(As read by Heather at David’s Celebration of Life Service)
May of 2016 began the toughest journey that our family has ever been on. When David was diagnosed with cancer, it seemed a bit surreal and although the gravity of the diagnosis was great, we always seemed to think that we would beat it. Our faith in God was the greatest strength that we had and our best prognosis. We relied on His word and the promises found in scripture that we could lay hands on the sick and see them recover and that David would live and not die and declare the works of the Lord. We searched our souls for anything that might stand in the way of the healing. We tried conventional methods of treating cancer as well as non-conventional.
David fought a good fight. When you saw him, there was usually always a smile on his face. He would stand up here (his home church) and worship on this keyboard for three services on a Sunday and on Wednesday nights he was sometimes hooked up to a chemo pump while playing. We didn’t let on and rarely did anyone know that when he came off that platform he looked like an Oompa Loompa and his blood pressure was through the roof and I would have to take him home. We did our best to always speak life when asked how we were doing or how was David’s health.
As time progressed and David didn’t seem to be getting better, but worse, I would hear this voice in my head telling me that I should stop telling people that God was going to heal David. I knew that voice didn’t come from God, so I just kept saying it. That voice from the enemy would tell me that if God didn’t heal David on this earth, my children would never believe that what He says is true and others that are watching would doubt that God is real. I would fight through those thoughts of doubt and remind myself that all of God’s promises are “Yes” and “So Be It” and that He was God and I was not. I would stand on His promises. I would tell the Lord that He was really missing a good opportunity to glorify Himself in this situation if he didn’t heal David on this earth. I questioned Him when I would watch David suffer while praising Him and calling out to Him for healing. It was a struggle to watch.
The week in the hospital before bringing David home, I slept little as he began to lose the ability to communicate with me. Although he was still breathing, we could no longer have conversations. He would grunt and I would say, “Are you OK? Do you need a drink? Are you in pain? Do you need to go to the bathroom?” He would look at me and say, “Too many questions.” Then I would ask him slowly and he would nod his head. I began to think that maybe this miracle that I was praying for may not come but I would will myself to continue to speak and believe for perfect healing on this earth. I would imagine us walking through the halls of that hospital and cancer center and the witness it would be to all those who knew David’s prognosis. I envisioned him standing on this platform giving his testimony. I knew that most people at this church had no idea that David had stage IV colon rectal cancer that was metastatic and that his liver was full of cancerous tumors, so much so that surgery was not even an option. Yet, David would not speak of how terrible the diagnosis was and that his life expectancy apart from a miracle was three to five years max. I couldn’t wait until he was able to share that and I could just see him being able to show the pictures of the before and after CT scans and watching as non-believers came to know Jesus because of this great miracle.
Sunday, January 14 I had spent a sleepless night beside David’s hospital bed. I was spent and I couldn’t bear to see him suffer as he was. I heard the words, “Ready Yourself for the Miraculous”, so clearly in my spirit and I knew it was the Holy Spirit speaking to me. I got up and got myself dressed, brushed my teeth, washed my face, put on some makeup and combed my hair. Then, I went to David’s bed and said, “I’m taking you home, honey.” Just three nights before this, David had very clearly told all of us that He had surrendered to the Lord however he wanted to heal him. He said he had told the Lord that if he was done with him on this earth, he was ready to go and that he could not endure this any longer. However, if there was still more for him to do, then please heal him and let this battle be over. I couldn’t fathom how God could be done with him and how he couldn’t have more to do so I just knew that God was going to heal him on this earth. But, we all surrendered that night, along with David, and knew that we needed to stop trying to fix this on our own. So, on this Sunday morning, January 14, I was ready to take him home and honor his wishes to stop trying to fix it on our own. When the nurse came in I told her I wanted to take him home and we started getting things ready. Those words, “Ready Yourself for the Miraculous” kept going over and over in my mind as I washed David and began to help get him ready for home. They transported him by ambulance and when they wheeled him through the front door, this man whose words were few said, “I’m home” with such relief in his voice. That next week we had worship and praise playing through the house all day every day. Sometimes David would lay in that bed tapping his foot or pointing at the TV where the YouTube worship videos were playing. He was still worshiping and praising with what he had left. (You have to understand that this man was yellow with jaundice, tumors had overtaken his major organs and his normal bodily function had ceased. He was taking in little to no food or water and looked like skin on bones. The fluid was filling his body and he had three drain tubes coming out of his stomach to keep the fluid drained to keep him somewhat comfortable. Yet, he was still smiling and praising the Lord! What excuse do we have to not?)
The Friday before David passed away, I asked him, “Are You Ready to Come Up Off of this Bed Healed?’ and He mouthed the word, “Yes.” So, OK God, we are Ready for the miraculous. Yet. At 2:00 the next morning, David took his last breath on this earth and peacefully resigned to his home in Heaven. My kids say it is a big log cabin and he is driving a jeep. My son asked me, “Mom, did God really tell you to ‘Ready yourself for the miraculous?’” To which I had to answer, “Yes.” So we all just decided that maybe he was going to do a Lazarus miracle and I even warned Devin the funeral director to not be stunned if he walked in and David was looking at him ready for me to come get him. The funeral director told me that he warned his staff and left the doors unlocked for him just in case. But, that call never came.
I will tell you that through this entire struggle, I, nor David, nor my children have blamed God. We have questioned and still do to some extent. However, I know that we live in an evil world and unfortunately no one is exempt from this evil. What I do know is that God has been our strength through it all. So, this past week my children and I have worked to plan today to honor this amazing man who meant so very much to us. It is difficult for us to understand how we will go on without him and the huge void that his death brings to our lives. He was such a quiet strength to all of us. Then, this message came from a friend,
“I pray that you will able to see the miraculous way your brokenness has touched & changed the hearts of others!!!”
There was that word, MIRACULOUS!
Then another message from a young pastor who had never even met David that said,
“Your husband has forever impacted my approach to my Father. I say this as a forever protege of his example. What a gift he will always remain to me. He planted some of the most powerful eternal seeds I’ve ever seen. His impact will be with me as long as I live.”
More and more people began to comment on how David’s life and our journey as a family had impacted them. I was told that the nurses and doctors were always so encouraged by David and his attitude through such pain. And I realized that the miraculous isn’t always as we see it. We try to play God and guide His hand, but He always knows best. While I would love to have David here with me sharing his miraculous healing, that is not the case today. But my reason for sharing all of this is to honor this amazing man who fought such a good fight and honored Jesus through it all. I know where David is and I know that me and the kids will join him one day. But I also know that we will not waste the “brokenness and pain” that this battle has caused, and we will use David’s life and story to help others understand that although this world and all it has to offer is evil and cold, God never fails us and he never leaves us and never forsakes us. If David could praise him through his pain, I can certainly praise Him through my pain.
If you don’t know Jesus and you have watched this precious husband of mine and been a part of this journey, I would ask you to never let his journey and the example that he set for all of us be in vain. I love you David and I don’t know what each new day will bring to me and the kids, but we couldn’t be more proud of you, today, as we honor you. We love you more than words can say. Until we see you, again.