This is the second part of a story, about a Canadian couple called Glenn and Cheryl. The initial part of their story is contained in this blog post and should be read first.


Six months after Glenn’s operation to remove the Non Hodgkin Lymphoma, he and Cheryl have just returned home from a coffee date. As they sit on the sofa, chatting, reflecting and making plans for the future, they turn to worship and prayer, and sense the LORD speaking. He is telling them that He wants them to go deeper with Him; that He is going to encourage this to happen … because, when the storms of life come, their depth in Him will enable them to stand firm.

Both of them realise it’s a warning of ‘storms’ up ahead and, having come through such a significant storm already, they feel fearful. So they seek God for Scriptures to hold onto, and the Holy Spirit brings two verses to mind:

With long life I will satisfy him, and show him my salvation” (Psalm 91:16), and
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).

Immediately, they feel the presence of the Holy Spirit with them in the room and a profound sense of peace. During the months that follow, they memorise these Scripture verses and dig deep in their relationship with the LORD, individually and as a couple.


It is mid-January and thick snow is covering the ground, when Glenn wakes from a bad dream. Someone unknown to him has been jumping up and down on his chest. Lying in his bed, he is aware of intense pain in his upper body, but he dismisses it as heart burn. By the morning, it has subsided but it hasn’t completely disappeared.

Glenn’s job that day is to clear the snow from the parking lot at church. It feels foolhardy, as the snow is still falling, swirling around in the wind, settling thick and fast. However, when he tries to get the snowmobile to work, the engine won’t start. Frustrated, and aware that he’s still experiencing some pain and discomfort in his chest, his huge sense of responsibility kicks in and he locates a snow shovel, fully prepared to clear the parking lot manually.

He hasn’t got very far, when the pastor arrives. Being his friend, as well as his boss, he is insistent that Glenn should leave it. They can get the snowmobile fixed when the storms have subsided. Until then, nobody is going to be trying to use the parking lot today; the snow storms are too intense. Reluctantly, Glenn agrees.

Returning home, he calls his doctor, at Cheryl’s suggestion and, later that afternoon, he finds himself being told that his symptoms suggest he’s had a heart attack. The doctor wants to run tests on Glenn’s heart, but he doesn’t have the facilities at the surgery, so he’s called an ambulance to whisk Glenn over to the big hospital in Winnipeg, where they have the equipment to test, assess and monitor his heart.

The doctor’s words are penetrating and Glenn is filled with fear. Lying in the ambulance, he is trying to pray out loud, ignoring the paramedics who are travelling with him. He is recalling and repeating 1 Peter 5:7, claiming it as his own:

Cast your anxieties upon the LORD because He cares for you.”

Cheryl is following the ambulance in the family car, winter tyres and snow chains on to cope with the weather, praying fervently at the wheel, while she tries to navigate the roads.


Glenn is taken straight to the Cardiology Department of the hospital, where he is given an angiogram, a type of X-ray to check the blood vessels around his heart. The results are conclusive. He has advanced cardiovascular disease. The acute chest pain he experienced last night indicates a heart attack. He has a 68% blockage in one of his arteries. The only option is heart bypass surgery, but there are risks attached to it.
The voice of fear is deafening.

Glenn and Cheryl ask for time, aware that they will need to wait several hours before an operating room becomes available, if they decide to go down that route. So they find some comfortable chairs in a quiet corner, and they bring the situation before the LORD in prayer. As they do so, God speaks clearly.

You have a choice,” He tells them. “You can trust in me. Or you can trust in fear. Which will it be?

It isn’t a choice they have to think about and, immediately, they make their decision. They will trust in the LORD. They will reject, rebuke and refuse to accept any fear. It is a joint decision; they are in agreement with each other, as well as with God. Together, they stand on the Scriptures that God gave them when He warned them of storms ahead, trusting that God will satisfy Glenn ‘with long life’ (Psalm 91:16) and ‘guard his heart’ (Proverbs 4:23). As soon as they make this choice, they are filled with peace and start singing in worship. Other patients in the waiting area watch in wonder, but nobody seeks to stop them.

The heart bypass operation happens the following day. When the general anaesthetic wears off, Glenn comes to and finds himself on a respirator. He is experiencing pain in his chest, but this is deemed normal after such major surgery. He is simply advised to rest.


Cheryl has returned home, through the snow, when she receives a call from the hospital. The lead connecting Glenn to the respirator has come loose. He has stopped breathing. The medical team are fearing for his life. He may not make it.

Please will she return in the safest, quickest way possible?

Instantly, she starts praying out loud, and claiming God’s promises, which come flooding through her mind:

Glenn will not die but he will live and he will proclaim what the LORD has done.
God will satisfy Glenn with long life.
God will guard Glenn’s heart.

Meanwhile, Glenn is given an anaesthetic and pumped with antiseptic, while the medical team perform open heart massage. He is given multiple shots of adrenalin, and rushed back into surgery.

When Cheryl reaches the hospital, the heart consultant invites her to sit down, before informing her, in as compassionate and caring a way as possible, that Glenn has died.

His heart stopped working for ten, possibly fifteen, minutes. He has been resuscitated and is being operated on at the moment, his second major surgery in a little over 24 hours. If he comes out of the operating theatre alive, his heart will be damaged, his brain will be damaged, and he will have difficulty fighting infections.

Is she aware of the severity of what lies ahead?

Cheryl slides off her chair and drops to her knees on the carpeted floor of the consultant’s office, raises her face towards heaven, and immediately starts to worship God, singing songs and claiming the Scriptures that God has given to her and Glenn.

The consultant is baffled by her response. He has never seen anyone take such news so calmly and serenely, but he cannot deny the beauty of the songs coming from her lips. He politely moves her to the main waiting area, where she stays on her knees for six hours.

When she eventually gets up from the floor, Glenn is in the recovery room, unconscious. She calls their children and Glenn’s wider family members and asks them to come. As they arrive, one by one, they squeeze into the room, standing around the bed and all the medical machinery. There is a tap on Glenn’s forehead, with a bubble to keep his temperature normal. He has multiple wires and tubes attached to his chest.

Cheryl bends over and whispers the Scriptures they have been standing upon into Glenn’s ear:

Glenn, you will not die but you will live and you will proclaim what the LORD has done.
God will satisfy you with long life.
God will guard your heart.

Even as she starts to whisper, the readings on the machines starts spiking!

The nurse who’s in the room with them can’t quite believe it, but Cheryl can. She sees it as a small and simple sign that God is on Glenn’s case and, from a place of complete peace, she reassures the family that he is going to be OK.

Turning to us, who are sitting and listening, in the converted Cotswold Barn, Cheryl reflects how she was only able to do this because God had spoken, and because she and Glenn had agreed to trust Him, not fear.


At 5am the following morning, Glenn wakes up. He is covered in wires and tubes, but he is lucid. The medical team can’t believe it. Surely he should have been brain damaged? Surely his heart shouldn’t be fully functioning? How can this be?

Recalling, for our benefit, what happened to him during the time he had been unconscious, he describes it as being ‘absent from the body, but present with the LORD’.

Jesus had come and sat with Glenn. He had put His arm around him, and He had whispered in his ear. The abiding sense Glenn had was of kindness, gentleness and compassion.

Glenn,” He said, “I want you to go back and proclaim what I have done.” He then went on, and Glenn recognised it as being from Psalm 23:5, “I have prepared a table before you in the presence of your enemies. I have anointed your head with oil; your cup will overflow.” He continued, “It is finished. The table top is smooth, cleared, empty … You do not need to do anything. You do not need to fear.”

It is clear that Glenn has been transformed by this experience. He feels no condemnation, just God’s unconditional love.


A couple of days later, while Glenn is still in recovery, he is moved to a different floor. It is a multiple occupancy ward and he misses the privacy of the private recovery room that he has been in.

Opposite him is a young Filipino man, who is about to have the same surgery as Glenn has just had. They start chatting and the youngster confesses that he has a problem with his nose and has never been able to smell. Glenn offers to pray with him, the youngster accepts, and Glenn speaks a simple prayer, out loud, across the ward, in the name of Jesus, asking God to heal his nose and restore his sense of smell.

During the night, somebody is burning toast. Glenn wakes up, aware of the acrid smell, and then there is an exclamation from the opposite bed. The young Filipino man has smelt it too. His nose has been healed. He can’t believe it and he calls out to Glenn.

Glenn explains the Gospel to him, encouraging him to put his trust in Jesus and to find a local church when he leaves hospital.


The medical team are mystified. Glenn has clearly not suffered brain damage, as they had anticipated. But they remain convinced his heart must be damaged beyond repair. So they do a heart echo test on him. However, when the results come back, there is no evidence of any heart damage whatsoever. Just to be sure, they repeat the test, and the results are the same.

It rarely turns out this well,” the doctor tells them, as Glenn is discharged from hospital. “Your heart is so healthy that you never need to see a cardiologist again.

Glenn and Cheryl testify to God’s goodness – not just to the doctor, but to everyone since who is willing to listen to them for long enough. There has not been any magic formula, they insist, but simply a faith in Jesus, which has united them in standing strong on God’s promises from His Word:

Glenn has not died but he is alive and proclaiming what the LORD has done.
God is satisfying him with long life.
God is guarding his heart.


Silence has descended in the barn, as Glenn and Cheryl have been telling their story. The thirty of us who have gathered are in awe of what we have been hearing of God’s healing power.

In Isaiah 65:24, they remind us that God tells His people, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” This has been their experience, they suggest. God has consistently answered them before they called out to Him, and heard them even while they were still speaking. If God has done this for them, how much more will He do the same for others?

Before they return to Canada, they invite anyone forward who would like prayer for healing, for themselves or for loved ones. “Will you call on Him?” they ask us. “Will you be expectant that He will answer? Will you trust Him to hear you, even while you are still speaking?

It is a challenge we all need to hear.

[Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash]


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