FACED WITH LIFE
By: Charles Staley
My name is Charles Staley, my friends call me Chuck. A little over a year ago I was cutting the grass, washing the car, and bike riding with Debbie, my wife. We would go on ten to twenty mile bike rides. Since we were in our fifties I thought that was pretty good. So anyway, I was about doing the average daily routine that we all do.
One day at work I broke two ribs which I was not aware of at the time. As I recall, I felt a burning sensation when I bent down to pick up a pen I dropped. I discovered the broken ribs after an x- ray I had for severe back pain. The pain went away. However it came back 2 months later. It would not go away, therefore, I had to go to have a Doctor check it out.
She told me if it did not improve she would run blood tests, MRIís, etc., to get a diagnosis.
After many weeks of physical therapy, I was not improving. As a matter of fact, I was getting worse. I felt my hips becoming numb, which prompted me to seek another opinion since the doctor that was treating me refused to do the MRI or blood work.
I walked into a chiropractor's office one week later. I needed a cane. Two weeks later I needed two canes. Little did I know there was something seriously wrong in my spine and body. An MRI of the lumbar area revealed a disc that was sticking out, therefore prompting the doctor to assume that was causing all the pain.
Wrong - because the third week I became paralyzed from the mid-waist down to my toes. God had my full attention by now and I found a neurologist who did a thoracic MRI and found a large tumor compressing my spinal chord. He ordered an emergency operation to get into my back and remove the tumor.
The following day the tumor was removed successfully. However the news to come after was almost too much to hear.
The day after the operation a doctor introduced himself to me. He said he was an Oncologist, which are words you do not want to hear, because a Oncologist is a doctor who treats cancer. A DNA test revealed the 13 gene was messed up that caused the tumor. He told me he thought I had Multiple Meyloma (Bone Marrow Cancer).
So there I was ... flat on my back - paralyzed, and had cancer. Remember in the beginning how I stated I was doing the basic daily routines of life? At that moment ... after the doctor told me ... I did what any normal human being would do - my mind sort of went into a state of shock. Life seemed to be over. No more would I be able to stand and hug Debbie or help her around the house. As a matter of fact, Debbie had to do all the house work while I watched. Ouch. Men - that was a biggie for me because I was the provider and did the landscaping.
Pride had to go and humility had to take residence if I was going to get through this. It became apparent that God had to become my provider, and my peace giver.
After one week I was sent to the Winter Haven Hospital for five weeks of therapy and to learn how to transfer from the bed to a wheel chair. It was physically and mentally painful.
Day after day, seven days a week, I hung in there going through the therapy. God spoke to me while going through the rehab. He said if I was faithful to Him, He would be faithful to me. I asked him what He meant. God is so graceful. He told me if I listened to the doctors and did what they told me, then I would be healed. I was not sure if I could do it because I was not going to go through any cancer treatments.
Well - for the first time in my life I decided I was going to completely surrender this to God.
I prayed before the back operation for God to take me to my home in heaven. However, here I am, 16 months later.
My faith was growing everyday. When the cancer treatments were not working, I was told the only treatment left was a bone marrow transplant. Not one, but two transplants . The following scripture was my hope of a future as I was about to endeavor into waters I never had been in before:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD; plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
The first transplant went well. There was only a little discomfort from the chemo. The second transplant went better than the first. I was on my way to recovery, and again ... God was faithful in his word to me.
As of August, 2005, I have experienced more feeling in my legs and abdomen. I am now able to take steps in a walker, and do exercises at therapy that I was not able to do a year ago. I know my God is healing me.
There are days when I feel darkness trying to close in on me, and when those days come ... God holds me very close. He never lets me go. He brings me near to His heart.
No -- I canít cut the grass, hug Debbie, or ride my bike, but the greatest gift of all through all this ... I have come to know God as my Father who gave His only Son for me so that I might be saved. Father God is truly my father and I know one day I will be dancing.
I can only imagine what that day will be like. If you are going through any trial -- cancer, divorce, broken heart, or a crushed spirit ... there is only one answer: The Love of God. How rich and pure; how measureless and strong it shall ever more sustain the saints and angels.
LOVE ... is what will heal you, for God is love. Look and see if this love is nearer to you than you think. If you do not know Jesus as youíre Savior, that is where it all begins. It's all about Jesus, for He will set you free and then love will enter your heart.
If I had to do it all over again, my answer would be, "Yes!" I did not know God as Father ... but now I do.
What an awesome God we serve. Do not let another second go by if you do not know Jesus. Not know about Jesus, but truly know Jesus. To know Jesus is to know God! There is a huge difference between the two.
He is standing at the door of your heart ... waiting for you to open it.
"Behold: I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." (Revelation 3:20)
I was faced with major changes in my life. I went from walking to becoming paralyzed, in a short time. Little did I know a wheelchair was going to be my legs.
I was faced with the possibility of death. That seemed okay for me because death would be a ticket to heaven -- a way out of this pain and suffering.
I was faced with getting up every morning, after having dreams of running and walking, only to realize I can't.
I was faced with going to church and watching everyone stand and worshipping God while I sat in my wheelchair.
Yes -- I was faced with many sobering, ripping, tugging thoughts - painful facts - life in general. But when I let Jesus in to take all the things I faced and trusted in Him, and walked by faith in Him and the promises in His Word, He never disappointed me. God always was there for me and has stayed with me right up to this moment. I know He'll stay with me until my time to depart to heaven. Now I can say Life is worth the living because He lives. Now I can face tomorrow.
When I woke up in the recovery room from the back operation, I was faced with a very bleak life, as you may be facing this very moment. It was up to me from then on to meet the challenges that life was going to bring my way. Without Jesus, I know I wouldn't have been able to. I know I wouldn't be able to face it another moment in the future.
Jesus never said life would be easy, but he did say it would be worth it all through eternity for those who gave their life ... their hurt ... their pain ... their depression to Him.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has gotten us again to a living hope through resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love, though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith - the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9)
I am living proof that God is real and He is alive. I had only 5% of bone marrow when I was first diagnosed. I was like a dead man walking over a year ago. After the second bone marrow transplant, the cancer was gone. Now I am alive in Him, who will complete the good work which He has begun in me. God has done the greatest miracle in me He could ever have done -- He has made Himself so real to me. His reality -- the intimacy we share -- the promises for eternity awaiting me that are too incomprehensible to grasp ... He truly has become my life. He wants to be your reason for living -- become your life as well.
May God bless each one who reads this testimony - for His glory to shine brighter on you. My prayer for each of you is that you will know God as Jesus knew Him while here on earth. He knew Him as Abba Father. He wants us to know Him as Abba Father. He longs for it to happen. Yet it's up to us to allow Him to make that reality known to us. He won't force it upon us, because He honors our will.
God hears and answers the prayers of his people. I am so grateful to God for the many people who has supported me through this trial ... especially Debbie, my awesome wife, who is my care giver and cheerleader; my mom, my dad and family; my church family and friends from Pennsylvania to California to Africa. Also - a special thanks for the ones who visited me while I was in the hospital and Rehab for a total of 13 weeks. A grateful "Thank you!" to the doctors and staff at The Moffitt Research and Cancer Center in Tampa.
You may forward this to your friends. God Bless you!
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JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT!
JESUS DID IT! - or - JESUS DID IT!
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Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
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