Five years to live

Father David Epps's picture

Sometimes, with all the bad reports and unfortunate news we receive, it is vital and encouraging to hear some good news.

Five years ago, Judy Massey, the wife of Father Paul Massey, who serves on our pastoral staff, contracted a serious and life-threatening illness. Judy, who at that time had recently received a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and had been on several foreign mission trips, saw her life seemingly coming to a frightening conclusion.

An unknown virus attacked her heart and damaged it to the point that she had only somewhere around 5 percent of normal heart function.

Her doctors were not hopeful, stating that “if she doesn’t require a heart transplant, as a minimum she will be a virtual invalid with a maximum life expectancy of five years.” Paul and Judy were further told, “The heart does not repair this type of damage, so the best you can hope for is life as an invalid.”

During those difficult times, it seemed that all the world was dark. Paul, who is totally devoted to his wife, was distraught. Judy had been an active tennis player and golfer and to see that all exchanged for a life as a bed-ridden person was disturbing and depressing.

But, as Paul would later say, “Then God’s people and God’s Church began to pray!” As people from her church, community, and from across the country began to earnestly pray, Judy began to rally. Then began a slow but steady improvement which continues even to the present time.

This past week Judy Massey had her annual echocardiogram which measures heart function. Last year at this time her heart function had improved from less than 5 percent of normal to around 60 percent of normal.

This year’s test, conducted just a few days ago, measured continued improvement to around 75 percent of normal.

Some would call this coincidence. Others would declare that a genuine miracle has occurred.

Judy Massey not only is alive, but she is living abundantly. Currently, she does just about anything she wants to do, including regularly beating her husband at golf.

This coming weekend she will lead the Southeast Province Clergy Wives Retreat in the north Georgia mountains. And, in October and November of this year, with the blessing of her bishop, John Holloway, she will participate in a three-week mission to the nation of Mongolia ... exactly five years from her original illness and “five years to live” prognosis.

Today, in addition to his duties at our church, Father Paul serves as the founding pastor at Fayetteville’s Church of the Holy Cross, where Judy ministers, teaches, helps to pray for people in need, and, once in a while, even preaches.

She has led outreach efforts into the Fayette community and, with her husband, visits the sick in the hospitals and the homes of those in need. She is a commissioned minister of missions and evangelism in our denomination and serves on a provincial missions commission. She is as busy as she has ever been. And that doesn’t include her duties as a doting grandmother.

For those of us who know her and remember how desperately ill she was five years ago, she is a reminder that God is still faithful, still accessible, and still doing tremendous works among His people.

“Is anything too difficult for the Lord?” The answer to the question is, “No.”

login to post comments | Father David Epps's blog