"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
– Isaiah 53:5; King James Bible "Authorized Version", Cambridge Edition
Pastor Levy Conley comes to mind when I think of being tried and tested in faith.
Rev. Conley lives by Isaiah 53:5. He has trusted in God for more than 53 years and has stood firm in believing and delivering God's word to numerous individuals. His wife of 43 years will tell you that her husband was a humble pastor who would give his last dime to help those in need, often putting them before his own family.
Well, the time has come to see just how strong is the faith of this man of God. Pastor Conley has learned that he has prostate cancer.
For many of us, the thought of having to deal with a life-threatening disease is terrifying, even though we see it happening to others all around. It can be a real shock to a man of God who long has stood firm in his belief.
At 79, Pastor Conley acknowledges that he has wondered how and why God "allowed" this disease to strike His servant who trusted and delivered His word faithfully to help His people find comfort in these type situations.
Pastor Conley had to make a decision. Should he trust God at His word or elect to receive the standard medical care for cancer, which could have a lasting impact on his family and others close to him?
Meanwhile, Pastor Conley received more faith-testing news. His sister and daughter are each now facing cancer.
In his case, Pastor Conley chose not to opt for radiation or chemotherapy. He decided to take an alternative holistic approach, trusting God to lead him down a path and to put people in his life to assist him in his healing.
As I talked with him recently, I could see tears well up in his eyes. I felt his concern and fear for himself and for his daughter as she weighs whether to use radiation and chemo treatments for her breast cancer.
Pastor Conley says the string of events and challenges has had a discernible effect on his inner strength, belief and faith. God, he says firmly, has a mission for him and that his work is far from done.