Salvation – Part 3 of 3

Shortly before he died on March 1, 1987, John told me that if he could have chosen not to have had cancer — at the cost of missing out on all the things he had learned about God during his illness — he wouldn’t have, he would have chosen terminal cancer.

This is John’s testimony, published in the bulletin at his memorial service.

“The first of March 1980, I went into the hospital for routine tests. After two weeks, my doctor came in and sat on the side of my bed: I knew something was wrong by what he was not saying. Finally he told me I had cancer, and had about three to five years to live.

John F. Stith Jr. in January, 1987, shortly before he died.
John F. Stith Jr. in January, 1987, a few weeks before he died.  When he gave thanks to God for his illness, he said, all the fear went away and never returned.

“In the hours that followed, my whole world seemed to crumble around me — who would take care of my family and my other responsibilities. I was just plain scared. I was afraid of the treatment, the pain that would follow, and I was afraid to die.”

“A few nights later, I lay awake reviewing the situation. I am one of those people who has had an opportunity to hear more of God’s Word than most, one of those who has grown fat on the Word; but now that it was time to apply the Word, I was faltering.”

“As I lay there, I searched through my memory for scripture that I could lean on. Finally, I thought of I Thessalonians 5:18: ‘In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.‘ I couldn’t exactly lean on it, but it did bring me to pray that night one of the most difficult prayers I have ever undertaken. I thanked the Lord for the situation I was in and told Him I wanted to learn all the things He had in mind for me to learn as a result of this thing that had happened.”

“Then a miracle occurred — all of the concern and fear went away instantly, just like that, and it has never returned.”

Coming Monday: The Question I Didn’t Ask