months of

returning home.

Yes, I know I'm dying, children. And I'm ready to die in terms of my soul's

salvation. But I'm not dead yet, I don't want to die any too soon and I'm going to fight

as best I can to stay alive as long as I possibly can.

I'm sorry I took so long updating my blog. But I wanted to get an update from my

doctors before doing so.

God bless you.

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30 Comments

Our hearts are with you, Rev. Banks. Prayers for you and your loved ones this morning.

About 14 months ago I lost my infant daughter to a congenital heart defect. As we fought for her life in the hospital and watched her odds of survival steadily plummet, my wife and I had those difficult conversations one has to make: what do we do when we pass that "point of no return". We resolved to fight as long as our little Evangeline would, but not one minute longer.

Though you're wrestling with less than good news today, I can hear in your words that you have determination to fight on. God bless you, and know that many of us still think of you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: It is a testimony lost yours, Matt, that reminds me of

how blessed I am to still be living. In April of 1974, my wife Joyce gave birth

prematurely to twin sons, who did not survive the cradle. One was still-born, or born

dead. The other lived a day and died. I remember looking at him hooked up to a

spray of tiny tubes after the doctor had told me he would not survive because he

was born too soon. So here I am still alive at 65. I know the hurt you and your

lovely wife endured at that time. And right this very moment, some other infant is

dying at birth while there are thousands of people around the world who are at

least 100 years old. The Lord giveth. The Lord taketh away. Nevertheless,

blessed be the name of the Lord.

but a

My Dear Rev. Lacy Banks

As I read your blog today it is clear that you really do have
a handle on your total being. I may not blog often although I
pray for you, your healing and your family daily. You have
touched my life so under the very short span of being my spiritual
leader and I still depend so much on your knowledge of life
and the word of God.
I was in tears of joy of course to know that you will continue the spiritual, physical and mental fight. As timothy writes fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I am your witness, thank you for sharing the good news with me any allowing me to be a part of your life soaking up some of that good old religion.
We are all dying daily and I don't know if you will beat me to
heavan but I do know that I will surely meet you there.

Much Love Beverly D Rogers

BANKS' RESPONSE: I should have known, Sister Rogers, that you would be

lightning-quick to read and respond to my latest entry. You and your husband

Wiley have always been in God's corner defending and encouraging the man of

God. It's in your blood. You respect the Christian faith, God's church and his holy

offices too much to do any less. During one of the most painful church

experiences in my life, one that shocked my wife and so many others at how

vicious and malicious some church people can be, you, your husband and a

beautiful bunch of others supported me and the office I held. I shall forever love

and thank you for that. It's in such furnaces of affliction where true friendships are

born. I rejoice always in the salvation of saints like you and your husband. You are

invaluable enablers in the Kingdom of God. You come forth in the proudest

tradition of the Old Testament widow, who fed the prophet Elijah with what looked

like her last hoecake before planning to settle for crumbs for her and her

starving son. But God reached down His great big hand of amazing grace from

heaven, touched that woman's empty meal barren and oil cruse and refilled them

again and again to save and extend the life of that mother and son. I count it an

honor to have washed your feet and for you to have washed mine. And you know

I shall continue to fight the good fight. I have not dawn sack cloth and sad face. I

don't roll like that. I will still work, laugh, preach, pray, praise and enjoy life as best I

can as long as I can while still waiting on the Lord to heal me completely according

to His divine will. Thank God for His will, and the fact that you, your family, my

family and other redeemed of the Lord are in His will. Yes, I have a will to be

healed by God and I am seeking His healing will. But first and foremost, I pray, as

Jesus taught us all to pray, "Our father, which art in heaven hallowed be thy name.

They kingdom come and THY WILL BE DONE on earth as it is in heaven." Yes,

Lord. Not mine, but thine. Now (excuse me English teachers) ain't God good?

Huh? Ain't God alright? Sho' nuff He is. He truly is. he is good and great and

greatly to be praised. Will somebody somewhere shout Hallelujah right now

'cause I feel like having church up in here.

Preacher, preacher, preacher, oh yeah, God is good. We thank Him this day for His grace and His mercy. Oh, where on earth would we be were it not for Him, His promises to protect and provide, His love, His Son Jesus? Washed in the blood makes you know how good He is! We fervently pray for healing but more importantly we yield to HIS WILL. We are a part of HIS plan, not our own. Thank you Jesus! We are His children! Let us continue to love one another and pray for each other until He calls us home. What a day of rejoicing that will be! Until then, let's never forget who holds us and keeps us, who loves us in spite of us, who promised never to leave us, and to whom we owe everything. Love to you and family.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Love right back you and your family, Gwen. I totally

agree with your praise of our God, a mighty God who is omnipotent, omniscient,

omnipresent, omnioptic and omniaudio. The joy of the Lord is our strength and it

indeed anchors me in times of turmoil and tempest. When times are worst, God

shows us His best so that the world horrors outside us can not destroy God's joy

within us. Since that joy is embodied in the Holy Ghost, then it's all the more

reason we can rejoice that greatert is He that is within you and me than he that is

within the world. I pray that you pass your days quite comfortably and grow in

grace day by day. I pray also that you receive in increase in your faith in God so

that your power will be unlimited and the joys will be full.

Brother, I implore you to contiue to press foward in faith, remembering above all things that God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of POWER and of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks Rebekah for dropping that sweet word into my

spirit. And believe me, I will continue to press forward in faith, looking ever to Jesus,

the hope of all glory and the author and finisher of our faith.

Dear Rev. Banks,

I read your blog regularly and am an admirer of your courage and acommplishments in life. Best of all, you are a good and thoughtful writer.

You are doing a world of good just by talking about touchy subjects. I write a blog for men with prostate cancer and their loved ones (am the wife of a survivor). It is called: "Living with Prostate Cancer: A Wife's Passion", and I know how desperately sick people want to hear about dying. But everybody withholds this information from them, even doctors.

I come from an Orthodox Jewish home where the cure for everything, is reciting the Psalm book. When I've felt really bad, I've read Psalm 91 and focused on the phrase: "He will charge His angels to guard you in all your ways. They will carry you on their wings, lest you stub your foot". (Sorry, my translation.) I imagine myself kind of floating. I also like Psalm 27, where it says, "Though my father and mother have abandoned me, the Lord will gather me in." Luckily, I memorized these scriptures as a child.

I hope the men reading your blog will be aware that they need to be tested for prostate cancer -- especially African Americans. If you are over 45, talk to your doctor about this.

My husband and I really feel for you and are praying for you. And I will ask the readers of my blog to do so as well.

I will share with you that most men with prostate cancer pray that they die "with it" and not "of it".

May the Lord hear your cries "from the staits" and "answer you with expansiveness". Anything is possible.

Leah F. Cohen

prostatecancerblog.net

(for Malecare.com)

BANKS' RESPONSE: I thank God for your caring and sharing in a manner

most profound and encouraging to me. I am a sanctified sucker for Psalms, which

I call the honeycone of the bible. And the psalms you mentioned are among my

very favorites. Psalms minister unto every situation of life. So does Proverbs,

though it is not as melodic, poetic and passionate as Psalms. But those two books

are a fast-food joint for Christians on the go. Grab a bite on the fly and you can fly

a little higher and faster. From their writings, it is clear that the psalmists had deep

love affairs with the Lord. We all should. We should live the words of that hymn we

occasionally sing in the black Baptist church: Just a closer walk with thee, Grant it

Jesus if You please, Daily walking lose to Thee. Let it be, dear Lord, let it be. I am

weak but Thou art strong. Jesus keep me from all wrong. I'll be satisfied as long

as I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Dear Rev. Banks,
After reading your post this morning, I felt an overwhelming urge to write to you, but I wasn't sure what to say so I went on reading other articles. I had to come back though because I knew I wouldn't sleep if I didn't write to you.

I was moved to tears because I FELT your words. I've lost more relatives and friends to various illnesses than I care to count. I've also spent the last 7 years as primary caretaker for my husband who is severely disabled from heart problems (4 attacks and triple bypass surgery, a major stroke, and now an underlying autoimmune condition that is quickly returning him to the initial post stroke functionality. We have exhausted all known possible earthly medical interventions. It is truly in God's hands to do whatever His will is and as I've repeated to his doctors, I will keep him at home as long as the Lord gives me strength. I needed to tell you all that so that you'd understand why I felt your words and how important they are to me. My husband was a very quiet man before all the illnesses and is even more so now because speaking is physically very difficult for him. The spiral downward is such that sometimes even I have difficulty understanding his speech. In all these years God has enabled me to do what I could for him physically, but I've often wondered how he FELT about being so severely disabled. His mind is as sharp as ever, he just can't easily verbalize his thoughts. I know that you and my husband are two different people, with different illnesses, but it really touched me to read what a MAN FEELS about going through what you're going through. There are many jokes about differences between men and women and that we women talk about our feelings too much, etc., but I really am concerned about how my husband feels and I suspect many other woman share that concern about their men, well or sick. It is my hope that many other women are also touched by your transparency in sharing the TOTALITY of your experience. And perhaps, some men may become more willing to share their feelings with their "rib". Rev. Banks, you are now in my prayers and also your family, especially your wife. God has used making me a family caregiver as a conduit for meeting and interacting with other family caregivers, especially wives and some husbands. I suspect she already knows this, but please let your wife know that she is not alone and the "sisterhood" is praying with and for her as well. One lesson I've learned (of many) is that God thinks very highly of us, to give us such challenging tasks. We may not always think so, but He knows that we will complete them in an excellent fashion, for HIS glory. With God, failure is not an option. God bless you!

BANKS' RESPONSE: God will often strip us, Marie. Strip us down to our bare,

raw basics to where there is no way out but Him. Where there is healing unless it

comes from Him. No hope unless it comes from Him. No strength except that which

He and only He can give. And then there's you, Marie. You personify the supreme

out-stretched hands and heart of God to embrace your loved one as caregiver,

one of the most unsung heroes of mankind. I have looked down my road and

considered the same setbacks that plagued my dear departed sister and your

surviving beloved husband and concluded I'm no better than she or he. And if my

condition deteriorates to those low states on my way to death, I got to be able to

deal with it. But I am also blessed, like your husband, to have a loving, devoted

wife, Joyce, who promises me that she will be there to care for me every step of

the way as best she can. She stays on me now to make sure that I take my meds

and see my doctors when I ail in any way. She surfs the internet to come up with

informative links to arm me with knowledge that helps me be a more productive

participant in my care and recovery. But thank God for the lush, lovely likes of you.

You have to be fashioned in the most fantastic of faith's fabrics.You have to be

tough but tender, durable but dear, passionate in your compassion, relentless in

your rescue, concrete but always caressing.

Morning Rev and God Bless You,

Thanks again for your honesty with us. It is moments like these that make me want to fall on my knees and turn my face to the wall and petition the Lord through moanings. I lift you up daily....call you out by name. Right now I have no words but I still have the drive to pray. I can only hope that when my time comes to face the inevitable, that I will be of the same mindset as you. Yet again, you have set a honorable example for us. Rev, I appreciate what you are doing here on these pages. This past year has been life changing for me and others as well. In spite of how bleak this may look, I will continue to pray and hold on to my faith. As you said...I'm not dead yet. And that in itself is a testimony to what God can do. Love and Blessings to you, Joyce and the girls.

BANKS' RESPONSE: By all means, my dear Donna, pray without ceasing.

Pray because we serve a God who hears and answers prayers. Pray because He

tells us in His bible that men ought always to pray and not faint. Pray because the

effectual, fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much. Pray because Jesus is

on the main line and we can tell Him what we want. And when you pray, Donna,

please, please continue to pray for me. And you are so spot-on in your

reference. I am closing in on that Hezekiah moment. Even before a doctors gives

me a more definite death notice, to turn to the walls, the ceiling, the floor, the

door and the window and pray. For God is always just a prayer away. And we can't

anywhere without facing Him because He is an omnipresent God. Bless his holy

name. I feel like having some church up in here right now because our God is a

right-now God. Since he's blessing us right here and right now, we don't have to

change our seat or move our feet to thank and praise Him for blessing us. Bless

the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name. For the Lord--

Hallelujah--has done great things for us, whereas we ought to be glad about it.

Are you glad about it, Donna? Are the rest of you sisters and brothers glad about

it? Huh? Huh? I don't know where I'd be without the Lord. He's just been so good to

me. He saved my soul, for goodness sake. And bless Jesus for dying for us.

Hallelujah. He suffered, bled and died, Donna, so that you and I DO--not just

might--but we DO have a right to the tree of life. And here I am seeking a leaf off

that tree that bears leaves good for the healing of the nations and the individuals.

Dear Rev. Banks,

The Blessing is in the quality not quantity of your life. Jesus was on earth for only 33 yrs and left an imprint for Man to follow until eternity. I know that you are determined to continue to beat your health challenges, God has already showed you that he can and he will answer prayer. It is my prayer that God's Will continue to be done in your life! I want to you to stay here with us but only if your quality of life you have set before us and yourself is still with us as well.
I don't know if you remember me but I shared with you the story of my premature daughter last month. She was only given an 10 percent survival rate. After watching all that she went through my prayers went from let her live to I want her to live but only if she will be able to enjoy her life. You know sometimes we can be selfish and want our ill loved ones to stay with us just because we don't want to say goodbye. But the thing we have to realize is even though they are still with us are they enjoying life or are they suffering? Rev. Banks, I don't want you to suffer any worse than you already have. But guess what! I know my God will heal and ease all suffering!! You wanna know how I know? My daughter will be 5yrs old next month and is enjoying life like any other 5 yr old!

Keep Praying, keep believing, and keep remaining steadfast! I am with you because as long as you are willing to fight I will fight right with you just like I did with my daughter. You are still here for a reason and I love how the God's reward healing is being manifested in you. It may be slow but it is surely!

I've only read your blogs for a short time but the quality of what you've shared has impacted my life for a lifetime. Grace & Peace to u!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Sheri, Sheri, Sheri. What a powerful testimony. Thanks

for using my blog as a platform. My fellow sisters and brothers battling health

challenges are also encouraged by what God did you your daughter and you. He'll

do the same for us. My ol' pastor Rev. Clay Evans used as his theme song, "It is

no secret what God can do. What He's done for others, He'll do for you. With arms

wide open, He'll pardon you. It is no secret what God and God alone can do."

Surely God is able. There is no failure in God.

Rev.Banks,I just want to thank you for letting the Lord use you as his yielded vessel.You have allowed him to use you beyond measures I can't even imagine.I know God is good through reading your blog and other brothers and sisters responses .The power of Prayer when we stand in agreement and know God is always there is a Blessing. I wanted to share this prayer below when we think it's just the end But only God knows.Thank you for letting me in to share your pains,your griefs and your tears.I will never forget you.

Dear Heavenly Father, With heavy hearts we come to You. You are Almighty Creator God; holy and full of grace and love. Our hearts are heavy because of a life that is leaving us. Death engulfs us Lord. Fear is waiting to take us down. Thank You Father, that because of Jesus, You know our pain and sorrow intimately. Thank You that Jesus knows the way through this dark shadow. Take the hand of our dear sister/brother and make Yourself known. Guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Keep that which is Your own and take it into eternity to be with You. In Jesus, death is but a shadow. Jesus has swallowed up its sorrows and pain. Thank You Jesus for the cross. Thank You Jesus for the resurrection. Lord, we are before You, confessing that You are Lord of all; the gate keeper to eternal life. Your grace and love abound even as our sin seems ever increasing. Take our hands Lord and lead us through. We lay our fears at your feet. Your promise is that You -- and You alone -- will come to take us home. As it says in Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (ESV)
Thank you for the comfort we find in Your presence. Through the Holy Spirit we know Your presence is with us. Send us Your peace Lord; the peace that passes all understanding. Don’t let us waiver and doubt. Give us a faith that is everlasting. We release our lives into Your hands. As we wait and watch, we know Lord that none of us will escape this journey through death. Teach us how to embrace it with faith. Give us strength to hold up those who are stepping closer to seeing You face to face. Take away the fear in the heart of our loved one who will soon see You; let them find peace in Your grace, comfort in Your love, and strength in Your mighty power over death. Comfort us as our grief seems to over power us.
You are a good, just, righteous, and loving Father. Don’t let us grow bitter in this shadow of death. But pierce our hearts with a joy that we can not fathom or understand. A joy that is above all that is corrupted here on earth. Jesus you wept over death and so too, we weep. But it is a grief and a mourning that holds joy on the other side. You are conqueror of all; and so we trust You. We trust that You will do what is right, what is loving. Whether in death or in life Your will is accomplished and You are sovereign. May we know Your presence, Lord. Keep us ever aware of Your loving hand guiding us through all things. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Sheila, you sure know how to say your prayers, my

dear sister in the Lord and sweet daughter of Jerusalem. You sure know how to

knock on Heaven's door to get them open and ring penitent music on the ears of

the Lord to get Him to listen and answer right away without delay. I felt the power

of the Holy Ghost in your prayer. I felt the special anointing that is the prime

ingredient of healing. Your prayer gives us all a peep hole into the unsearchable

soul of a sanctified lamb and I thank the Lord for your salvation and sanctification.

Surely, His ministry and evangelism are made manifest in such a prayer and the

one who prays it. One of the best thing about this blog is how it has unearthed

some of the most providentially profound prayers ever to ascend to heaven. We

don't have to sing that spiritual dirge of old, "And I couldn't hear nobody pray.....way

down yonder by myself and I couldn't hear nobody pray." Thank God for placing

me in the mighty midst of praying saints in my suffering times. There's no place I

would ever rather be than in the company of praying saints who can get a prayer

through and who remain prayer-ready at the drop of a hat. Surely, you have to be

a certified, not just honorable, member of the Paul-and-Silas subcommitte of

the Daniel-In-The-Lions'-Den and Three-Hebrew-Children-In-The-Fiery-Furnace

prayer club. Glad to know you, my divine dear. Let's pray together any time.

Rev. Lacy,
I have read your blogs,in fact have copied everyone last and I use them for strength,in that knowing God. I trust God for your healing. And I thank God that you have been chosen to show the world that Jesus lives. I can not and will not take your health challenges lightly, but once again God is using you to reach the people. I have often wanted to say thank you for all that you have done for me , in walking right and teaching the word. Your sharing your knowledge of the bible has been a true education for me. Thank you for teaching some young lads to witness; Thank you for preaching and signing in all different languages. Thank you for praying for others, when in fact they call to check up on you. Yes, we all are dying, but I count it joy to die in the Lord. Just for the record God is not through with you yet! Despite your heart and body getting weak; it is just strong enough for you to continue to touch the hearts of man.

I will continue to keep you in my prayers, as well as your family.

Mae Sharkey

BANKS' RESPONSE: Mae, one of the richest pleasures of my life has been

seeing you grow in grace from a hungry, ambitious, sincere, tender, hard-working

poor girl from the urban projects into a beautiful, charming, loving, intelligent,

rich, productive and hard-working lady of fervent Christian faith and supreme

professional refinement. It has been an honor for me to have participated in

the nourishing of such a heavenly flower. I recall with glee your smiling thirst for

knowledge in Sunday school and BTU and how your salvation and early knowledge

of God were sources of your greatest excitement. And there in the background

loomed your dear, precious mother, a tower of power in the army of the Lord. Her

holy smile could slay dragons and lay waste satanic armies. Under her blessed

wings you grew to become a giant in God's kingdom in your own right. She, you and

I are testament to the infinite glory of the Living God. You knew so well where I

was coming from in my latest blog so that you could take it with a measure of sober

sadness because, yes, you are right, we are all dying, though in varying speeds

and circumstances. And there are ongoing cases of younger and healthier people

still dying before older, sicker people. I hope to see you again at Cosmopolitan on

Good Friday. Hopefully, it will not be our last. Remain prayerful that the household

of Christian faith slacketh not in these tedious times. We must continue to fight the

good fight and hold fast to that which is true, looking ever to Jesus, the hope of all

glory and the author and finisher of our faith. Fight manfully onward, dark passions

subdue, look ever to Jesus, He will carry US through.

Dear Lacy -

Your entry is particularly compelling, and you are courageous in sharing this most difficult of passages. It made me think of my own father, who died a long, agonizing death from stomach cancer at age 35. My stepfather, conversely, lived until 76, when he collapsed and died suddenly as he visited his 101-year-old mother. Who, truly, can count their days?

If I've read right, since you were 29 years old, you've been able to exercise your talent for writing with a major newspaper in one of the greatest cities in the world. You have, by your account, earned a good living, provided for and loved your family, had health insurance, and endeared yourself to your employer so much that they would work so closely with your during this trying time. And, along the way, I've bet you've had some real fun. You are so fortunate to have spent the bulk of your career with one employer. When does that happen anymore?

In addition, within your lifetime, we have changed from a country in which men of your color were compelled to wear signs proclaiming: "I AM a man!" to a country in which an oath was administered to an African-American that proclaimed: "I am THE man!" I'm eleven years younger than you - and white - and I'm still moved to tears when I see how far we have come.

When you were a child, television was in its infancy. Now, you can hold one in the palm of your hand. I no longer have to mail a letter to you, I just log on and this flies through the wires. Man has walked on the moon. One landed an airplane in a river. Your 700-pound record collection can be replaced by an 8-ounce I-Pod. We have a world of information at our finger tips.

And we have medical technology that is truly awesome in its capabilities. When my father was diagnosed in 1959, saying you had cancer was like saying "You have a slight case of death." Not quite 50 years later, your brain tumor is benign and your prostate cancer is retreating. And there are some options to aid your ailing heart. What miracles we have seen so far!

I believe differently than you. I think of Heaven as a state of being. I think of it as the realization that, despite all our trials and tribulations, miracles are unfolding around us all the time. God just sees life differently than we do. What we view as death in human terms, God sees as progression. Our own realization that things are progressing just fine is what puts us in Heaven. It is as Mother Teresa said: "We all long for Heaven where God is, but we have it in our power to be in Heaven with Him at this very moment." That's my belief, anyway.

I have to keep that in mind, because I've had almost constant frustration of my hopes for my life. Because of early mistakes, listening to bad advice, and a lack of a solid education, things haven't gone smoothly. Setback always seems to follow progress. I currently find myself out of work and trying to get back into my chosen field. 25 years of that feels, too, like a slow death. But, yesterday, as I walked down the street, I felt the sun on my face and a refreshing sweet breeze blowing. I was seized for a moment by an overwhelming joy for no reason. And I knew all was well. God was whispering to me. And I realized, I am not lost. If it's all done today, and it's possible that it can be, I can take my peace in knowing that I've loved the best I knew how, that I've made my mistakes honestly, and that I never stopped trying to be what I was supposed to be. Maybe there's been so much pain because I didn't recognize all the good that was happening at the same time.

We may not see the way the road is going, but we can never be lost, for God is in us. As long as that's true, anything is possible.

The great American humorist and philosopher, Will Rogers said: "What constitutes a life well spent? Love and admiration from your fellow men is all anyone can ask."

Just judging from the messages sent you, I'd say you're doing just fine.

For all the days of your life, may peace and love prevail.

BANKS' RESPONSE: John Powers. The profound perception and eloquence

of the comments you emailed to me suggest that your name certainly fits you. John

was a name most revered in the holy bible because of two men who wore it. There

was a man called John the Baptist. He was the voice crying in the wilderness

and the forerunner of Christ Jesus, his second cousin. Then there was John the

disciple whom Jesus loved and who later became a martyred apostle. Then there

is the surname Powers. When I read your comments, they reflected great powers

to me. These include the powers of patience and perception, of passion and

compassion, of physical strength and spiritual wisdom, of faith and fervor, of

positive purpose and definite direction. You covered so much space and time with

an economy of words well parsed. Surely, our eyes have behold much in our

lifetimes. You speak like one much older than the younger man you really are. I

thank you for reading my blog and for placed things is proper perspective for us all

to better understand our challenges and blessings. I pray that either you find the

job you like or that it finds you. A mind like yours is a terrible thing to sit idle. But

that is the fate of our nation now. Evil, weak, greedy and ignorant men is high

places are laying our nation low and setting in motion incredible discredits to

mankind like the very thought, not to mention the reality, of you being unemployed.

I was deeply encouraged and enriched by what you wrote and am happy to share

it with my fellow suffering travelers on our journeys to healing. God bless you, John.

May the good Lord bless you and yours real, real good. You've already found

heaven as a state of being. But I pray that I one day will unite with you in that

place called heaven, the headquarters of the Lord and the final resting place for

His redeemed.

Pastor Banks:

I greet you in the Precious Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with Blessings of Joy & Happiness! Here at Cathedral of Joy Church you and your family are continually in our prayers. Your testimony brings me to tears....how can I complain about anything. NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR GOD. Your testimony clearly demonstrates that GOD IS IN CONTROL. My heart holds nothing but compassion for you and it receives the PASSION that you have for GOD. We take so many things at face value but you are demonstrating what happens when the face value is taken away and we are stripped to what lies beneath. THE REAL GOLD, THE REAL SOLID FOUNDATION, THE REAL DEAL, THE REAL LOVE -- NOBODY BUT A RISEN SAVIOR CAN DO THIS FOR US! You have truly been set apart ... the world can see the STAND that YOU have taken and ABOVE ALL THEY CAN SEE "JESUS IN YOU!" YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ... YOU ARE STILL HERE .... CONTINUE TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT AND KNOW THAT GOD IS ABLE. You have so much support and love surrounding you. So many hands are lifted in prayer for you, so many hearts reach out to you, so many eyes look at you, so many minds ponder about you, so many ears listen to you ... YES, GOD HAS SET YOU APART ... A living TESTIMONY of HIS ENABLING POWER! REMEMBER, WE LOVE YOU AND PRAY GOD'S BLESSING UPON YOU!

Cathedral of Joy Church
Dr. Samuel E. Hinkle III - Senior Pastor
Lady Dorothy Hinkle - First Lady
3200 Flossmoor Rd., Flossmoor, IL 60422

BANKS' RESPONSE: I thank God for you and the entire Cathedral of Joy

family. I am presently on the road covering the resurging Blackhawks. But I will get

to you real soon upon my return. I join you in your defense of the Cathedral of Joy

and its vital ministries for the old and the young. Communications between me and

colleagues I am trying to recruit to help us fight for what's right has been slow. But

our God is timeless and everything He does with us and for us is in divine order.

They may not happen at the pace and in the manner we want. For His thoughts are

not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. But at the end of the day, we shall

come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves. God will revers the table and give us the

victory. I've always admired the fight in the Cathedral of Joy, working hard to make

sure that His kingdom come and that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give my warmest regards to Pastor Hinkle and tell him he should hear from me

soon when I have something positive to report.

Mr. Banks,

Having read countless columns by you over the years, I resect not only your talent and intellect, but your strength and spirit. May God bless you with a miracle and allow you to recover.

Godbless...

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you so much, Scott, for reading my blog and

emailing comfort and encouragement. Thank you also for your continued prayers

for my increased faith and for a miracle healing from the Lord.

Dear Pastor Banks,

My sister Rose Combest of Cathedral of Joy forwarded your latest update to your blog to me today. She is a member of Cathedral of Joy Church and constantly request prayer for you by our family who are not members of her church, but well aware that we all are members of the body of Christ. Our family knows of you as a sports reporter, but we know we truly know you by the sharing of DVD recordings of your sermons at Cathedral of Joy and Rose's discussions of your unsinkable joy and powerful faith in Jesus! Thank you Lord for Pastor Lacy Banks! Thank you Lord for an intercessor such as Rose Combest! Oh Gracious Father, Lacy Banks is truly a chosen one. I pray that you (he) relinquish any doubt and dispair regarding this fact and this fact alone. Lacy has blessed so many because of the light of Jesus that has directed his path. This light will not dimmer and will (as in your will Lord, almighty) shine for the believers and those who still seek! God is not through with you yet! Hold on my brother, the best is yet to come, for you ARE AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE A LIVING TESTIMONY! In the precious, matchless name of Jesus, I pray from the gut of my heart and soul. GOD'S WILL BE DONE!

BANKS' RESPONSE: So much of this world wearies us after a while, which

makes it more imperative that we fight the good fight of faith. We fight for things

not yet seen, heard, tasted or felt. We fight for days not yet dawned. We fight the

good fight of faith not just because we want to live but because it is our Christian

duty to trust and believe and obey. We walk by faith and not by sight. I thank Sister

Combest for inviting you into our prayer net. It is full of people who are in dire

straits committed through the death, if need be, to hold to God's unchanging hand.

I met Sister Combest at a most needful time when her daughter and my daughter

were best friends and classmates. Her daughter had been assaulted by a demonic

who was a neighbor. I had warned him and his foster parents that he was a bad

boy headed for great evil. They refused to listen and heed. I defended Sister

Combest's daughter and tried to stir the community behind her to little avail. I went

to the district superintendent of schools to try to get them to deal with this boy. They

refused. I saw, by faith, great tragedy coming to the household. The father

allegedly was a preacher and his mother an alleged committed Christian, who said

she had lost respect for me because I chose to defend her son's victim rather than

that #%@&*! Nothing was done until one day he--I firmly believe--murdered his

best friend by shooting him in the face in his family's garage right next to my home.

He said he found the gun and was playing with the gun and the gun accidentally

went off. I don't believe him. They eventually moved and the boy allegedly found

God and was converted. I pray that the newspaper picture of him raising his hands

in praise in a church reflected the truth. If any man be in Christ, he indeed is a new

creature. But before then, that boy was evil. And when he attacked Sister

Combest's daughter, he attacked mine. That was the only means by which I came

to know Sister Combest then. Our friendship was forged in that furnace of

affliction. I found in her a women who fervent loved her God, her daughter and her

family. At times, it seems that she and I alone were fighting a private war. But it was

in fact a kingdom war. A fight against evil anywhere is a fight against evil

everywhere. And it is the evil of our day, which today is dominated by economic

crimes by the greedy against the needy, that wearies me greatly. But I feed off the

faith and prayer of pure hearts like Sister Combest and you. In times like these,

we are drawn to circle our wagons and fend for each other. God bless you.

vexed

Although I read your blog on Sunday, I was so moved to tears that I decided to wait to respond. I've been a faithful reader of your blog and one of the most wonderful blessings that I've received from you (there have been several!) is being encouraged to thank and praise God through my good days and my not-so-good days - to always stay faithful, in and out of season. You have put many pearls in my world and I will continue to pray, thank and praise God for you and your wholeness. You are a loving, precious child of God. Stay blessed.

BANKS' RESPONSE: God bless you for giving me some pearls for my perils

and some stars to exchange for scares. If I have inspired and strengthened you

faith, I praise God and count my suffering worth my while. It is so generous of you

to stop from your busy schedule and to feel for me and my situation and to offer

prayers and support. You increase my appreciation for God's kingdom and you

increase my hope for mankind. But for people like you, God would flood the

world with His catastrophic rage for it overwhelming increase of unrepented sins.

I ask you to pray for me as I pray for you. I repent to God that WE have not always

refused to walk in the council of the ungodly, or refused to stand in the way of

sinners or refused to sit in the seat of the scornful. We have sinned in spite of our

faith and in spite of our salvation, The spirit indeed is willing. But the flesh is weak.

So I pray that God increase our faith and increase the indwelling and anointing of

of His Holy Spirit within us so that we may be healed and cleansed and refined

and outfitted for good works so that God will be glorified, His church edified, our

Saviour Jesus gratified and our souls fortified and satisfied. For in the very

presence of our enemies, He prepare a table before us and He anoints our heads

with oil until our cups run over. God bless you for your kindness.

Hi Rev. Banks,

I want you to know that your courage, strength and trust in God is very inspirational to so many people, especially me. We are all still praying for God to turn the heart situation around and believing that He will do it.

I hear you may be retiring, and if so, I will really miss opening the Sun-Times and seeing a familar face in the sports section. I remember the first time your oldest grand daughter Lauren saw your picture by an article you had written when you covered the Bulls. There was a picture of Michael Jordan and other famous athletes on the same page, but she immediately yelled "grandpa!" and pointed to your picture. That is golden. Thats what it's all about.

You are a blessing.

Be blessed,

Larry

BANKS' RESPONSE: God bless you, son. A son-in-law like you is every

father's prayer and dream. You and my daughter Nicole have been married now

for 15 years. And neither one of you appear inclined to want to trade the other in

on a new model. The love you have found together and the four children you two

have brought into the world are priceless. On this Valentine's Day, I went over to

see all my grandchildren--Lauren, David, Timothy, Caleb and Nena--at Noelle's

apartment and brought them all some Reese's peanut butter snacks and bubble

gum. It's s nice to be a grandfather. My wife, their grandmother, had already sent

them cards and $5 apiece for Valentine's Day. God bless you for raising your kids

the old-fashioned way and for being loving and faithful to your wife and kids. God

will bless you mightily for that. Thank you most of all for loving God with all your

heart and soul and your neighbor as yourself. Thank you for raising your kids in

church. And lastly, thanks for reading my blog and for emailing encouragement.

Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus!!!
So glad!! So glad to have you back with us.

Rev. Banks:

Please have the Sun-times check out the blog comments page--this is my third attempt to try to leave a message for you. I hope this one makes it through. At any rate, I'll keep trying.

Praise God. You're a fighter! I was truly concerned; but, feel so much better to know you have strength to get back on your blog.

We love you! Forever prayerful,


Sis. Barb Sanders

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you Barbara for your compassion and concern.

But thank you most of all for your continued prayers and faith. This is all Kingdom

stuff in which e are involved. For the Kingdom is not all milk and honey. I is also

joy in times of famine when cows are too famished to give milk and when bees

have long vanished from their hives. It is Kingdom stuff to stand through the

storms of life and to endure hardship and persecution for His name's sake. Yes,

such is the Kingdom of God. But thank God that there is a balm of Gilead in His

Kingdom. There is a tree in that Kingdom that bears leaves good for the healing

of the nations and of divers individuals like you and I. Thank God that the blood of

Jesus, shed for the remission of sin, atones for every repenting sinner and every

believing saint. So I know it was the blood for me. And I know it was the blood for

you, too, Barbara. One day when we were lost, He died upon the cross. I know it

was the blood for us.

Hi Lacy, I don't know you and you don't know me, but I want to tell you that your story has touched my heart personally; and there's something that I must tell YOU that I wish I had been better able to convey to my father before he died of CHF shortly after his 59th birthday almost 4 years ago...DON'T GIVE IN. You talk a good talk, and you sound like you have a lot of faith -- that 's good. But let me tell you a little story... My dad, before he died put on a fairly good show. He exhibited faith, he prayed, he spoke of Jesus, we meditated together, and we did all the things God-believing folks do... he listened to his doctors, he took his meds, took alternative care, took supplements...the whole spiel. BUT, while he prayed on the outside and had faith on the OUTSIDE, inside, he was giving into the disease. Part of him really wanted to live...live to see his kids grow old, live to see his grandkids, great grandkids, etc. BUT, part of him was tired...sick and tired of the disease. Tired of doctors, hospitals, ups, downs, pain, heart surgery after surgery... Part of him still, despite his faith, wanted to die. Don't let that part of you that wants to die take over your life. Let the light shine on that dark side of your self that may be giving into the disease; and let it shine like it's never shone before...Don't give in. Don't give in. Whenever you think you can't go on another moment, say to yourself, "Yes, I can." Believe it. Live it. Don't reject it. Healing...even miraculous healing...only comes when you totally -- 100 percent -- are at one with your mind, body, and spirit. Never give in to the dark side...and still now, you CAN beat your health problems. I'll be praying for you, Lacy. :)

Peace --

CarolAnn

BANKS' RESPONSE: The tale of your dear beloved father is a tale told again

and again down through the ages. It is a primal epic and a human being's

survival instincts raging up and waging war against the physical and spiritual,

social, political, emotional and mental woes that would otherwise befall him sooner

rather than later. Eventually, baring the rapture, we all will die one day or another

some way or other. Every person that Jesus ever healed and raised from the dead

eventually died the physical death no matter how courageously he fought. Hezekiah

got God to write out a cashier's check for 15 bonus years of life. But you notice that

neither Hezekiah, Lazarus, the son of the widow in Nain nor Jairus' daughter are

no longer around. We pray and fight for breaks, for an extra piece of bread, for

an extra breath, an extra day because we fall in love with life and want to enjoy it

forever. But that's where heaven comes in. Thank God for heaven. Thank God

that when this life is over, we can have a better place to live forever in a body that

is resistant to age, agony, evil, anguish, avarice and ouches. I, too, like my father,

mother, sister, brother and twin infant sons will fight to life, beg to live, pray to

live. I will fight on the inside, the outside, the upside, the downside, the outsidein

and the insideout, on all sides and straight up the middle to live as long as I can

as well as I can until I reach my appointed final moment. And let it be said of me

as I say for you dear beloved father and for you too, we never fight in vain for that

which is good. For a fight for good anywhere any time, is a fight fought everywhere

forever. It's always good to fight for what's right. I, too, once blamed my loved ones

for not fighting hard enough to stay with me longer. My wife and kids and friends

so often talk to me as if they feel I'm still sick because I'm not taking good care of

myself. Everybody has an appointed number of miracles in his lifetime. Most of

the miracles that have happened to cause us to still be alive, we didn't know about

them. It's all wrapped up in God's grace or unmerited favor. And just as Hezekiah

was able to petition for a bailout from death and got a 15-year extra loan, we can

do the same for however many years God sees fit to grace us.

God Bless You!!!

NKJV

2 Kings 20:1-5

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son af Amoz, went to him and said to him, " Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live. Then he turned his face toward the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, "Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the midedle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, " Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: " I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you.


BANKS' RESPONSE: Yvette, that passage of scripture should be a must-read

for any person who is sick and has received a dire diagnosis. It certainly is one of

my favorites, if not my favorite. It is a powerful testimony of the healing power and

generosity of the Lord God Almighty. Each time I read it, it draws tears from the

depths of my heart because it is my story. It was my father's story. It is a most

beautiful story told again and again down through the years. And every time we

hear of a healing or even just see one portrayed on TV in a movie, it moves real

people with real feelings in a mighty, mighty way. I believe that any real human

being with real feelings should feel great sympathy for Hezekiah and then great

joy when God healed him to live 15 more years. We don't know how many more

years were lived by each of the people that Jesus raised from the dead. But the

fact they eventually died does not discount the importance and value of the miracle

Jesus performed. None of us is ever healed to live eternally on earth. But a

healing is still a healing and God is still healing and breaking heavy yokes and

setting captives free. He's in your neighborhood right now and if you or anybody

else needs some healing, I'd suggest you get in touch with the man. Once again,

His name is Jesus.

Rev. Banks,
Just finished reading this blog. Is there anything too hard for God?
No!!! I do not have profound words or great words from great writers to share with you. Sometimes in my excitement or distress time all I can say is" Lord I love you and Trust you with all of my heart". I say this often when I have laid my reuqest before the Lord. One of my request on your behalf accompanied with many others reuqest is for God to do the spectacular, supernatural healing that no man can take credit for in your body, mind and soul. I am expecting and anticipating this from our God. The God who sent his son Jesus to saved us from our sins, who was bruised for our inquities and with his stripes we are healed. The God who left the comforter here to lead us and guide us into all truth and revelation. No! You are not dead but yet alive to still declare the the works of the Lord.


BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you so much, Rev. Weathersby, for your kind

words of encouragement, and congratulations on your recent, but overdue,

ordination. I thank God for the honor I had to license you. Your words, on my behalf,

and also on the behalf of others undergoing similar suffering, are well chosen

because they are Christ-driven. His word is our owner's manual for all that ails us.

It helps us to trouble-shoot our own malfunctions and apply some repair ourselves.

And the other Comforter, the Holy Ghost, whom he left to replace Him, the original

Comforter, is so often overlooked and underscored. He is the unsung Hero of the

Holy Trinity and yet He doesn't get anywhere near a third of the praise, credit and

thanksgiving. So to that end, right now, I urge every saint reading these words to

pause and exclaim: Praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus! Hallelujah, Holy Ghost!

Yes, the Holy Ghost, alias "another Comforter," as Jesus described Him, is

likewise worthy of praise, credit and thanksgiving because He actually works in

tandem with the other two thirds of the Holy Trinity. In fact, the Holy Ghost is the

internal spiritual presence of God and Jesus in our souls and it is through Him that

God and Jesus operate us. The Holy Ghost is the spiritual presence of God and

Jesus on earth. Picture, if you will, this salvation connection we have with the

Trinity. There is God the Father on His throne in Heaven seeding and deeding us,

Jesus on His right arm side forever bleeding and pleading for us, and the Holy

Ghost in our souls feeding and leading us. The Holy Ghost is also the agency

through whom we worship God. For God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must

worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Why else, then, did Jesus, when He went into

the synagogue in Nazareth on the sabbath to launch His ministry, say, "The Spirit of

God is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor: he

hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,

and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised?"

Pastor Lacy Banks, the Shepherd the Leader! I read your response to my sister’s comment. It has been 16 years almost to the date since that incident occurred. March 1993 was a mother’s (my) worst nightmare. At the time, I didn’t think I was going to make it. I literally took ill. I thought my husband “the quiet man” was going to end up in jail. Contrary to appearing calm at the same time he made promises that he would take matters into his hands.

I remember you calling my home and discussing the bus incident with my husband and I. At the time I was very angry with my self because I received the horrible news of the incident while at work. My husband wouldn’t talk, but just wanted to hurt someone. Then came you, the Shepherd, Gods angel and a voice to intercede for us as we tried cope with anger, hurt and devastation.

I’d always known you and your wife to be different and special, but came to really know what it was that made you that way. Your house was the first home I allowed my daughter to sleep over. We couldn’t believe that you were trying to get the community and the School district to cooperate with us! You went beyond the call seeking answers from the school. The School district refused to help us, The Mayor didn’t want to get involved and the parents in the community would not allow their children to testify as witnesses. We were devastated and hurt by our neighbors’ non-involvement and unconcern. .

I have all the documents and newspaper clippings from that day. As I type my face is wet from tears remembering how you were the only one who stood up for a family who did not know where to start for help. I recall us going to your home where you graciously accepted our appreciation, however, there was no doubt that the situation greatly disturbed you as well. You were able to see the gravity of the matter in that we were a troubled family and there would probably be little or no recourse through the School district.

The Good News! My Soul Is A Witness For The Lord. He can do anything that no other power can do. You and I have beautiful daughters all grown up. My daughter went away to Howard University with no fears, serving in the Army National Guards, served in Iraqi Freedom and currently working at the Washington Post. I wonder where that idea came from.) She will also be returning to Iraq on a second tour soon. Our daughters are friends and they still communicate.

Look At God! I am one of Cathedral of Joy’s church nurses; I have the honor and privilege to serve you water when you deliver a sermon at the Cathedral of Joy Church. (Mark 9:41). Pastor Banks, I thank God for you, Joyce and your family, we love you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Here I am, 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, reading

your comment, tears streaming down my face as I type through the blur of tearful

rain splashed across the windshields of my eyes and my eyelid wipers are on

"fast." Lord, early in the morning, when I rise, I want to rise holy and wholly

acceptable unto thee. Reading your comment, Sister Combest, restored the

powerful memories of that tragedy our families shared together when nobody would

listen--not the principal, not the district superintendent Dr. Cuttie Bacon in whose

office I sat and begged for his intervention and not even the police after I called our

village chief personally. But the Lord cupped His ear toward our prayers, heard

and answered. He calmed our troubled hearts and minds. He removed the

danger from our midst. He healed your daughter of the scars of that violence and

she was able to regain focus, bearing, faith and soldier on to become a lady of

grace and distinction as has my own daughter. And if those "other" insensitive

people repented to God with sincerity and truth, then He forgave them as we must.

And every time I hear or read of some child being violently assaulted or murdered

by some evil gangbanger or whoever, my heart first cries out for the victim and his

or her family first and foremost. Then I also pray that the assailant repents to God,

truly repents and asks God for mercy. For if we confess our sins to Jesus, He is

faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from iniquity. I find that

in my current weak health, I am more sensitive than ever to the hurt and harm done

others. But thank God for Jesus. Thank God that He is good, that His mercy is

everlasting and that His truth endures to all generations. We can't depend upon

man, our police, our government, our medical system to meet our needs. We go to

them for comfort. Sometimes we get relief. Sometimes we don't. But thank God for

Jesus. For there's not a friend like the lowly Jesus. No not one. No not one. None

else can heal all our soul's diseases. No not one. No not one. Jesus knows all

about our struggles. He will guide 'til the day is done. There's not a friend like the

lowly Jesus. No not one. No not one. And to you out there right now who are

reading these words with a heavy heart and a hung-down head. Be not dismayed

what 'ere betied. If you pray and ask Him in the name of Jesus, God will take care

of you. Yes, He will. Yes, He will. Yes, He will. I thank God for my pains. I thank Him

for every ouch and every sleepless night. I thank Him. And I shout "Glory!" I said

I shout "Glory!"

Glory! Glory! Glory hallelujah, glory! Glory be to His name, precious name.

Dear Rev. Banks

I'm a resident of Indianapolis, IN and have never read your blog entry until today, I don't know your situation at all, but I would be in error, if I didn't take the time out to say GOD BLESS YOU for being transparent. You are truly leading while bleeding, meaning you are truly going through but yet you remain as a leader, it's people like you that we need to be an example in our everyday life, it's people like you who stand on the word of GOD and know that GOD is a healer, it's people like you who give people like myself who also was diagnosed with a pituritary tumor encouragement. I want you to know that my family and I will be praying for you. You have made a mark in life and your living is not in vain. I thank you so much for your honesty and for carrying the torch for those who will labor in the ministry behind you. GOD BLESS YOU!!!

BANKS' RESPONSE: And how are things is my ol' hometown of Indianapolis,

Minister Sanders? Although I was born in Lyon, Miss., it was in Indianapolis where

I started school at Public School No. 37 on the East Side, was baptised and called

to preach and was cured of a terrible, terrible stuttering problem. My father was

a Baptist preacher pastoring the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church there at 25th and

Oxford and we moved back to Mississippi when he lost the church. But after I

graduated from the University of Kansas and was commissioned into the Navy as

an officer, I returned to Indianapolis to serve an assignment as information

officer at the Department of Defense Information School (DINFOS) at Ft.

Benjamin Harrison, Ind., in the north suburbs of Indy. Thanks for reading my blog

and for emailing your encouraging comments. I appreciate your prayers, especially.

Prayers of the righteous availeth much. I am alive, surviving and thriving today

largely because of availing prayers. I felt the power of God in your compassion for

me and your hopes and prayers for my complete recovery. I never volunteered for

this assignment of profiling my prayerful fight against cancer and a failing heart

to encourage others. I don't believe I am that brave and selfless. I'd prefer to be in

great health like most people. But such is my lot and to God be the glory for the

things He has done for me and for the fight I wage to live and to believe in Him and

wait on Him for my healing. In due season, I know that the victory shall be mine. In

the interim, I have not chosen to just hold my peace and let the Lord fight my

battles. No, no, no. I am hollering for a healing just as blind Bartimaeus did in spite

of people asking him to hush because he was getting on their nerves. But I, like

Brother Bartimaeus, am now in a screaming mode: "Jesus! Thou son of David!

Have mercy on me!" Don't ever tell me that complaining and begging don't help.

it depends upon whom you complain and beg to. Need salvation? Call Jesus.

Need some joy? Call Jesus. Need some peace? Call Jesus. Need a friend? Call

Jesus. Are you hungry? Call Jesus. Thirsty? Call Jesus. Whatever we need, God's

got it and we can get it if we know how to act and, more importantly, how to ask. So

ask what you will of the Savior. And it shall not be in vain. Call when you need His

assistance. he will hear when you call His name. For in the name of Jesus, fiery

furnaces loose their burn power, hungry lions instantly become vegetarians and

Red seas open up for us walk across on dry ground. In the name of Jesus, demons

tremble and the devil is vanquished, yokes are broken even deep into the midnight

hour. In the name of Jesus, the lame walk, the dumb talk, the blind see and the

dead live again. In the name of Jesus, we have the victory. Thanks be to God who

giveth us the vitory through Jesus Christ our Lord. For greater is He that is within

me than he that is within the world.

Indianapolis where

Hello Rev. Banks

All I can say is I'm so grateful for the example you've set for so many years. Being a man of God, a writer, a husband, no scandals and just loving God. As a preacher I admired your ability to preach, teach and sing (my goodness, your readers would be blown away to hear you sing with that booming voice).

I'm believing God to be healed from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and while I'm having problems walking distances (I'm 47), you're definitely an inspiration. Remember that old song, "where can I go, but to the Lord"? I'm still believing that that same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal body.

It would be great if you wrote a book about your experiences in the NBA and ministry.

I love you man of God.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Tommie, be encouraged. The Lord has not brought you

this far to leave you. He's better and bigger than that. And you deserve the best

because you are his redeemed child. So trust in the Lord with all thine heart and

lean not unto your own understanding or the understanding or anybody else,

including the world's best doctors. But in all thy ways--they going-to-bed ways,

thy getting-up-in-the-morning ways, they putting-on-thy-clothes ways, thy

supper-table ways, thy going-to-work ways or even thy looking-for-a-job ways--in

all thy ways, acknowledge Him (God almighty), acknowledge that He is a burden

bearer, acknowledge that He is a doctor, acknowledge that He is a lawyer,

acknowledge that he is a bridge over troubled waters and a light in times of

darkness--acknowledge Him, simply Him, simply the fact thet HE IS, for He said

"I am that I am", acnowledge Him and He shall direct thy path. And when you seem

to lose your path, look to Jesus, the hop of all glory and the author and finisher of

our faith, and He will be and will make a way out of no way. Naw, Tommie. I know

what you're going through because that's one of the sicknesses I have. But the

Lord--thank you, Jesus!--the Lord........the Lord, Tommie..................the Lord..............

......the Lord...........thank you Jesus!..........He's able!.............He's

able!.......................He's able!...................the Lord is able.....................the

Lord!!!!!........................the Lord!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.......Thank you

Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!He's able to carry us through. And when He does, you and I

will pledge to be another living testimony.

Rev. Banks,

I am so grateful for this opportunity (my first blog anywhere) to share in your many testimonies of faith and determination and God's grace, mercy, sovereignty and promises of the eternal. May you be comforted in knowing that another prayer partner has been added to your list of 'friends'. I shout "Hallelujah" for your commitment to keep on telling the Gospel truth. Be blessed my brother. You are an overcomer.

BANKS' RESPONSE: I know a Mary Sheppard. I believe we had a fleeting

crush on each other in my boyhood when our preaching fathers were the best of

buddies and she had preaching brothers as I eventually would also have. Yes, I

remember a Mary Sheppard who was an outstanding student academically in high

school and college, where she majored in pre-law. This Mary Sheppard hailed

from Wichita, Kan., eventually moved to Kansas City, Kan., and has been a

member of Strangers Rest Baptist Church, KCK, for years. My brother, the Rev.

Jimmie Lee Banks, has been her pastor also for years. But this Mary Sheppard

has been my prayer partner for years. She is not a Johnnie-come-lately among my

prayer partners. Hmmmmm. I wonder if you just might be that same Mary

Sheppard. I don't mean no harm, as we say in the 'hood. Jes wondering. That's all.

Jes sitting here with my chin cupped in my right palm with my right elbow resting on

my right knee.........wondering. Well, no matter. If you is or if you ain't that "usta be

my girl" the O'Jay sang about, I'm mighty glad to hear from you regardless. Thanks

for reading my blog and for emailing your encouraging comment. Now, won't you

join me and let's keep holding on to God's unchanging hand.

Dear Lacy -

Excuse me for taking so long to send this. Thank you for your kind words about me and my writing. I have worked as a writer intermittently throughout the years, for radio, television, stage, and print. But, I've never really concentrated energy in that one direction. With my recent unemployment, it was if God said, "You don't have the money to do anything else. There are no jobs out there. You'd better sit down and write."

When I wrote to you, I was in the midst of a writer's block so bad I could scarcely address an envelope. Your heartfelt entry moved me to respond, and the words poured forth. That evening, I went to see an old friend in "The Seafarer" at the Steppenwolf. Randall Newsome's performance inspired me to write him a three-page letter about acting and art and faith. Your kind words to me, and his reaction to my letter to him, have fueled my confidence and creativity and I've been writing ever since.

We bless another, often without ever knowing it. I wanted you to know it. You blessed me and I thank you.

You occur to me often and, whenever you do, I remember that anything is possible, and I send up my silent thought that you are recovered to join with all the others.

Thanks for your blessing. I hope you get mine.

BANKS' RESPONSE: I believe, with no details from diligent research to

support me, that in the toughest of times, great writers flame forth. I think of the

likes of Dickens, Hugo, Baldwin, Ellison, Pasternek (?), Churchill and so many

many more. But the writers who serve humans needs best and who articulate the

anguish of the day are writers of sharp perception and of supreme passion and

compassion like yourself. You are gifted with the magic of sweet prose and the

indepth knowledge of what makes man tick and how human situations come to be.

You have a working knowledge of society that enables you to quickly and properly

see things in perspective so that you will know them for what they are rather than

what they seem or even want to be. America is on the threshold of far greater

suffering than what is presently happening. We are entering an age of awesome

anger as people who trusted the system, worked hard, played by the rules and

kept their noses clean can't understand why they now are out of a job, have lost

their homes, have no health or life insurance, are seeing their savings disappear

with no hope of better times in the near future. In such a time, mankind needs

voices crying in the wilderness booming forth in the proudest tradition of John the

Baptist shaking the ceiling of heaven and the basement of hell, calling men in

powerful and priviledged positions to now be held accountable for forging a

system that favors the greedy over the needy. We need writers who can be bossed

or bought. We need writers willing to write even with blood the awful, ugly truths.

We need writers who love life, love people and love the premium principles that

form the foundation of an ideal society.

God bless you reverend. As I have read your comment, I have realized the true importance of our faith and lives. I will live each and every day in harmony and peace with one another, and as though it is my last.

Right now, I am only thirteen years old, and am expeiriencing times of difficulty with not only myself, but with others around me. Your story has truly touched me, and I will remember to stay strong.

There will be a place for you in my heart, as I pray for you Reverend.

God Bless, Sam

BANKS' RESPONSE: Be strong in the Lord, Sam. Do your best and trust God

for the rest and you will be blessed to pass your test and find happiness. For one

so young, you are already exhibiting wisdom beyond your years that will lengthen

your years on earth. And when I say "lengthen" life, I don't mean to limit it to just

greater longevity in years. I mean I pray that it is lengthened in terms of joy, peace,

good health, material and social prosperity and love. I come to you not in my name

because on my own merits, I am a wretch undone. But I come to you, write to you,

pray for you and counsel you in the name of Jesus Christ, my savior and God's

only begotten son.

Lacy
Thanks for your blog, your bravery, and baring your soul. I've just returned from Sunday mass and worrying about financial matters when the Lord led me to your page. Saying a prayer for you right now.
God Bless You!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Mike. And as you pray for the betterment of my

physical health, I pray for the betterment of your financial health. Americans are

suffering financial problems of pestilential proportion and we need all the help we

can get.

I appreciate you.
I appreciate that you never let honesty interfere with hope.
I appreciate that you never let acceptance become confused with defeat.

Thank you- you'll never know how much.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks so much, Colleen. And rest assured that my

hope for complete healing remains honest. And you're right, my acceptance of

what I'm dealing with in no way means I have given up hope for victory. My

acceptance of victory, to which I firmly lay hold, remains unequivocal. I thank God

in advance for my victory.

Good Morning as it is God's Morning and he is good.
Your story brings joy to my heart. I pray that our dear savior continues to help and heal you as he sees fit.
I am 38 and a dad of 7 children and feel a small union with you.
I had a CHF in 2003 and stopped working after they found out I had kidney failure that same year. After always worrying about if today was the day of my death, I realized just as you, I was not dead yet. I used to be a workaholic and now am a changed man. I love life and my family and others. I want to help others as you appear too. I left my field of the automotive collison shop and went back to college to get my degree in teaching, as it always has been a passion. I hope and pray to be able to teach young minds to find Christ, maybe not directly as required by law , but possibly by the way I plan to teach and with the example of my life.
The Lord has healed me to the point I am up and moving around, and I thank him for the healing work he has done for you. May our Savior Bless you and your family.
A flower in bloom is a beautiful site. Many a man desire to be that flower in his garden.But the master knows the differnce between a flower and a weed. I would love to be that flower in his garden,but know that I would be satifised with just being in the garden. In fact I could see myself as that piece of grass that provides color to the landscape in the garden.Wisdon teaches us that green is life,that grass is straight, studious and strong. All the things I desire to be.The masters grass is well maintained and trimmed to perfection. I desire to be that humble piece of grass in my masters garden.
Maybe,just maybe, when the lamb is playimng in the garden he will roll my way and I can say I was touched by the lamb.
Leroy Wilburn

BANKS' RESPONSE: Speaking of "the garden," Larry, the song says "I come

to the Garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear

falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses. And He walks with me and He talks

with me and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there,

noneother has ever known." And there is another garden, Larry. It is the

beautiful garden of prayer, where my Savior awaits and He opens the gates to

the beautiful garden of prayer. You paint such a poignant picture of paradise with

Jesus, where you would be content just to be a blade of grass in His lush

landscape. Your description suggests a strong intimacy with the lamb and the

gardener. Your health experience has humbled you and broken you for the Lord to

take you back into His hands as a potter does a lump of moist clay, and He places

you on his spindle of amazing grace and proceeds to remold you, your skills, your

focus and your life. And now you cometh forth as a beseecher and a teacher of

truth, wisdom and knowledge. Now, you have been upgraded into a more precious

instrument in the Kingdom of God. But the holy humility doth restrain you from

trying to be any more than what you are: a vessel satisfied with being a mere blade

of grass in God's Gardens. God bless you for looking my way with pity and prayer.

Thank you for the testimony of how the Lord has healed and delivered and remade

you. Just another proof, you are that it is no secret what God can do. What He did

for Leroy, me and others, He will do for anybody who call Him and ask in the

name of Jesus whatever they need ask Him. Finally, another song bids us, "Ask

what ye will of the Savior, and it shall not be in vain. Call when you need His

assistance, He will hear when you call His name."

VERY INTERESTING STORY. I WILL SAY A PRAYER FOR YOU. GOD BLESS

BANKS' RESPONSE: And God bless you, too, Eugene. Thank you for

promising to pray for me. But if you are not too busy and if you have room for a

spare prayer, I'd like to pray for you right this very moment.

"Most holy and everlasting Lord God Jehovah, Creator of Heaven earth, the

giver of every good and perfect gift, the Father of Abraham Isaac and Jacob; the

Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, thank you for making Eugene

Szydelko. Thank you for his loving parents who raised him in such a way that he

could take compassion on suffering strangers and take time to make a pit stop and

lend a helping hand, a humble head and a compassionate heart. Thank you, Lord,

that Eugene is a praying man and that you are the one true God who hears and

answers prayers. Thank you, Lord, that in this day of Verizon--can you hear me

now?--SBC, AT&T, Sprint and so many other cell telephone carriers, the prayer

telephone in our busom is still number-one and second to none in getting a call

through to you. Thank you, Lord, that Jesus is on the main line 24-7 and all we

have to do is call Him up and tell Him what we want. I ask you to first have some

more mercy and grace upon Eugene Szydelko. Forgive him of his sins, fill him with

more of your Holy Spirit and increase his faith in You lest he faints. Heal where

healing is needed. Save where salvation is needed. Feed where feeding is needed.

Deliver where delivering is needed. I beseech you, Lord, in the name of Jesus to

grant him the desires of his heart so long as they are in harmony with Your Will,

Your Word and Your Way. Bless his family in the best ways possible for their good

and for the good of Thy Kingdom. In Jesus' name I pray this prayer and ask

these blessings. Amen."

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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 February 8, 2009 6:41 AM.

Did You Also Cry Just A Teeny Weeny On Tuesday? Be Honest. was the previous entry in this blog.

Mama Died Much Younger, So Why Should I Complain? is the next entry in this blog.

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