James 5:14-15: “Is anyone among you sick? 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 will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
I knew Tommy since I was a little kid. We went to the same church together. His daddy and my uncle were both deacons there. He was five years older than me, so we weren’t close, but I knew that he was a ‘famous’ football player. He played quarterback for our high school, and a time or two they went to the State Championship. Later, my cousin Danny, Tommy and I sorta ‘grew up together’ in the oil business for the last 30 years or so. We’ve had lots of ups and downs. Tommy and his high school sweetheart Tanya were married for maybe 30 years and then got a divorce. They had two kids. Tommy had spells of drinking and running with some pretty fast folks.
But we were friends to the end. Early last year he started having headaches and was diagnosed with a tumor in his sinuses which turned out to be inoperable. It pressed on his optic nerve and he became blind. He took a lot of treatments, and while they may have helped some, he wasn’t getting any better. I went to visit him in November, the week before Thanksgiving. We’re both old, but he didn’t look good. His one eye was swollen shut and the other was staring. He was sitting in a chair with a blanket over his lap. We talked a some about old times, football and the weather.
I’d brought along my friend Loyde, and when we got ready to go, I said, “Tommy, before we go, we’d like to pray for you.” He said he needed all the help he could get. So we knelt beside his chair, put our hands on him and prayed. I prayed for him to be healed. I prayed that the God Who raises people from the dead would raise Tommy up too. Tommy prayed that God would give him courage. At the end Loyde quoted James 5:14-15 and said, “We’re elders and we’d like to anoint you with oil and pray so that you too can be healed like this verse says.” Tommy said, ‘Yes.’
About two weeks later Tommy died. I don’t know why God didn’t heal him and raise Him up like new, as if from the dead. I guess some might say that what we did was dumb, knowing that Tommy was terminal; but I’m sure that we did what God wanted us to do; and I’m just as sure that God’s will was done by us all trusting God to take care of Tommy.