by Howard and Jeanne Tomlinson


CHAPTER 12

Our Awesome God

“Is anything too difficult for God?”  “Do miracles still happen?”  These questions may have crossed your mind as you face seemingly impossible situations.  What are the answers?


For Howie’s folks and me, February 10, 1993, was a very emotionally draining day.  We had been waiting and crying out to God for several hours while Howie underwent surgery to remove his brain tumor.  Friends and relatives all over the country were praying fervently as well.  After the surgery, Dr. Arbit came to the waiting room to speak with us.  He said, “I have both good news and bad.”
    “The tumor was large and I successfully removed about 75% of it.  I didn’t remove the part touching the motor strip, so Howie is not paralyzed and is able to move his left arm,” the doctor said.  “However, I’m very sorry to say that the tumor is malignant and Howie’s condition is terminal.  I recommend he have both radiation and chemo right away.  But even with treatment, he probably has only one to one and a half years left.”
    Mom and I burst into tears!  We already felt drained from the long wait and now to get this devastating report was almost more than we could bear.  After crying our hearts out and making several phone calls, Dad took us out to dinner.  We felt very low, but knew we must be strong for Howie.  We decided not to tell him what Dr. Arbit said but wait and let him hear the lab report himself later in the week.
    I was discouraged, but sensed in the back of my mind that the surgeon must be mistaken.  God had given me the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 several weeks earlier, a promise of peace and hope for the future.  I decided to trust God’s Word rather than Dr. Arbit’s diagnosis.
    When we saw Howie later in ICU, we were amazed at how alert he looked and excited to see him lift his left hand.  The next day seven of the nurses moved him into a regular room. He started receiving cards and letters, enough to cover one whole wall.  Many people called and were surprised to hear, “Hello, this is Howard.  How may I help you?”  When friends and relatives came by to visit, they were amazed to see him sitting up and smiling!  Several said that he looked and sounded much better than they expected.  They came to encourage him, but ended up being encouraged themselves!
    Two days after surgery, Howie started walking down the halls with me.  He greeted other patients who were hurting and offered to pray for them.  When his brother Cliff visited, we had the opportunity to share the Gospel with families of some of the patients.
    On the Thursday after surgery, Howie and I were playing a game with Ken, a friend from church.  Dr. Mark Malkin, head neurologist at Sloan Kettering, walked in and announced, “I have good news!  The lab results are in and the tumor is a benign oligodendroglioma.”  We were in awe!  When Howie’s folks walked in a few minutes later and heard the good news, they let out a shout of joy.  The dark cloud they had been under since hearing Dr. Arbit’s diagnosis dissipated and the sunshine broke through!
    Howie’s surgeon was stunned at the news.  Dad went into another room and told the head nurse, “Did you know Howie’s tumor is benign?”  Dr. Arbit overheard the conversation.  Having been convinced the tumor was malignant, he went up to Dad and said in disbelief, “It can’t be!  It can’t be!  Where did you hear this?”  Dad told him that Dr. Malkin gave us the lab report.  The surgeon shook his head in amazement, “Well, he’s the boss.  It must be true after all.”


Sometimes we’re devastated by bad news and feel that our hope is gone.  But God has a way of surprising people, even the most talented of doctors.  We should never doubt Him or despair, for He’s the God of the impossible!  When we pray, the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the power at our disposal.  Our God is sovereign and can do anything, even work mighty miracles!  We must never dictate to Him what to do, but simply trust that He will come through with what is best.

For Those Who Hurt

You may be emotionally drained after receiving a devastating report.  Don’t lose hope!  Pray fervently and ask others to pray, trusting God to do the impossible.  And “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”  You may be shedding tears now, but shouting for joy in the morning when you see His awesome power in your life.  Whether He chooses to work a miracle or not, continue to trust the Lord as your Good Shepherd who will always tenderly care for you.  “Save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance; be their shepherd also, and carry them forever” (Psalm 28:9).


 


 

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Chapter 11: The Battle Belongs to the Lord Table of Contents Chapter 13: The Pit of Despair