Two things that I routinely pray for are wisdom and guidance. I think we all would like some assurance that the decisions we make are in keeping with God’s will. Bob and Ellen Moseley recently faced a major decision and they found themselves asking the Lord for both wisdom and guidance. Their story begins five years ago when Bob contracted osteomyelitis, which is an infection of the bone. His right leg became infected as the result of a skin cancer treatment. Since that time, he’s had six surgeries to try to heal this radiation wound and get rid of the infection.
He’s had the best care available from the skilled doctors at UVA Health Medical Center. In addition to the six surgeries, they’ve done a number of procedures to eradicate the infection. They de-breeded Bob’s leg and placed a wound vacuum on several times. He’s had several rounds of high-dose intravenous antibiotics and he’s had several skin grafts. Despite all of these efforts the infection remained.
As you can imagine, the issue with his leg has dominated Bob’s and Ellen’s lives over these past few years and it all came to a head several weeks ago. The doctors informed him that they were at the end of what they could do. The doctors suggested one final procedure called a “Wound Flap” where they would take muscle from behind the leg to cover the wound on the front of the leg and they would give him a new, revolutionary type of antibiotics. There was no guarantee the procedure would work and if it didn’t Bob would need to have his leg amputated below the knee. Bob faced a major decision.
On the one hand, why not try the procedure and make every effort to save the leg? On the other hand, if the procedure didn’t work the infection would potentially be given more time to spread further up the leg and into the rest of his body. Bob and Ellen have been through so much already, so there was a case to be made to not do the surgery and just go ahead and remove the leg and move forward with life.
As you can imagine this was no easy, black or white decision and time was of the essence. After gathering all of this information the first thing Bob did was pray. Not only did Bob pray, he asked others to pray. He called me on a Saturday morning and explained the situation and said he really needed a decision by Monday. I could hear the concern and the weight of the decision in Bob’s voice. He said, “This is no easy decision, after all, I’m kind of attached to my leg!” So we prayed for the Lord to give Bob clarity of thought, wisdom, and discernment.
On Monday I reached out to Bob to see how the Lord answered his prayer. Bob said, “It occurred to me over the weekend that the Lord wasn’t going to give me a black or white answer, but it also occurred to me that He has already given me the tools I needed to make this decision. I realized that God has worked through the gifts and talents of doctors at UVA and they’ve guided me every step of the way. So I am led to trust them and believe God is working through them. I told my surgeon that I’d like to go ahead and try the Wound Flap procedure so that I can do everything I can to save my leg, but I also told him if he was in the middle of the operation and he knew it wouldn’t work to go ahead and take my leg.” When Bob told me this it was one of those moments in my life when I had to thank the Lord for allowing me to be a pastor. I was so impressed and inspired by Bob’s decision. This was truly a step of faith.
Take a moment and imagine yourself in Bob’s position. Imagine that you are getting ready for the operation and they are about to administer the anesthesia. Before you go to sleep, wouldn’t you think to yourself, “Will I wake up with my leg or not?” That’s what I would have thought, but amazingly, that’s not what Bob thought. Right before the operation, Bob reports that he was “Comfortable with moving forward with whatever the outcome was going to be. I had confidence in my savior.” Bob’s anxiety that he felt that Saturday was gone and he was at peace. Ellen and Bob’s brother Bruce said they saw the change in Bob over the weekend and thought this was nothing short of a miracle. That’s faith!
Let’s notice that the Lord didn’t give Bob a direct answer, but he did lead him to take a step of faith and trust the outcome. Only time will tell if the surgery worked long term, but Bob’s doctors give him a 70% chance of success at this point. In the meantime, Bob will continue to place his faith in the Lord and trust God for the outcome.
Bob wanted me to relay that this story is not about him. He said, “Make sure people know it’s about what the Lord has done.” He also said, “I would like to let folks know that one thing I’ve learned from our Prayer and Listening class on Wednesday nights is the importance of daily conversational prayer with the Lord. It’s important to pray all the time, not just when we need something. The gift of a relationship with our savior is a gift we all have. He surrounds us and all we have to do is recognize God is always with us.” Amen!
Bob and Ellen want to thank everyone at Bethel who has prayed for them and helped them through this difficult time in their lives. As they were telling me how many folks have sent them cards and made them meals, I am reminded that not only is Christ with us but we are surrounded by a great “cloud of witnesses.”
Let’s continue to pray for Bob’s healing and let’s also remember that the next time you face a decision, pray and ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment. The Lord may give you a direct answer, or the Lord may lead you to do as Bob did, and take a step of faith, either way, you’re in the hands of our loving savior. May God bless Bob and Ellen Moseley and may God bless Bethel Baptist Church. Amen.