CBN.com - In 1997 Sid Renfro’s husband, Tom, a well-respected physician in Norton, Va., was diagnosed with the rarest form of lymphoma. Already in the fourth and final stage, doctors gave Sid no hope that her husband would live.
SID RENFRO: We had gone there with hopes that they [the doctors] could do something, but he [the physician] told us there was no radiation, no chemotherapy, that they would not try anything. He said, 'We will not touch you. Just go home.'
Things quickly went from bad to worse.
SID: The physician told us that day that if it attacked a major organ, he would last only three months. The very next day his kidneys were attacked.
DR. STEVEN WOODLEY (Tom's oncologist): For all practical purposes, once you have the extensive stage of this disease, the odds are approaching zero that you’ll be disease free.
DR. JACK COX: (Tom's friend and physician): I saw Dr. Renfro contract a debilitating disease that progressively consumed his life and his health to the point that I expected him truly to die.
Home video taken of Tom speaking weekly to his church in Norton, Va., between July 15 and November 23, 1997, shows Tom's rapid deterioration as the lymphoma ravages his body. In July, blood clots target his lungs. In August, the blood clots move to the heart. In September, tumors start to form. By September 9, you can see the tumors develop in his lymph nodes around his throat and neck. Just 21 days later, Tom is too weak to stand. And by November 9, Tom is hooked up to an oxygen tank to help him breath. All of this tragedy in about four and a half months.
SID: His condition worsened day by day. Mentally I was fighting because I was so physically exhausted. He began to spit up blood. When this started happening, it was like the clock was ticking. His physicians did not think he would live.
TOM RENFRO (to his congregation on November 16, 1997): He’s [Satan has] been attacking my body now for almost a year. For over a year, he’s [Satan has] been attacking my body.
TOM (to his congregation on November 23, 1997, through labored breathing): Today is the day that you need to take time to thank God for the blessings in your life. When you get like me, there is not going to be time.
But perhaps the most heart-wrenching part of his ordeal were the grotesque tumors that grew all over his body.
SID: You could almost watch the tumors grow. They went from marble-size, to golf ball-size, to finally apple size on his neck. He was totally at everyone’s mercy. He could do nothing for himself, nothing.
Doctor’s gave Tom a zero chance of living the next few weeks. Sid held fast to the one source that gave her strength and pulled her through each day: her faith in Jesus Christ. And although she wanted God to heal Tom, it was apparent that God was about to walk her through the loss of a loved one. She knew it was the end, but had one nagging question.
SID: 'God, where are you? Where are you? Do you see us?' And you know He does, but when it goes on day after day and week and month, you think God, where are you?
There is another side of Tom Renfro’s seemingly inevitable story of death. And this side included a small Virginia congregation that would not give up.
SID: They prayed 40 days and 40 nights, took two days off for a weekend, and went back into prayer for 40 days. I would call and I would say, 'He’s struggling, he’s sick, his fever is high, his kidney’s have failed,' and they would begin to pray with me and stand with me in faith.
Sid witnessed the most powerful intercession she’d ever seen.
SID: He had several thousand patients and they were all praying; he was well known in our community. We contacted religious groups, such as The 700 Club [to pray for us]. We knew that people around the world were praying for us and that was strength to us when our own strength was waning.
In a last ditch effort to give Tom a few more weeks, chemotherapy was administered. It was meant only to prolong Tom’s life through Christmas. But a miracle unfolded. The tumors melted away. Gone. There was no more cancer!
DR. WOODLEY: Occasionally, you see things that you don't have a good explanation for. This first round of chemotherapy, we were seeing responses in hours, where these lymph nodes were shrinking. I have never seen a response like this before. It was a rather dramatic experience.
DR. COX: I felt that Tom was miraculously cured and that through his faith God worked in his life to preserve his life for his good.
After two weeks Tom stood in front of the congregation that prayed him home.
TOM: I want you to understand that this is a true miracle. This is what you have been praying for. And I can't get it across; I don't have the words to express to you what is in my heart and what God has done for me. You are looking at a true miracle of God!
A few months later Tom headed to Israel to be baptized in the Jordan River. That day, with arms raised in victory, Tom exclaimed through tears of joy, "Glory to God! Glory to God!"
Today, Tom is once again a healthy physician.
TOM: The day God healed me, the reaction of the people around me of my wife and family and friends was exuberant joy. They were so excited. From the physicians down to the guy sweeping the floor, they all rejoiced over the miracle that God had done.
No one knows that better than the people who stormed the very throne of God on Tom’s behalf.
SID AND TOM'S FRIEND ROBBIE: People would say, 'God woke me up at 2 a.m. and told me to pray for Dr. Renfro. And I prayed for an hour and went back to sleep.' And someone else would say, 'I know why you went to sleep. He woke me up at 3 a.m. and told me to pray for Tom Renfro.'
SID AND TOM'S SISTER: It totally changed my life. I’m a different person. I’m a different Christian. I am just totally different. My whole life is different.
SID AND TOM'S FRIEND: We just thank the Lord today that He’s done this miraculous thing in our midst, because we believe and we are His people and we love Him.
SID AND TOM'S FRIEND: When my own children were diagnosed with cancer, both my daughters, I had the reassurance to know that they were going to be comforted, that God would heal them, because I saw what He did for Tom.
TOM: One of the only things that make it to heaven before you do is your words to ring in the very ears of God in the throne room of heaven. God hears our prayers. The power of prayer is what activates God. It’s what He’s waiting to hear, for us to cry out to Him, to cry out not only for our needs, but to cry out in worship and thanksgiving, to tell God that He is God and that we trust and love Him.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.