The man on the right of the picture above is Ray Park, and he’s 80 years young (I’m on the left, if you didn’t guess). Pass him on the street and he’s likely to shuffle past you with a smile and a “good morning.” In the grand scheme of your day, however, he’s just another suspenders-wearing senior citizen, friendly to a fault, probably driving a little slow for your taste.
What you wouldn’t guess by looking at him is a few months ago he built the altars for our home church. Quite an accomplishment for someone of his age.
But that’s not all. He’s also on his ninth college course, working his way toward a degree in Bible and Theology. In my work as Undergraduate Grading Coordinator for Global University, I have had the pleasure of working with Ray for the past three years. Although I haven’t ran an official report to confirm this, I believe he’s our oldest active undergraduate student in the USA. While he’s a retired Pastor, and could be enjoying his retirement, content to rest on his holy laurels and wait for the angels to carry him to his next life, he’s busy writing essay papers and studying for his next final.
He says, “You’re never too old to learn something new.”
But that’s not all. He’s taking a course entitled, “The Work of the Pastor,” and had an exam scheduled for 9:00 this morning, but had a stroke four days ago. I was out Friday and when I returned Monday morning there was a sticky note on my office door which read, “Ray Park had a bad stroke and won’t be in to take his test.”
That saddened me, but I whispered a prayer for him and tried to go about my day. I was away from my desk around 9:20 and returned to find Ray standing there at my door.
“Oh there you are,” he grinned. “Sorry I’m late, I told you I’d be here at 9:00.”
I was shocked, to say the least.
“Uh, Ray?” I began, trying to find the words. “I didn’t expect to see you here today. I heard you had a stroke.”
“Well, I did,” he said, “and it was a bad one. I was paralyzed from the waist down, but God healed that,” he said without even missing a beat. “I couldn’t move either of my legs, but prayed about it, and was finally able to lift my right leg straight up and off the table. The nurses and doctors about had a heart attack! So God healed my right leg, but I was dragging my left leg along behind me. Then He healed my left leg. Watch!” he continued gleefully, and began walking around the office, akin to a Nazi goosestep.
“The doctors had no explanation for it, and said if they hadn’t seen it with their own eyes they wouldn’t have believed it. They want to put a heart defibrillator in, but we’ll see about that.”
“So, anyway,” he sighed, “I’m ready to take my test.”
Wow. I mean..just…wow.
I’ve said it for years: “We are alive until we have completed our mission, and not one second longer, no matter how the doctor’s report reads. God is in control, and we’ll be on this Earth until He is done with us.”
For another miracle story, read my blogs, “My Suicide,” parts one and two.
Or here’s another example from my own family:
This is my Uncle Kenny. He was told a few years ago he was in stage four cancer, and needed to get his affairs in order. I recall having a family get-together, when he was so weak he laid down on the hard tile floor and fell asleep, while everyone continued to eat and talk (not knowing what to do, honestly). He was so pale it just broke my heart, and I told him, “I don’t know what to say, except that I’ll pray for you.”
“That’s all you can do,” he responded weakly.
He’s had his ups and downs, and like a lot of us, has asked God why he’s still breathing, especially on his “treatment days,” which leave him debilitated, depleted.
But he’s defied all the odds and is still here, despite what the doctors told him. He’s a faithful member of his church, and a blessing to those who know him. He stays busy around his house, cleaning, cooking and, in his words, “being a pest” to his wife and daughter.
Yeah, the report he was given was grim, but I’ve reminded him of my statement above several times: “Kenny, God’s not done with you yet. You’ll be here until you’ve completed your mission, and nothing anybody tells you will change that.”
Despite the doctors report, God is in control of your life.
Take comfort in that, friend.
“When sickness comes, the Lord is beside them—to comfort them on their sickbeds and restore them to health (Psalm 41:3).”