I know the Bible says that there’s a party in heaven when someone repents and gives Jesus the right to take care of their life, but, somehow, there was something EXTRA special about one yesterday. Roy is a man I’ve really come to love in a very short space of time. A man who, 10 months ago was, in his own words, someone who had ‘no time’ for God and this ‘Jesus stuff’, a man with a big personality, a host of friends, an amazing humour (a joke for everything!) but into whose family the enemy worked his way in to harm his wife and daughter. What happened was amazing, as, on the day of some horrendous hospital treatment for cancer, and spinal trouble (caused by the hospital when trying to remove a tumour), Roy’s daughter came to a meeting I was speaking at the other side of Belfast. When she was – virtually – carried in, I looked and thought ‘she looks like she could die in the meeting’…. seriously.
I had the privilege of praying with her after I’d spoken: and her husband and I watched the transformation in her face as God began the first of many miracles in her. Dad, the next morning, was stunned, as really there was only one way his daughter was headed when he’d seen her the night before, and that was death. Some days – might have been weeks – later, I was asked by the daughter to pray for her mum: a Christian, with cancer. As I prayed for her in her home, Roy sat in one corner, watching – having told me how amazed he’d been by the transformation in his daughter…. and he was hacking away with the most dreadful wracking cough, not to do with smoking, but he’d had it years, each attack lasted up to 20 minutes. I took the bull by the horns and said to him that I knew he didn’t go with all the God stuff, but could I pray for his cough? Yes. I sat next to him, put my arm round him (probably not something he’d have generally let a stranger do!). His coughing stopped that day.
Not much later, Roy was diagnosed with cancer – liver and stomach. He asked his daughter if I’d go and pray for him 🙂 – I probably need to tell you he was (then) 82 years old. On a good number of occasions, I’ve seen him, we go out for lunch at his Working Men’s Club, and, truthfully, Roy began to look better and better, with more strength and energy than he’d had in years. Every time I’d pray for him, he’d look better again, and told everyone of his friends about ‘God’s mate Paul’ (I sort of like that!!). The doctor’s reports weren’t getting any better but he was…. Medically, Roy should have died quite a few months ago, so it was wonderful we’ve had time to get to know each other, and Roy’s been here, there, and everywhere…He totally confounded the doctors.
He had a problem 10 days or so ago, and the doctors immediately whipped him into hospital. You know, one of the myriad things I’ve learned in 30 years of praying for the sick, is that the words of doctors, while based on evidence – scan, xray, blood tests etc., – does not necessarily mean it’s right. And in God’s kingdom, nothing is impossible. He left hospital Saturday afternoon, with doctors having sent him home, with these words ringing in his ears: ‘There’s nothing more we can do for you. You’ve got about 4 weeks’. It’s amazing the power that words have. James talked about the power of the tongue, didn’t he? Roy rang me almost straight away after he’d got home. Shaken – and a little stirred. Often, I’ve prayed for people breaking off of them the ‘curse’ of diagnosis, prognosis, and terminal words, and you’d be surprised how many times healing occurs.
- Jesus said, in Matthew 18:18-19: “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.
The same applies to agreeing with the opposition party! I’ve known many people seriously sick because they’ve come into agreement with a medical encylopaedia, or a Google search of diseases: others who have had a doctor’s diagnosis, ‘received’ it and agreed with it, then to be told by a doctor that the diagnosis was wrong (perhaps a few weeks later), but by then, they HAVE the disease, because the enemy rides on the back of fear among the saints, and he is, of course, the author of EVERY disease known….
American writer Mark Twain once said this: ‘Be careful about reading health books: you might die of a misprint!’.
Well, Roy, my (now) 83 year old friend called, and I said I go and see him Sunday. I spent a lovely couple of hours with him, his son and grand-daughter, and his daughter and son-in-law arrived, and had a lovely time praying for him. Actually, the ‘praying’ bit isn’t that long: the ‘positive’ God-centred conversation is key in most healing situations. His face changed, colour came back to his cheeks, his breathing eased. Others commented on the change.
And THEN – after these months of coming to love this dear man, I had the privilege of praying with him, as he asked God for forgiveness, repented, and asked Jesus to come and take over his life…. and he finished by spontaneously saying ‘Thank you, Jesus’, which hadn’t been in my ‘script’ that he followed. I was in tears. I think, then, his daughter and son-in-law were, too… it was SUCH a precious time.
This morning, I’ve heard that, last night, Roy went home to be with Jesus, just 24 hours after meeting him on earth. The sadness of his passing is tempered by the fact that his last months were pain-free (when he should have been in agony), filled with friends, gallivanting around Northern Ireland, and his daughter has told me today that he was so peaceful last night, joking with the doctor, and doubtless had one ready to tell Jesus when he got home….
I’ve been honoured to know Roy. I’ll miss him terribly, I can’t imagine the ‘hole’ that will be left in the family. And I’ve been given the honour of doing the service at his funeral on Monday. Now the REAL party in heaven is taking place, with Roy at the heart of it….