Earl Wheatley, Subject of Oil of Joy, Passes Away
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me … To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Isaiah 61:1, 3 (NKJV)
In 2013 Warner Press published the Care & Share™ booklet, Oil of Joy, How to Support Those Battling Cancer, written by Donna Wheatley. Donna’s husband, Earl Wheatley, pastor of NorthPark Church in Meridian, Mississippi, had been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and was given six months to live.
Last Maundy Thursday, April 2, 2015, Earl Wheatley received his final healing, when he transitioned to heaven. He lived with pancreatic cancer for three years—an amazing miracle—now he is at home with the Lord he served faithfully for over 35 years.
In the last section of Donna’s book, she has a reflection on how to strengthen our faith through trying times.
God IS good. I don’t have to understand everything He does to know that fundamental fact. I rest in it all night long.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders
obtained a good report. Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)
I know God sees the bigger picture—one of consequences and a future I know nothing about. The question is, Will I trust His decision to be right, regardless of how it affects my here and now?
As time has passed, I have given a great deal of thought to what happened to me because of that scan. It has been instructive. I do not believe I misheard God. He did, indeed, tell me to ask Him for the tumors to be gone. But He did not tell me to ask for them to be gone by the next scan, or by any particular time at all, for that matter.
I asked for the deadline, not He. I began to suppose and to paint a wonderful picture of what might be if God got with MY schedule. It was logical. It was wonderful. It just wasn’t what He had told me to ask.
I failed to ask God for His opinion of my timeline. I failed to submit it to Him for approval. I just asked, utterly convinced that my idea was so good He was sure to go along with it and incorporate it into His plan. And along the way, as I prayed with expectation, I lost sight of what was God’s idea and what was my own. In other words, I incorporated His idea into my plan. Then, when He did not deliver on what I wanted, I was devastated. And Satan had a field day, casting doubt and defeat on my faith. Satan knows that doubt and uncertainty are his greatest weapons against believers. So, what can we do to strengthen our faith in times of delay?
- Know the One in whom we believe. Everything He does or ever will do is absolutely good, best, perfect, and fair!
- Cultivate a grateful heart. It turns our focus off ourselves and onto God.
- Remember His faithfulness in the past.
- Walk very closely to Him every day.
- Cooperate with Him!
- Remember, we’re not the only one with problems.
All of these things will lead to trust. I have known people who have lived an entire lifetime and have never learned to trust enough in God to experience peace in time of difficulty. I don’t want that in my life even for a little while.
We ache with the Wheatley family as they mourn the loss of their father and husband. At the same time, we rejoice knowing Reverend Earl Wheatley has received his ultimate healing and is with his Heavenly Father.