When my son, Merik, was about six-months old, God spoke to me out of the blue and told me things would come easier to him than to my older son, Connor. I thought, “great,” but was unsure why God needed to tell me that. About a year and a half later, in the third week of June 2007, God gave me a song that I thought was for the children’s choir which I was directing at the time. The song was entitled, I Will Not Be Shaken by Tony Guerrero. It turns out, the lyrics to the song, and the words God spoke to me about Merik would mean more to me than I’d ever thought.
The following week my life turned upside down. My husband was changing Merik’s diaper, who was 22-months old at the time, and noticed large bumps protruding from his stomach. He told me he found something kind of disturbing and asked me to come and look. I called the pediatrician, hoping it was just a muscle problem, and they asked to see him as soon as possible. That afternoon I left work, picked him up from daycare, and went to the pediatrician. After looking him over, she determined that she believed he had a tumor and sent us straight to the hospital. I immediately called family and friends and asked them to pray.
Once admitted to a local hospital, they ran several tests and determined that he had a hepatoblastoma, a very rare, malignant liver tumor. Surgery was scheduled for the following Monday to remove the tumor. But, after several people recommended we check out the children’s hospital, we decided to get a second opinion.
A friend of my husband’s began to make calls to people on hospital boards and over hospitals, etc. They “pulled some strings” and got us in to see the chief of surgery at Children’s Hospital. We were told to call his office and he would fit us in . . . he’d be expecting our call. Not only were we able to get in, but the doctor then completely cleared his schedule for the next day to do the surgery on our son. This seemed impossible initially, but we know that God is on our side.
That night, my sister prayed over my son’s belly and told that “mountain” (the grapefruit-sized tumor) to be cast into the sea, just as scripture tells us to do in Mark 11:22-24 (NKJV):
“So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast not the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
We praised and thanked God when we heard that the surgeon was indeed able to remove the entire tumor from my son’s abdomen, along with half of his liver (which is the only organ to regenerate itself). The mountain had been cast out!
Unfortunately, a damper was put on our excitement when we heard that a chest scan that was done prior to surgery that morning showed that there were two additional spots on the lungs, and when the tumor was removed, some of the fluid spilled into his abdomen. We knew he was going to have to go through chemo to make sure that any trace of cancer was gone, but now there was going to be more to fight. They also soon after determined that he was at a stage 4 cancer, and chemo would begin as soon as possible, three weeks later.
At the beginning of all of this, my mind was full of chaos. There were decisions to make, my boys to take care of, and real life to try to tackle, and I didn’t know where to begin. I couldn’t pray more than the word, “help.” I didn’t know what I needed, or what to look for within scripture for comfort. But then the cards started coming with scriptures I could stand on, and my friend Angel began to email me daily with scriptures that totally applied to the situation—trust, strength, praise, healing and more. It was EXACTLY what I needed. I needed to be reminded of how powerful God is and I needed scripture around to look at constantly.
My sister, again, gave me a scripture in those beginning days that I have clung to more than any other. Psalm 91:14-16 (NIV)
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
— I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
— I will be with them in trouble.
— I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
— and give them my salvation.”
I hadn’t remembered reading that scripture before, but it is full of wonderful promises from the Lord . . . one’s I have learned to live by and believe with my whole heart. He said it, so I believe it!
During that first month, I was overwhelmed by the love and support of family and friends, especially those from church. Meals were made, a freezer was purchased and filled with food, my house was cleaned, my yard was taken care of, babysitters were provided, my family chipped in to pay my salary for the next six months so I could take off work, and cards and emails were sent with wishes of love, and the best part of all —scripture. The scripture is what helped get me through the many months to follow.
After his wounds from surgery healed and he was ready to begin chemo, we met with the doctors and they let us know what schedule we would be facing for the next 6 months. He would start each round of chemo at the beginning of each month on a Monday. He would be in the hospital for 48 hours, and then go for an outpatient appointment for two consecutive Wednesdays thereafter, have a week off to recover a bit and then start all over again. After hearing this, my stomach was in knots. I knew I shouldn’t have let it be, but I did.
When we got home from that appointment, we had received a card from one of my mom’s good friends who said that emotions can deceive us and that we need to hold on to God’s truths — God is still in control. It was a great reminder, and one I desperately needed. I needed to remember the words to the song God gave me before this whole thing started,
“Even when the strongest winds of life may roar, I will stand my ground; I will not be moved; I will not be shaken.”
In other words, I will believe what God’s word says REGARDLESS of what is going on around me. The word says, “By His stripes we ARE healed,” so we are — even when I’m looking at a sick child. Jesus has already healed him. We may have to go through the storm, but the storm is going to end. So that’s what we did. We walked through the storm believing God for Merik’s healing the entire time, even when he looked terrible.
During our stays in the hospital, I always prayed for a private room, but on two occasions, God had other plans. We ended up sharing rooms with two Muslim families. The first family’s son was crying and whining and had a high fever while my son was jumping on the bed. I asked to pray with him and learned his name was Mohammed. I prayed that in Jesus’ name the fever would go down and the Lord would make him feel better. Within a half an hour he was up watching TV and having a snack. Shortly thereafter, we were moved into a brand new, upscale room, and I knew we were in that first room on assignment from the Lord.
The next family was wonderful. The mother and I got along famously and stayed up talking after midnight. It was like a sleepover, but more serious topics were discussed. I wasn’t able to pray with her, but told her about what the bible says about healing and the hope that I have in Him. God knows what he’s doing.
Others friends told me they started going to church more because of the situation and that they felt they needed to get back in touch with their “spiritual side”. I never wanted my son to be ill, but am grateful that through an extremely difficult situation, we were able to minister to others, and many made the decision to seek God more.
On Merik’s last day of chemo, the concierge in the hospital brought us coffee as she did every week while we were down there, and this day she pointed out the total on our receipt. She said that she’s a numbers person and wanted to show us that our total was $7.77. She suggested that we go play the slots. I told her, “No. Seven is God’s number for completion. He just wants to let us know that we are done!”
After Merik finished chemo, the doctors had tests lined up to make sure the chemo worked — blood tests, MRIs and CAT scans to check his status. His alphafetoprotein level was 560,000 to start and it is now 3.7, right in the normal range, and all of his MRIs and CAT scans are completely clear. My boy is healed. He is done, and it’s totally God.
I know now why God spoke to me to let me know that Merik wouldn’t struggle like my older son had. He wanted me to know that I wouldn’t lose my son. With long life, He would satisfy him, just like the bible says. God spoke to me, He gave me a song, and He gave me many scriptures, including Psalm 125:1-2;
Those who trust in, lean on, and confidently hope in the Lord are like Mt. Zion which cannot be moved but abides and stands fast forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people from this time forth and forever.
I will not be moved. I will not be shaken, I will stand like a mountain and trust that God’s Word is true. Through this whole ordeal, we have learned not just to believe in God, but to believe in his word wholly and completely, without doubt. We have learned to stand on His Word and not be shaken by the circumstance. We have learned to live an abundant, joyful life no matter what the situation. We will trust in the Lord our God and thank Him for all He’s done. He has proven himself time and time again, and we’ve seen many things to know that what has happened is “totally God,” but we know more than that. He IS totally God.
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