Touched by His Healing Hand
By Dr. Neil Nedley
This past spring my wife, Erica, had surgery to remove a large benign hemangioma, a mass of blood vessels in the liver. Two segments of her liver were removed in the process, but we praised the Lord for a successful surgery and healing. Fourteen and a half weeks later, however, Erica began experiencing moderate to severe pelvic pain with weakness. Labs revealed return of anemia and an abdominal pelvic CT scan was performed within one week. The results that came back were shocking!
Erica had an enlarged uterus with a large 8 by 9 cm mass with findings consistent with invasion into the cervix and enlarged lymph nodes surrounding the mass and up the aorta. It appeared to have metastasized. The radiologist read all of these findings consistent with endometrial cancer (Stage 4), which is essentially a death sentence.
Despite Erica’s knowledge of these grim findings, she still went to Ikea that night to get furniture for the young men living in the temporary dorm and delivered this at 9:30 p.m before she returned home to her tearful husband. Erica (who has never been internally focused) continued only to think and do for others, still never wasting a moment of time in her effective labor for Weimar Institute and our family.
The films were copied the next day and taken with Erica as we traveled by plane down to Loma Linda University. The films were read and a surgeon attempted a biopsy, but Erica’s cervix was so scarred it could not be performed. The surgeon explained that this scarring had prevented any uterine bleeding that would have allowed us to catch the tumor in an earlier stage. The surgeon also did a rectal exam and her findings on the rectal exam were consistent with spread into the rectum as well. Erica was then scheduled for extensive surgery two days later (a Tuesday) with removal of uterus, ovaries, possibly rectum with colostomy, omentum and potentially widespread lymph nodes to give Erica a better chance of living months to maybe a year or two longer.
I began fasting and praying as did our four sons. I told Erica not to fast since she would have to fast for 3-5 days after the surgery. However, Erica and I together read “Prayer for the Sick” in Ministry of Healing, chapter 16. We read it as a prayer, allowing the Holy Spirit to convict us of ways He would like us to change so we can better accomplish His will in and through us. The Holy Spirit convicted me that my prayer life was not like Moses, Paul, or even Christ, and as a leader of one of God’s institutions, I should be spending far more time on my knees and less time doing lesser important things. I was also convicted to use my time more wisely, as Erica uses hers.
In addition, I was also convicted to be more prayerful, even in attitude, in my every day activities. We begged the Holy Spirit to search our hearts, to see if there was anything coming between us and others, or us and Him, so that He could feel safe to touch her with His healing hand.
As Dorcus was needed by the early church, Erica is needed at Weimar. The Holy Spirit did convict us of ways that we could follow His will in our life more closely. The sense of His sweet Spirit filled our prayer room multiple times during the day when I was fasting and into Monday as we continued our morning and evening prayer sessions. We knew we were undeserving of a miracle. The wages of sin is death and we have all fallen short of God’s glory at times. But we did ask God to work to forward His work on earth at Weimar and in our family in accordance with His will, not our own will.
My sons had similar experiences going through the same chapter of Ministry of Healing as they all fasted as well. We did not let our Weimar family know, simply because of the many texts and calls we knew we would receive that could have kept us from the work and prayers that we needed to do individually. The last night before the surgery, as an elder, I held an anointing service for Erica while we were both on our knees asking that if it be God’s will, to let this cup (of end stage cancer) pass from her. We had a calm assurance that God would be with her whether or not she was healed.
Before surgery began, I notified our leaders of our medical crisis and our friend Don Mackintosh led out in prayer for Erica and for Weimar. As surgery began shortly thereafter, many others on Weimar campus banded together to pray. We did not know what would happen, but we had peace God was in control.
The surgery that had been planned for 5-6 hours, lasted about two hours. The mass was sent to pathology and a rapid frozen section showed no signs of cancer. The omentum was clean, no involvement of the rectum and although two lymph nodes were taken, the surgeon did not expect to find cancer there. And sure enough, those lymph nodes came back clear.
Needless to say, the surgeon was mystified as she has never seen a case quite like this. But we know what happened! The Lord has healed Erika beyond our most fond wishes. He touched her with His healing hand. We praise God from whom all blessings flow!
The text Erica sent me right as she was being wheeled by anesthesia to the operating room is so powerful: “We put our hope in the LORD; he is our protector and our help. We are glad because of him; we trust in his holy name. May your constant love be with us, LORD, as we put our hope in you” (Psalms 33:20-22, GNB).
May God use this experience to draw us all closer to Him as we press together to accomplish His will for our lives. Psalm 107:19-20 says, "Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, And He saveth them out of their distresses. He sendeth His word, and healeth them, And delivereth them from their destructions" (KJV).
Neil Nedley is a board certified physician specializing in Internal Medicine with an emphasis on Gastroenterology, Mental Health and Lifestyle Medicine. He is president of Weimar Institute and is known world-wide for his highly successfully Depression and Anxiety Recovery Program which is operated from the campus of Weimar Institute in Weimar, California. He and his wife, Erica, have been married 35 years and have four sons. Photo is from their 35th Anniversary this past week.
World Church Prayer Requests
December 25 - 31, 2020
• Pray for the ability to be able to carry one another’s burdens as many go through difficult financial and health challenges this season.
• Pray for the many supporting ministries within our church. Pray for health and educational institutions like Weimar, where the key focus is to train people how to embrace and effectively share the right-arm of the gospel, the health message.
• Pray for the upcoming Day of Prayer and Fasting that will take place January 2, and the 10 Days of Prayer that starts January 6th. Pray that many will take part in these special global prayer initiatives.
• Pray for this week’s Adventist Mission unreached people group, the 29 million Arabic-speaking Algerians! Jesus died for each one of these people. But only 0.01% of these precious people believe in Him. Join us in praying that millions of Algerians can come to know Jesus through local believers, missionaries, tentmakers, and the Internet! Your prayers make a huge difference in reaching the unreached.