Creating A NEW HEART
The youngest of six siblings, David preferred alcohol to his relationship with his family. Although the family tried to help, they met resistance and finally, physical threats. David was diagnosed with throat cancer three years ago, but it was not until this March that John Kent, David’s oldest brother, discovered the severity of his condition. During prayer meetings by phone due to the coronavirus, John asked his church family to pray. At John’s suggestion, David joined the call one evening, and in a raspy voice, asked the Thomasville, NC, church for prayer.
(Photo Caption: John, Freddy, Judy, Danny, Mike (deceased), and David in 2010.)
Touched and encouraged by this interaction, and realizing David was rapidly declining, John and his son, Pastor Mark Kent of the Thomasville and Lexington churches, decided to drive to Alabama for an unannounced visit. When they arrived at David’s camper, they were shocked at his appearance. His form had wasted away to nothing but skin and bones. Seeing his visitors, David seemed confused. John called out, “It’s me, David...Johnny!” Reaching out, David grasped his brother’s hand, and then took Mark’s hand. Holding their hands together, he leaned his head against them with tears rolling down his cheeks. John and Mark knew that God had sent them to David.
Through amazing answers to prayer and God’s providences, David was transferred to a Hospice facility the next day. John reached out to his other siblings, encouraging them to visit their ailing brother. Their scars of past hurts and fears were difficult to overcome, but a few hours later John received the touching news that two of his siblings were on their way to see David. Just hours before, David had expressed that he didn’t want his other siblings to know where he was. Concerned about his reaction to this news, John and Mark prayed silently as they entered David’s room. Moments later, David asked about the rest of the family, and smiled when John said they were coming. John shared the Gospel with him, prayed with him, and when the family arrived soon after, David asked their forgiveness.
The doctor at Hospice told the family David might live three weeks. But he gained strength as he received nourishment through his feeding tube. Within two weeks, he was transferred to a nursing home. The day before he was transferred, he called his brother John and asked if he could be baptized.
(Photo Caption: David when he first
Since David would not be allowed visitors once he was in the nursing home, Pastor Jonathan Davidson of Guntersville, AL, willingly agreed to anoint David that afternoon. When asked if he wanted to accept Jesus as his Savior, David replied, “Absolutely! Yes!”
“I have never felt the power of God so strongly in a room before,” said Davidson. “I’ve performed many anointing services in my ministry, but as I prayed with David, I sensed the presence of God so powerfully that I was physically shaking.”
David continues to improve at the nursing home. Only God knows how much time he has, but David’s family rejoices that God performed the wonderful surgery He promises in Ezekiel 36:26: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”
(Photo Caption: David after several weeks of care.)
—by Mark Kent