About Hal C. Lee, Pastor
I was a ten year veteran of the Highway Patrol on that fateful day, and for the first time in my life I was completely helpless, something I had never experienced before, I was at home, alone with my wife and three children when I suffered a near fatal heart attack. I was frightened, and all I could think of was that I was going to die and leave my wife and children. My dad had died in a plane crash when I was just a little baby, so I knew what it was like to grow up without a dad. The other thing that was on my mind was the fact that I was not ready spiritually to die. I had found comfort in reading the Bible while I was in Korea, but really had not understood much about what I read. I had gone through the rituals of joining a church and getting baptized, but it meant little to me. As a police officer I had to work late on Saturday nights and I watched a lot of so called church members doing things I didnt think were becoming of a Christian, so I thought I didnt need what they had. But on that day in May, I suddenly realized that I was the one who was going to stand before the Lord and be judged of my sins and my sins became very real to me.
An ambulance carried me to the hospital. I couldnt move even enough to help myself on to the stretcher. My hands and feet were numb. At the hospital I told the doctor I thought Id had a heart attack, but he told me I was too young for that! But after looking at my cardiogram he changed his mind. He told me not to move any more than I had to, and to stay as quiet as possible. My condition was diagnosed as a coronary thrombosis. There was little they could do for me and I was given about a two percent chance of survival. The Lord had other plans.
I spent almost two months in the hospital. Now I was down and all I could do was look up! A pastor came in to share with me the real meaning of salvation. He had previously tried to witness to me but I was too proud to listen. Praise God! He didnt give up on me. I came to know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior on that hospital bed and my life hasnt been the same since. The Lord gave me not only a physical healing but a spiritual healing as well.
My recovery from the heart attack was slow. It took me about five years to completely regain my strength. My spiritual growth was also slow at first. We began to go to church as a family. As I grew from a spiritual babe in Christ to a mature relationship with the Lord, I started teaching Sunday School to a group of teenage boys, then later to a group of adults. About this time I heard about the Florida Bible Institute where the Bible really came alive to me and which I attended nights for seven years. After graduating from the Institute, I taught there for a year.
In 1978, I was asked to help start a mission church from the First Baptist Church in New Smyrna. We began the work there with thirteen people and held our first service in the new church building on Easter Sunday of 1980. Since then the Lord has seen fit to increase our membership to over three hundred. I retired from the Highway Patrol after twenty five years of service and have served the Lord full time since then.
Things went well over the next few years. We saw the Lord add precious souls to His church and as the work progressed we began taking a group of them to the mission field each year. We helped with building programs and were able to witness along the way.
In 1986, a group of us went to Colombia, South America to help build a missionary school for the missionaries children. I hadnt been feeling well and one day I felt a lump in my side. The plans had already been made and we were leaving a few days later. Not wanting to take the joy out of the trip for anyone I said nothing about the lump until we returned home. It had been a difficult trip for me and I was extremely tired. My wife made an appointment with the doctor for me right away. He thought at first I might possibly have amoebas in the liver, picked up from one of out trips to South America, which might have caused the liver to enlarge. An ultra-sound revealed a large tumor in my right kidney.
Surgeons removed a nine pound tumor about the size of a volley ball along with my kidney. They told me I had renal cell carcinoma and although the surgery was successful further tests revealed that the cancer had spread to both my liver and my lungs. They sent me to Shands Hospital at the University of Florida for further tests. The doctors there said they were sorry but there was nothing they could do for me, and if there was anything I had ever wanted to do and hadnt done, Id better do it right away. They gave me five years at the most. Without the Lord my wife and I would have been devastated. But knowing it was up to the Lord to determine when life ends, we began a search to learn all we could about cancer. We knew from studying Gods Word that when we fall into diverse trials we can ask of the Lord God and he will give us wisdom. (James 1:3-5)
Our prayers were answered in a strange way. We received a phone call from a man in Orlando whom I had never met. He was the father of my nieces husband and had learned from her what I was going through. He told me that he had cancer himself and would like to talk to me about it. We quickly agreed to meet with him and he shared with us about a health conditioning clinic in Seale, Alabama where he had been a patient himself, called Yuchee Pines. There they teach their patients how to build up their own immune system through diet, exercise and thermal water treatments. They help people with all kinds of health problems, not just cancer.
They were able to take us at the health center within just a few weeks. There we learned the kinds of foods that fight against cancer and how to prepare them. They also taught my wife to give me thermal water treatments, which induce an artificial temperature and helps the body to produce its own interferon. I took three weeks of thermal water treatments there and six weeks later I took two more weeks of treatments at home. This was to be followed by two more weeks of treatment in three months, then two more weeks in six months. Six months after my operation I had another cat-scan and the doctors could not believe that the cancer had not only not spread but the nodules had declined. I continued check-ups every three months and a cat-scan each year with no change.
Just before Christmas of 1989, I began to pass blood. We learned that the cancer had again appeared in my duodenum. I received innumerable pints of blood before the doctors decided to send me back to Shands Hospital. They took one look at my x-rays and told me my stomach was up-side-down and that it presented a medical emergency. They told me it could rupture at any time and there would be nothing anyone could do. Through the previous years, each time I had a cat-scan or x-ray of my abdomen they told me I had the largest hiatus hernia they had ever seen. But at Shands, they saw right away that it was not a hernia. Id had problems all of my life with my stomach but didnt know until then what the problem was. I believe the Lord let the cancer come back so they could operate on it at the same time they removed the cancer.
The surgeon told us that on a scale of one to ten with a heart transplant being a ten, that this operation would be right under it. He had a cardiologist check my heart to see if it could stand the operation. He found that my cholesterol count was 105. He asked me why it was so low and I told him about the health conditioning center and of the diet I had been on. After he had checked everything out, he told me that he thought that the only way to beat cancer was to do exactly what I had been doing by building up the immune system. He felt sure that I would be able to withstand the operation. They removed my duodenum, part of my pancreas and half of my stomach. The operation lasted nine hours and while they were inside me they checked my liver and found only scars left there from the cancer. That was over three years ago and today I am in better health than I have ever been in my life.
What I have experienced over the past seven years has truly been a blessing. The Lord has opened a whole new ministry for me. Just to be able to encourage others when they have been told they have a fatal disease and give them some hope is such a good feeling. To pray with them and encourage them not to give up, but to get the best medical help they can get and then put their trust in the Great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ. Most of the patients they receive at Shands are terminal. The doctors at Shands told me that the difference in my case and so many others was my mental attitude.
I believe what the Bible teaches us in the book of James, if we are sick to call for the elders of the church and have them pray over the sick anointing them with oil. (James 5:13-15) Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. The oil was the basis for the medicine at the time James wrote this, but most important it is a type of the Holy Spirit. We need to ask God for wisdom as in James 1:5, search for the best medical help, then trust the Lord for healing.
Paul in writing to the Thessalonians said, And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (I Thessalonians 5:23-24) I believe that we need to nurture the whole man body, soul and spirit. This includes the physical person, the psychological person and the spiritual person just as Gods word says. If we are going to be all that we can be, the Bible is the word of God for man, now and forever. I call it the manufacturers handbook. God has given us talented physicians for our well being, but we must not look only to them when we are broken. We need to take care of the whole person and keep it from being broken.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) We must make the choice to receive that everlasting life. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12) We must come to the place in our lives where we realize we are sinners separated from a Holy God. all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
The Bible further tells us That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10) I don't know what the future holds for my life, but I am certain who holds it. I live one day at a time and rejoice in the Lord and His blessings. I now have no more fear of death and the judgment for Christ has taken my judgment upon himself. His great and gracious love has opened a new and living way to the throne of heaven. Paul wrote to the Philippians these beautiful words which have become my life verses. "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
My God richly bless each and everyone that reads these words.
The above was written by Hal Lee sometime in 1992 as the preface of a book that was never published. In 1995 dad learned that his cancer had returned and this time was not operable. His prayer was that God would allow him to live long enough to teach the entire Bible to the members of Glencoe Baptist Church and God granted his prayer. In all the time that remained, dad never complained about his condition and his faith in God never wavered. He was in no hurry to leave his family but looked forward to being with Jesus in heaven. After accomplishing his goal of teaching the entire Bible, dad retired as pastor of Glencoe Baptist Church in 1996 but continued to minister to all that he could until his strength was completely gone.
Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, [thou] good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
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