What I feared the most might happen, happened.
The night before my first major surgery, Don, a dear brother in the Lord, came to my house to pray with me.
A month prior to his visit, I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Since I dreaded hospitals, surgery, and any disease, I had always eaten a healthy diet, exercised, taken natural supplements, and lived an active lifestyle, but none of those exempted me from cancer. My friend knew of my fears, so he came to support me.
We stood around in a circle, holding hands–Don, his wife, my wife Emily, and me. As Don begged God to give me strength and deliver me from my claustrophobia and anxiety for the surgery, I realized there were no longer four individuals in our circle, but five. Another presence was standing next to me.
The more Don poured out his heart to God who had joined our prayer circle, the more I was like Moses at the burning bush, hearing God’s voice from the flaming fire, “Take off your shoes for the ground you’re standing on is holy”–the same ground sheep and goats had traveled many times before, made holy by God’s presence. I quietly slid out of my Birkenstocks. The carpet I had walked on many times became holy ground that night under my feet, made holy by His presence. Don’s prayer transported me into a worshipful holy reality I had never experienced before and hallowed the carpet, the room, the night, and the four of us.
The Almighty God of Israel, that same God who spent the night with Daniel in the lion’s den, who walked with Daniel’s three companions in the fiery furnace, and who spoke to Moses from the flaming bush, now stood with me that night as we prayed.
Don prayed for God’s presence to fill the operating room the next day, but I knew–God was already there waiting for me.
This was, and still is, no fantasy, no dream. It was reality! That night for a few minutes I stood with my loving God–on holy ground.