Sometime about a year ago the Lord led me to spend some time praying with and for specific people on a Sunday morning at Stone's Throw Church. I announced to the congregation that I would be standing in the back throughout our worship time and that I would be available to pray for those who were sick or in need. This is not something that I do every Sunday. I believe that God had a special appointment for me that day. I was to meet Joseph Feeley.
I had heard about Joseph from his friends and from the Christian community in Delaware. He was 22 year's old and battling for his life against an aggressive form of cancer. Joseph was an unbelievable athlete. He excelled in baseball, cross country, golf and pretty much whatever else he tried. He was a winner. He was well-liked by his community and friends and family. I had never met Joseph. I had only seen pictures of him at his healthiest. But this Sunday morning, Joseph and I had a divine appointment.
As I was standing there in the back of the sanctuary, Joseph made his way to me and asked if I could pray for him. He had lost his hair due to his treatment. I did not recognize him and so I asked, "How can I pray for you today brother?" He said, "I have cancer." Realizing that I was meeting a special young man I asked, "Are you Joseph Feeley?" He smiled, "Yes." I put my hands on him and he put his hands on my shoulders and we began to pray. This was a divine appointment and I'd like to tell you why.
Joseph began to attend Stone's Throw when he was able to. Joseph and I would talk with each other following some of the services. I would pray for him. He would share some of his struggles and victories with me. I tried to soak in every minute. We asked God for victory and for healing--no we begged God. Eventually, we held a benefit concert with the Stone's Throw Band to try and help the Feeley family in any way that we could. That night, was the single greatest musical/worshipful experience I have ever had. We fought alongside of Joseph. We prayed that he would win.
Now, tonight, I have been asked by his family to deliver the good news of Jesus Christ to his friends and family and the community. I have been asked because of the pastoral relationship that Joseph and I established since that divine appointment. There were many Sunday's when Joseph was a source of great encouragement to me as I watched him physically battle while I preached Jesus. My relationship with Joseph was short but divine. Because Joseph stepped out in faithfulness to have a pastor that he hardly knew to pray for him, I will be preaching Jesus as we look back on the testimony of Jesus Christ through the life of Joseph tonight.
I want to thank Joseph for the way in which he exemplified Jesus. I want to thank him for the way in which he fought this earthly battle. I want to thank Joseph for allowing me to pray with him and for him and for letting me into his battle. If it were not for Joseph's faithfulness, I may not be preaching Jesus tonight as we look back at Joseph's life.
I would rather not be preaching Jesus under these circumstances. I would rather be holding a celebration concert with God's people and with Joseph physically in attendance. I would rather of heard of miraculous healing and restoration. I would like to be able to thank Joseph in person. One of the last things I said to Joseph was that I would see him again, "One way or the other, I will see you again brother." I will have to wait to thank him and when I do, it will be in person. I look forward to the day when I and all those who have come to faith in Christ because of his testimony will be able to thank him. That Sunday was a divine appointment. For many, their divine appointment is tonight.