by Howard and Jeanne Tomlinson


The Lord Will Provide

It’s natural to be fearful when there is an immediate need facing you, with no means to meet it.  But this is actually the perfect time to see God’s love and providence at work, if you are willing to trust Him wholeheartedly.

Following Howie’s fifth brain surgery in April ’99, we knew we had to make some difficult decisions.  Howie had been working full-time, but was not able to continue.  He was weaker on his left side following surgery and had to have several months of physical therapy.  He also faced at least six months of chemotherapy, which would weaken him further.  It was now time for him to consider going out on permanent disability.
    I felt anxious about this financial reversal in our lives.  Up to this point, Howie had been earning a decent income working for the Long Island Railroad.  Now all of a sudden, we were living off his sick pay and my two part-time jobs, which resulted in a significant reduction in income.  I chose not to work full-time, so that I could be there for Howie and take him to all his appointments.  We applied for disability and were told the waiting period was six months.  With our combined income now being less than our living expenses, which included medical bills, we were facing a desperate situation.
    Howie and I have been fascinated with the story of George Mueller, the man of God who taught the Word of God and established several orphanages in England in the mid-1800’s.  He was known as a man of tremendous faith.  He didn’t have a salary and never asked for money for his ministries, but always prayed and trusted the Lord to provide.  In all his years of serving the Lord, Mr. Mueller never lacked the funds he needed.  I bought The Autobiography of George Mueller shortly after Howie’s fifth brain surgery and read through it, receiving a tremendous blessing.  Following is an excerpt from the Introduction:

After a few years, God called him to establish a house for the care and education of orphans.  He was drawn to this work, not only from motives of benevolence, but from a desire to convince men that God does answer prayer.
    Mr. Mueller began this work in such a manner that aid could not be expected from anyone but God.  He did not, of course, expect God to create gold and silver and put them into his hands.  He knew that God could incline the hearts of men to aid him, and he believed that if the work was of Him, He would meet every need.  Thus, in childlike simplicity, he looked to God, and all that he needed was furnished as punctually as if he were a millionaire drawing regularly on his bank account....
    It was George Mueller’s greatest hope that his record of God’s faithfulness to him would encourage believers to develop faith like his own – the faith without which it is impossible to please God; the faith that works by love and purifies the heart; the faith that removes mountains of obstacles out of our path; the faith that takes hold of God’s strength and is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
Following Mueller’s example, Howie and I decided to pray about all our financial needs and not ask anyone, including our parents, to help us out.  We didn’t know how we were going to meet our expenses, but we trusted the Lord to provide.  Little did we know what an exciting adventure was ahead for us:
  • Eddie, a friend of Howie’s father, offered to help us with all the disability paperwork, free of charge.  Because he had helped many other railroad employees, he knew exactly what needed to be done and was a tremendous help.
  • Dr. Raymond Damadian, inventor of the MRI scanner, offered to let Howie have MRIs at his facility whenever he needed them.  Howie had several MRI’s at Dr. Damadian’s company, FONAR Corporation, free of charge.
  • Our folks and my Aunt Anne gave us monetary gifts to help pay bills and buy groceries.  Several friends from our support loops and church also sent us gifts (thank you to our parents and Aunt Anne, Fred and Judy, Kathy, Maria and Patrick, Carleen and Nick, Joyce and Andy, Julia and Ron, Rich and Debby, Samantha and Roger, Carol and Gary, Judy and David, Barbara, Suzy, Nancy, etc.).
  • In 1993, the deacons at Dix Hills Evangelical Free Church helped pay for Howie’s radiation treatment.
  • In 1999, the deacons at Bible Baptist also gave a gift to help us out financially, and the women’s Bible Study provided us with grocery money.
  • Dr. Ehud Arbit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital accepted the insurance as payment in full for his surgery in February 1993.
  • Dr. Robert Spetzler at Barrow Neurological Associates accepted the insurance as payment in full for his surgery in February 1996.
  • Dr. David Chalif at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset also accepted the insurance as payment in full for the three surgeries he had performed in October 1997, August 1998, and April 1999.
  • God blessed us with three outstanding neurosurgeons who were also kind and compassionate.
  • Physical Therapy of Huntington never charged us for their services from 1997-1999 beyond what insurance paid for.
  • Dr. Jerry Diener, oncologist, also accepted the insurance as payment in full.
  • We decided to offer free copies of Hope For Those Who Hurt to people going through hard times, especially to families dealing with brain tumors.  Through financial gifts from others who had read the book, we printed and shipped out copies to several hundred people in the United States and some foreign countries.
We are so thankful to the Lord and family and friends for helping us survive this lean time in our lives.  In November ’99, Howie’s first disability payment was deposited and our financial situation improved.  But even during the previous months, we never went through a time when we weren’t able to pay our bills and buy necessities.  We learned a valuable lesson in trusting the Lord that year, a lesson we’ll never forget.

If you’re a true believer in Jesus Christ, God has promised to supply your needs out of His abundance— “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).  When finances are low, step out on faith, call out to God, and trust Him to put it on the hearts of others to help.  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).  And never forget to say “Thank you, Lord!”

For Those Who Hurt

Do you want your life to have an impact on others?  Be faithful to the Lord and content even in the face of tragedy.  Focus on things above, not on things of the world.  And be ready at all times to confess your faith in Christ, even if it means dying for His sake.
    The Lord said, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).  Our world needs more heroes who will be examples of living—and dying—by faith.



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Chapter 28: A Traumatic Week for Howie and the Nation Table of Contents Chapter 30: Facing Fear With Faith