At that time, Demetrius Samuel, Jr.’s parents were rejoicing because, what doctors believed might be cancer in their 14-year-old's body, wasn’t.
They were both happy and relieved.
His father, Elder Demetrius Samuel, Sr., a minister and his mother Sister Catherine Samuel, a singer, love God, serve in ministry with their gifts and do their best to raise both their son and daughter Denae in the fear of the Lord.
When we were out to dinner the evening before I had to fly back home, I noticed Demetrius Jr. was lethargic. He didn’t want to eat. He had laid his head down in his hands. I asked what was going on with him. Catherine told me he had been like that for a while. His appetite wasn’t very good and he had been having headaches.
Silently, I prayed for him, sensing that something wasn’t quite right, but not knowing what was going on.
Months later, I got the news.
The doctors were wrong.
It was, in fact, cancer.
T-cell ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia), to be exact.
Demetrius Jr. had to go through intense chemotherapy and radiation, and was very ill in April when I returned to Carolina for an in-home visit with him.
When I arrived to see him, he was very frail, with hardly any appetite and even less energy. He was depleted from all the treatments and the aggressive illness. His father had to carry him up and down the stairs. He had lost so much weight.
I just wanted to be there.
Well, one afternoon, when I found out he was awake, I asked permission from his parents to go up and spend a little time with him in his bedroom. They agreed.
So Demetrius Jr. and I had a conversation.
Though he was hardly able to project his voice, he made me laugh. He’s such a nice young man and very funny, too.
He was alert and mindful of everything. He even apologized for some of the symptoms of his condition that he thought might make me uncomfortable.
“There’s no need to apologize,” I told him. “You’re fine. I’m just happy to be able to hang out with you.”
We talked about all sorts of things—his hobbies, friends and his love of making people happy. “I don’t like to see anyone sad,” he said. “If there is a person nobody else will talk to, I will go and talk to them.”
That’s just the kind of guy he is.
So gentle and kind.
I knew he was in a lot of pain. So periodically, I asked if he was tired. I didn’t want to wear him out, you know. But he told me he was okay and wanted to talk some more.
A lot more.
Then, the conversation turned toward faith. I told him how much God loved Him and learned that he had been thinking a lot about spiritual matters. Together, we prayed, as he recommitted his life to the Lord.
It was a beautiful moment—one I will never forget.
While I was there, Demetrius Jr. couldn’t really eat, even when I brought him his favorites. His stomach couldn’t handle it. So when I discovered that he really loves steak, I told him when—not if—he is well, we were going to go and have a steak dinner to celebrate.
On my flight back home, all I could think about was Demetrius, Jr. I prayed for him, recounted our conversation, thought about his family and asked God to please heal his body.
A little while later, I learned that he had experienced kidney failure and had to go through dialysis. So I just prayed some more. Demetrius Jr. lost his ability to walk and had to go through rehab. And I prayed some more. Doctors said he would be wheelchair bound for quite some time. And I prayed some more.
Well, prayer works.
Demetrius Jr. is Leukemia free! He has been in remission for 8 months and we're going to go out for our steak dinner soon.
Friend, God is able to do anything. He hears and responds to our prayers.
I'm reminded of a Bible story in Isaiah 38. Here we find Hezekiah, king of Judah, who was very ill. Whatever his sickness was, it caused great pain and nearly killed him. Things were pretty rough in his life. On top of sickness almost taking him out, the Assyrians, formidable opponents, were after Hezekiah and his people. If that weren’t enough, things seemed to get even worse. Isaiah the prophet came to Hezekiah and told him he was going to die, and to notify his family so they could get his affairs in order.
What a blow, right?
Upon hearing the bad news, however, Hezekiah didn’t call for his relatives as he was instructed to. Instead, the Bible says he turned his face to the wall and called on God. Hezekiah said to the Lord in verse 2, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.”
Then the king wept bitterly. He was torn up over the fatal diagnosis.
Have you ever received news that tore you up inside? Have you been truly devastated by a shocking turn of events? Have you prayed through tears? I have. And boy is it ever a difficult place to be.
After Hezekiah sought God tearfully, the Bible says the Lord spoke to Isaiah and gave him a special message for the righteous king. “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life.”
God didn’t stop there. He also said, “I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.”
The Lord made good on both promises!
Not only did he heal Hezekiah, but in the preceding chapter (which chronologically happened after this one we're discussing because biblical authors don’t always put their writings in order), the Lord defeated the Assyrians. Sennacherib, the wicked king of Assyria who initiated the attack and openly defied God, was killed by his own sons while worshiping idols in the temple.
God turned everything around!
Hezekiah’s life shows us that when things look their worst, God is able to turn them around for the best. One minute, the king was facing death, the next, after God sent a word, his years were increased.
There was a suddenly-shift in Hezekiah’s situation.
One moment, he was staring at the curse of death and defeat, and the next he was enjoying the promise of life and victory. Nobody can turn things around quite like our God can.
Perhaps your circumstances look horrible. All you hear is bad news. Everything around you appears to be falling apart. You’re thinking, Dianna, I don’t see any end to the negative cycle of problems, disappointments and challenges.
But God is speaking the words He said to Hezekiah to you today: “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.”
Not a single tear you've shed was wasted. Not one prayer you prayed bounced off the sky. You have been heard and seen.
Know that a suddenly-shift is coming. Increase is on the way. Victory is yours. God has proclaimed and ordained it to be so!
"Expect a shift. Believe for a breakthrough. Anticipate favor. Rejoice for increase. God is going to make it happen."
Just remember, you don’t have to fret over a right-now problem when you’ve got a shall-be promise. You’re struggling right now, but you shall be set free.
Take notes from Hezekiah. When you get bad news, take that bad news to a good God and watch Him move. He will answer. He responds to your faith.
To remind you that God will work in response to prayer, I’m stirring the latter half of James 5:16 KJV into your cup of inspiration, which says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, know that your prayers have reached Heaven. God has heard you and it’s only a matter of time before the answer shows up.
In the meantime, let your words reflect your faith in God’s promises and sovereignty.
When defeat is all around you, speak victory. When symptoms of illness manifest, confess healing. When roadblocks are in your way, say that you are an overcomer. When the present test is intense, praise God for your future testimony.
Change is on the way!
Now let’s pray.
God, some of the situations facing me today are discouraging. But instead of worrying, I'm casting my cares at Your feet, fully believing You will hear and answer! Thank You Lord for deliverance. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
If you need prayer, don't hesitate to request it. I would be honored to stand in faith with you. I know that prayer works. CLICK HERE to learn how to submit your prayer request.