I remember the last time when he came to see me off at Nagpur airport on October 3, 2007. We attended a couple of meetings the whole week and I was heading to Belgaum enroute Mumbai. We finished the wonderful programs on the 2nd October in which more than 1200 participants gave a commitment to serve Jesus. It was the hard work by many godly servants of Nagpur. Pastor Benjamin Joseph was one leader among them who was humble, soft spoken, always cheerful, servant heart attitude and above all gentle in spirit. I saw him a couple of years ago on CBN TV where he shared his testimony how he had a renal failure and both his kidneys were damaged and how Lord Jesus was able to save him. He said he had called his wife and told her it is over. He is going to die. All the doctors told the same. But his wife Sujatha did not lose hope. She prayed the whole night. And Brother Benjamin came out of his unconscious situation the first thing in the morning.
Kidney dialysis removes toxins from the blood, and it can be life sustaining. Most people cannot stop dialysis unless they get a kidney transplant or if the problem that caused the kidneys to stop working can be treated. Chronic kidney failure cannot be treated except through a transplant, and most individuals who have this condition will die within a few weeks if they don't continue dialysis. Adults do have the right to make medical decisions for themselves, however, and some choose to stop treatment. In fact, in the United States, approximately 25% of those dealing with kidney failure make the decision to stop receiving dialysis.
People sometimes stop dialysis for positive reasons. If a person with kidney failure receives a successful transplant, he or she will no longer need this treatment. People with acute Kidney failure may only need dialysis for a short time while their kidneys recover. Unfortunately, donor kidneys are in short supply, and these organs will not recover from chronic conditions. The majority of individuals who choose to end dialysis are, essentially, making the decision to die.
Many individuals with chronic kidney failure choose to stop because they are either not likely to receive a transplant or ill suited for one. When faced with the need to continue receiving dialysis for the rest of their lives, many find the prospect intolerable. For some, the quality of life with regular dialysis treatment is very poor. As such, they would rather live a few weeks on their own terms than have the potential to live years with dialysis.
Sujatha could hardly resist the doctors’ messages. “I really started listening to what they were saying. She was a crying and she was a mess. She just slid down on the ground and all the sudden some friends got off of the elevator and they knelt down with her and they started praying with her. And then another friend came and said, ‘Sujatha, this is not the time for grieving. This is a time for believing.’ And so, everybody showed up. All of our church showed up. We prayed for probably three hours or more, praying and singing praises to God. And, she almost feel like God was just going, ‘That’s what she was waiting for. Now, let’s see what she can do.’"
To the doctors’ amazement, Joseph survived that night and stabilized. On the same week, Sujatha saw another miracle. It was when a Church member walked in and decided to donate her kidney to Brother Benjamin Joseph.
Joseph says, “I begged Jesus to raise me from this bed. ‘If you will, I promise I will glorify You. I will tell everybody I come in contact with about what You did.’”
Less than one month later, Joseph was back at work and was completely healed. Today he is living an active lifestyle, which doctors said would be impossible.
His doctor wrote, “I would say that this process of recovery was certainly not normal or predictable. I have never seen anyone as ill as Mr Joseph Benjamin recover.”
Joseph explains, “God just totally restored everything! He restored my health. He restored my liver, my kidneys. My heart is like it was before it ever happened. My lungs are perfect. There is nothing wrong with them at all. He completely restored me.
Sujatha has a fresh perspective. “I would tell people what my friends and well wishers told me, ‘This is not a time for grieving. It is a time for believing. It’s when things look the most bleak is when God wants to step in because that is when He gets the most glory.’”
Joseph knows what God did for him. “I am here and by all medical standards, I shouldn’t be. It is just a testimony to God’s people. It’s the reason I’m here. It’s because of the power of prayer.”
We, as mere humans, are not omniscient; we don’t and can’t know everything, especially when it comes to the future. However, God does. He knows everything—past, present, and future. What’s more, he has walked ahead and planned our steps before us. All we have to do is follow in His footprints like a child after their father. God knows what lies ahead of us, every hill, valley, curve, and fork in the road. At times we may be travelling blind in the darkness, but, if we’re following the Lord, we have the benefit of His light leading the way for us. I needed to hear that God is good and faithful. I needed to understand what that means. Most especially, I needed to understand that God loves us, and what that means. I swayed back and forth from despair and hope, from anger and faith. We hoped in the Lord, and struggled to hope in the Lord.
In all of this, God is glorified.
All set and done, I would like to recall what C.S. Lewis wrote in his book, The Problem of Pain: "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain, it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
See, it’s all about faith. It takes faith to be healed. It takes even more faith to keep trusting Jesus when healing doesn’t occur.
We may not understand it at the time, but sometimes God desires to do more than simply heal our physical bodies. Often, in his infinite wisdom, God will use physical suffering to develop our character and produce spiritual growth in us.
Here’s what I can tell you. Your faith is more important than your life. I can also tell you that a person’s eternal life in heaven is more important than their physical life on earth. And further more life is all about glorifying God, whether or not you’re sick or healed, whether or not you’re alive when Jesus comes. It’s all about Jesus, not about you.
Do you have that kind of faith?