by Public Relations Office - Cedarville, OH
November 15, 2006The following story was taken from a chapel message delivered by Scott Lehr ’00 on October 5, 2006.
My wife (Shanna Lenhart Lehr ’00) and I always say, “Pray big prayers and dream big dreams.” We’re on a journey watching God do big things, and we’re seeing God do amazing stuff. We believe it is because God is an amazing God.
We were expecting our first child when one day I went home and checked our voicemail. It was our OB/GYN saying that my wife’s lab results were in. When he said that, I distinctly remembered a conversation Shanna and I had had about a week before in which Shanna commented that she had some blood tests and that the doctor would not call us unless something was wrong. With that in mind, I knew this was some sort of bad news.
I called my wife at work and said, “Shanna, remember all the good things God’s doing?” She replied affirmatively, and I said, “The doctor called and your lab results are in.” She got quiet, and so I thought I should do what every good preacher guy would do and share a Bible verse. I chose Job 2:10 — “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” (As I selectively quoted the verse I thought I was wise to leave off the first part in which Job calls his wife a “foolish woman”!)
Soon after our conversation, my wife’s car pulled into the driveway. She got out and I could tell something was wrong. I knew she had been crying. I opened the door, and she walked in. “Shanna, what’s wrong?” I asked. She walked right past me and went into our bedroom and started bawling. I grabbed her by the shoulders and again asked, “Shanna, what’s wrong?” But she was so hysterical that she couldn’t even put words together. So I started to guess. “Did we lose the baby?” She shook her head. I started to wipe the tears from her eyes. “Do you have cancer?” She shook her head. And so I just started guessing all the worst stuff I could possibly think of.
Finally Shanna said, “My lab tests came back HIV-positive.”
“What?” I replied. “That’s not possible. We don’t live that kind of life. It’s impossible!” My wife, who works as a nurse, explained that she must have gotten exposed while working with AIDS patients.
Stunned, I called the doctor for more information. He told me they tested Shanna three times and each test came back HIV-positive. I asked if the tests could be wrong, if maybe she had a false positive. The doctor informed me that he had never seen a false positive HIV. While he was talking to me, I started to feel like a modern day leper because of the social implications of this disease.
After I hung up, I went into the living room where Shanna was still crying. I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t know what to do, so I started reading in James, starting with chapter 4. It says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” I slammed my fist down on the table and said, “God, I’m not going to have this disease just because I didn’t ask You to take it away.” We went back to the doctor the next day and had more blood drawn to verify the results, along with tests for me.
When we woke up the next morning, there was a spiritual battle in our house that I can’t put into words. A heavy darkness was there. We were so depressed that we got up, had breakfast, and simply went back to bed. I have never felt so helpless in my life. I was lying there next to my wife and listening to her cry when she should be experiencing such great joy over our first child. There was nothing I could do. I cried out, “God, I’m helpless. Don’t forget me.”
My wife started reading from the New Testament where a man brings his demon-possessed child to Christ and asks, “If you can, will you help us?” To which Christ responds, “If I can? If I can? All things are possible for those who believe.” The man’s words described exactly what we were thinking: “I believe; help me with my unbelief.” We knew that God could heal us, but we didn’t know whether or not He would.
I told God honestly what I wanted Him to do, and I pleaded with Him. The turning point for my wife came soon after while we were listening to a worship CD. The lyrics to a song said that God was the glory and lifter of our heads. As Shanna turned off the CD, she said, “Scott, it doesn’t matter what the outcome is. Satan will not get the victory.”
Later that day, we went out to clear our minds. While out, I felt led by the Holy Spirit to check our voicemail. It was two days early for the doctor to call, but there was a message from a nurse who said, “You need to call us. We have some better news for you.”
The doctor called and confirmed that we do not have HIV. They were fully confident about this and explained, “We tested those first samples of blood three times. They came back HIV-positive all three times.” He went on to explain that when they tested the new samples of blood, they were negative. They tested them a second time, and again they came back negative. So they went back to the old samples and re-tested them. They too came back negative.
I asked, “What happened? What’s going on? I’m a preacher. I don’t want to make this sound like some mystical story. I’m not going to sue you. Just tell me what happened.”
The doctor couldn’t answer me and simply said, “We don’t know what happened. We’ve learned what we’ve learned; let’s just move on.”
You know what I learned that day? I learned that my God is big, so strong, so mighty, and there’s nothing my God cannot do.
Some of you might need to lay an issue down on the altar and say, “God, I haven’t been trusting You with this. I’m going to give this to You.” Some of you might need to repent because you’ve made God too small. You believe He can can control your eternal destiny, but He can’t control your daily life. You might believe God can do a whole lot of stuff but He chooses not to. And if you do, you need to have a conversation with Him about that.
To order an audio copy of the message, visit www.ThePath.fm
or call 1-800-333-0601.