Unwavering Faith in the face of HIV
By Rod Thomas
The 700 Club
CBN.com -“I met Oliver just walking down the street one day. And it's like I knew him but I didn't really know him”. Liz Charity was a single woman who was not looking for a relationship; but then she met Oliver. It wasn’t long before they were happily married. But, three years later, his health started to fail. “I begin to see symptoms of this man falling off, losing weight,” Liz recalls. “He was getting very sick, and that's when God told me to start praying for him.”
Oliver refused to go to a doctor. Eventually, Liz also started having health issues. “I would break out in rashes and I was feeling sickly. That's when I went in for a physical.” Liz was not prepared for what she would hear next -- she and her husband had aids. She contracted the virus from him, and they had less than a year to live. “I was angry with God, ‘God, why did You allow this to happen? Why did You allow this to happen?’”
Her son Antoine remembers when his mom told him. “I was hurt. I was scared and in denial. I said, ‘No, not my mother. She didn't sleep around. She didn't party, She didn't drink. She didn't smoke.’ I wondered, ‘Why? Why my mother, God?’"
Her husband eventually died from a brain infection. As the months passed, the disease ravaged Liz’s immune system and her body. Dr. David Wheeler remembers meeting her for the first time. “She had pretty advanced disease and had lost a lot of weight and some evidence of a suppressed immune system with, I think I recall maybe yeast infection in her mouth, and really quite debilitated.”
She and her two sons prayed for a miracle. “I would just ask God, ‘Let Your will be done in my mom's life. Heal her body. Add years to her life,’” Antoine recalls.
Then she learned she had a brain infection; the same thing that killed her husband. “During that time, I really went into prayer, and I said, ‘Lord, I know You said that You would heal me. So I am going to have to totally trust You to heal me.’”
Soon the infection cleared up. However, she still had to take medication to build her immune system. But the medicine had severe side effects. “That medicine I was taking, it had me to break out in hives. I was swollen, and I was sick. I could hardly get myself out of the bed,” she remembers. Dr. Wheeler gave Liz a new anti-retroviral therapy to fight the virus and rebuild her immune system. She believes the treatment was an answer to prayer. “My immune system began to heal. It was a continual rapid healing. I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me and He said, ‘I have sustained you until this medicine was made.’”
Doctors were amazed that even after she was given one year to live, Liz survived two more years. Now she is healthy again. Dr Wheeler was pleased with her recovery. “She was able to recover the immune system, gain the weight back, her body then fought off these annoying opportunistic conditions, and all the time her doctors could check the blood sample and see that the virus was still undetectable.”
Today the virus is still undetectable. Liz is down from taking a dozen pills a day to only one. Through the entire ordeal, Liz believed that God would make a way for her to be healed. “Even at that time when they were saying, ‘Do you realize what you have?’ That’s when I told them, “I know my God can heal me."
Dr. Wheeler has given Liz a good prognosis, if she follows his plan. “I’ve told people they need three things. They need to take their medicines. They need someone to stick with them for six to twelve months; a family member, spouse, friend, and they have to have that will to live. For a number of people it's their spiritual life and their spiritual basis that supports them through that,” he said.
Antoine is glad to have his mother back and healthy again. “I know God still answer prayers because my mom's a living miracle. She had an opportunity to see me get married. She had the opportunity to see me have two grandchildren that she loves to death. She just had opportunity just to be here, and I couldn't imagine her not being here at this time in my life.”
For Liz, life has taken on a new meaning. “I start enjoying the little things in life like my grandchildren and my sons and my daughters-in-law. I love taking those long walks where God and I can commune and talk,” she said. “It's so wonderful to be able to know that God loves me that much that He was able to say, ‘Liz, in spite of death, you could actually speak to it and say 'move' and that you continue to walk in the fullness of life because of the blood of Jesus.’"
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