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"I'll never forget the expression on my primary oncologist's face."
Gary Brausen was absolutely stunned when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He was never a smoker, always ate well and had been an active hockey player for decades, but none of that protected him from the pain, uncertainty and surprise that came along with the illness.
Suddenly, his vibrant and seemingly boundless life was rocked by the news that he would have only one or two years left on this Earth. It was a revelation that he said left him "devastated" — but it was prayer that he and his wife Rosey credit for his eventual healing.
"[I was] devastated, especially when the doctors are saying — and we had two second opinions — that this case is terminal," Gary Brausen told The Church Boys podcast. "And saying things like, 'Do you have your affairs in order? Do you have a will? Have you taken a recent family picture, because this is the best you're going to look.'"
It's an experience that his wife recounted in her new book, "Praying for Healing While Planning a Funeral," as she detailed how her husband's diagnosis and healing rocked her world, led the family to rely more than ever on prayer, and surprised doctors.
Listen to Gary and Rosey describe their story below:
"Even though I know my Lord so intimately and have a deep relationship with him, I really shook in my boots," Rosey Brausen said, explaining how difficult it was to continue praying when doctors were asking how her husband was going to spend his last days.
She said that God warned the couple that they were "in for a battle," and so they hunkered down, refusing to give up hope that healing could be a possibility; rather than give up, they began taking a number of steps in an effort to steadfastly hope — and pray — for the best.
"Getting a prayer team around us, saying scripture out loud over us ... and then keeping my eyes focused on [God]," Rosey said of their actions, which also included treatments and the removal of a lung.
Many times, she said that Christians treat God like a Santa Claus of sorts, imploring him to "give us what we're praying for," but not realizing that it can sometimes be a long battle — and that he won't always answer every prayer.
In the end, Rosey said that she had to learn true and profound trust in the Almighty as she journeyed through her husband's illness.
"If we were going to battle and Gary was still going to go home, [I knew] that [God] would still be sovereign in my life," she said. "I don't think we talk about that enough on how long sometimes you have to stay in the game with the Lord as he processes healing through your body."
The couple continued praying and, in August 2014, doctors gave Gary an all-clear, letting him know that he had fully healed. It was a moment that stunned medical professionals, but it's one that the couple credits fully to their faith in God.
"I would say they were very surprised. I'll never forget the expression on my primary oncologist's face when I went back for my first three-month checkup in February of 2012," Gary explained. "They were fully expecting the cancer to be all over the place ... he was very surprised that it came back clear, and then we had a series of check every six months until February of 2015."
Watch the couple further discuss their journey below:
In the beginning, Gary said that his primary doctor was continuously shocked by what he observed, but that he eventually came to terms with the fact that his patient — a man who had been given just one to two years — was healing.
Rosey said that the situation has shown her that "God's grace is sufficient" and that he can be trusted, whether that means that someone is "healed this side of heaven of the next." And Gary, too, learned a profound lesson.
"You can't necessarily ... believe what you hear on Earth if you're going through something difficult," he said. "I had some of the most talented oncologists in this country tell me that my days were numbered."
Gary continued, "Doctors do not determine ... what your last day is going to be ... remain hopeful and keep your eyes and ears on the Lord."
Find out more about "Praying for Healing While Planning a Funeral."
Front page image via Shutterstock.com.
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