February 8 marked the one-year anniversary of my losing my left eye to cancer. What an event that was in my life. I am changed forever. It was the scariest thing that ever happened to me, but in so many ways it was also a time of the greatest blessing. I want to share this cool story with you.
It happened on a Sunday morning. The next day was my surgery, and we were sitting in our usual row in church surrounded by so many supportive friends. There was a guest speaker in church that day, a local man named Jeff Kling, who happened to be talking about God healing him from cancer. I was curious to hear him talk.
I want you to know I was NOT expecting a healing for my eye. I know God could do that if it was His will, but I knew that my eye was definitely coming out the next morning, and I was scared. Who wouldn’t be? I remember telling Jeff (my husband), “I can’t believe I’m going to let someone remove my eye tomorrow.” It seemed horrific and unreal--the worst kind of adrenaline rush. It’s hard to explain, but with the upcoming loss of that eye and the very real threat of the cancer further metastasizing to my liver, I could not even see life beyond the next morning’s surgery. Yes, I had all the faith in the world in my salvation through Jesus Christ. It’s not that I was afraid to die; I was afraid about my kids, my family, left without me. But for right now I was sitting in church drawing close to the Lord and knowing that’s exactly where I was supposed to be.
I sat there glad to forget about myself for a little while and listen to Jeff Kling share his story. He gave a miraculous telling of his cancer diagnosis, his surgery, his incredible conversation with God, and his healing! It was truly touching, and I was choked up right along with him as he told about his new-found faith. What an amazing thing to happen! My eyes filled with tears as my heart filled with joy for him.
He was concluding his message by saying he didn’t know why God chose to heal him and not someone else, and talking about putting your trust in the Lord. My own terror came flooding back to me, and I remember feeling agitated as I thought about what I would have to face the next day.
That’s when it happened.
Jeff Kling was still speaking at the front of the congregation and as he was standing there, right up there on the stage with him, I saw a sign! A literal sign! A big sign! I can still picture it now—it looked like one of those boxed signs you’d see high on the wall outside the door of a radio station that lights up in bright red letters: “ON AIR.” Only this one didn’t say “ON AIR.” It said “TRUST ME!” I watched in private awe as the backlit red letters in the sign box actually blinked—yes, they blinked!--on and off, on and off:
“TRUST ME” “TRUST ME” “TRUST ME” “TRUST ME”
Oh!!! God was right there, giving me a message of my own!
I bowed my head and thanked Him. I thanked Him so much for that blessed assurance. Wow! “Okay, God,” I prayed, “I will.”
We went home from church, and I packed my bag for the trip to Michigan. While eating supper at the hotel that night, I told my dad and Jeff what I had seen at church. Trusting in God, I had my surgery the next day.
A couple weeks later, my friend Wendy called me. She had been approached by a member of her church, Jeff Kling (!!!), who had spoken to my congregation. He’d seen my name when she put it on their prayer list and wondered if she thought it’d be okay if he gave me a call. He’d seen a lady in the audience while he was speaking at Agape Christian Church, he said, and felt a connection. He was pretty sure it was me! I told Wendy my story, and told her he was welcome to give me a call.
Not even an hour went by, and I was speaking to Jeff Kling on the phone!!
He asked if I have long blond hair. Yes.
Attend the second service? Yes.
And was I sitting in the middle section several rows back that morning? Whoa! That’s me.
When he was speaking that day, he said his eyes kept coming back to me. He got a feeling that I needed to hear what he had to say. Each time he shares his testimony, he explained, he concludes it in different ways, depending on what the Lord lays on his heart. That morning, he said, the message from God was for me. And that message, Jeff said plainly over the phone, was for me to TRUST GOD!!! “I do!” I said to Jeff, “I do!” And I told him MY story.
You’ve heard of people raising their hands heavenward and begging, “God, if you’d just show me a sign!” For me, this undeserving, fear-filled lady, God did just that. He is so real! He is so amazing! And He loves us so much! It’s not about Jeff Kling. It’s not about me. It’s about Him.
All glory to YOU, God!
I trust You. No matter what.
Jennifer Riley resides in Westville, Indiana with her supportive husband of 20 years, Jeff Riley, and her two beautiful children, Amanda(18) and Jason(16) Riley.