In this post I continue to chronicle God’s supernatural healing me of cancer. Soon enough I would hear the opinion of several doctors that my life was coming to an end. In the next couple of posts I will chronicle how God healed my body. In this post I want to share with you: LIVING IN FEAR AS A BELIEVER.
On Thursday, August 28, 1997 I was discharged from the hospital having just had my right kidney removed and my wife delivering our first born son, Micah. The recovery process at McLain was such a sweet experience. First Baptist Church of McLain took care of our every need. With Cheryl recovering from a cesarean and me recovering from having my kidney removed our house was full of loving church members who cared for our every need. They cooked meals, doted over Micah and cared for Cheryl and me with great love. I have often said I love God but it is easy for me to love Him because He has been so good to me. I am eternally thankful for my church family at McLain. I love you and think of you often. As the days turned into weeks and my life became a little more normal I gradually became active. One day Cheryl found me in the back yard hitting golf balls with a pitching wedge. Her reaction was if you bust those staples loose I will let you bleed to death and don’t cry to me tonight if you are hurting. My Florence Nightingale!!!!
As my life returned to normal something strange began to happen inside of me that I had never experienced before. I found myself living with fear. I can’t speak about living with heart disease or with Parkinson’s disease, however, living with cancer I began to notice any unusual pain that I developed. If my joints hurt I was afraid cancer had returned and was in my bones. When I experienced dizziness I assumed I had a brain tumor. Not long after becoming active I began passing a small amount of blood. I was terrified; the cancer in my body was discovered when I began passing blood. There was a harmless explanation for the blood this time. As I became active scar tissue resulting from the catheter after surgery tore and bled a little. However, until I heard this explanation I was afraid. God’s children are not to live in fear. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I have read there are 365 verses in the Bible instructing believers not to fear – one for each day of the year. I was living in fear but I hid it well. Every three months I would go for a catscan or an ultrasound. For a few hours every three months I was terrified of what the results might be. Worry is an insult to God. As believers when we worry we are saying to God our problems are bigger and more powerful than He is. Most of the time I was normal, by that I mean I was not afraid. However, every three months as I waited for Dr. Stout to give me the results I was afraid. Every once in a while I would wake with a new pain and fear would grip me for a while. I was committed to being brave for Cheryl and our new baby but the truth is I had fear. The sensation of fear did not last long and was not always present but when I was afraid I felt like a phony. Why was I afraid, did I not trust God?
In December of 1997 I became the pastor of Corinth Baptist Church in Magee, MS. This church is very special to Cheryl and me. We both feel that God sent us to every church we have pastored so we could minister to them but we both feel God sent us to Corinth so they could minister to us. What I was about to experience and endure I could not imagine experiencing anywhere but Corinth. First of all, on the whole this church was made up of incredibly spiritually mature people. It did not take me long to realize I would have to grow in the Lord or resign as their pastor. As I settled into my new pastorate I soon learned this was a praying church. When people in our community or church family became ill this church would organize prayer meetings in the homes of the sick or even in the hospital. It is an incredible experience to see a line of people out the front door of a home and into the yard waiting to pray for someone. God honored the prayers of these Corinthians again and again. It was here that I became a serious student of the Word. I had no choice.
Not long after I moved to Corinth I had the scariest dream I have ever had. Seventeen years later it is still vivid. In this dream I had resigned from First McLain and went to various homes to say my goodbyes before moving to Corinth. In the dream, one home I visited was Bo and Yvonne Moody. They asked me to come into the basement of their home because they had a gift to give me. Once in the basement and having received the gift we noticed the most frightening snake you could imagine. It was huge, not long but thick, with a large head, red eyes and long fangs. In the dream, I ran from the house, threw Micah in the car and Cheryl and I jumped in and sped away. Still in the dream, I was now in my front yard at the parsonage in Magee with Cheryl working in a flower bed and Micah sitting in a stroller in the shade of a tree. As we worked we noticed this same hideous snake coming up our driveway. In the dream, I grabbed a hoe and chopped its head off protecting Cheryl and Micah. This dream was so frightening I honestly woke trembling.
The Sunday following the dream we had a men’s breakfast at the church. I shared in conversation around the table about my nightmare. No one seemed to be impressed with the intensity of this dream. The next morning a man in the church came by my office. He asked me never to tell anyone but he felt God had given him the interpretation of some dreams and God had given him the interpretation of my dream. I will keep his identity concealed as he desires. I must say I thought he might have been a little nuts as he began telling me this. His interpretation meant nothing to me that day but soon enough it would mean a tremendous amount. His interpretation was, “The snake represents the cancer you had in McLain. It followed you from McLain symbolizing it will return. Your cutting the head off symbolizes God will cure this cancer this time. Bro. Dean, the cancer will return but it will die, not you.” Now you have to remember I was healthy at this time and doctors were 90% sure this cancer would not return. I didn’t know what to think of this precious brother’s words at that time but soon enough I thought about them constantly.
Joel prophesied in the last days God would pour His Spirit out on all flesh and as a result young men will see visions and old men will dream dreams. Peter quotes that prophecy in Acts 2:17-21 when some accused the disciples of being drunk when they received the Holy Spirit. Peter does not say Joel’s prophecy is fulfilled at Pentecost for Joel’s prophecy is for the nation of Israel during the tribulation. However, Peter is saying on Pentecost something similar to what Joel prophesied about is occurring as a result of the Holy Spirit’s coming. Throughout the Old Testament God spoke through dreams. In the tribulation God will speak through dreams. I am convinced God speaks to us in the church age through His holy Word. We need nothing else. However, I know of one man who had an interpretation for one of my dreams that came to pass exactly as he said it would. By the way, I have come to learn the love of God does not guarantee you will never be afraid again but it does guarantee you will have victory over those fears.
In my next post I will discuss the return of cancer – twice.