As the pastor of the Federated Church of Bondurant in Iowa, Jeff Sanderson is no stranger to the power of prayer, the existence of miracles and the greatness of God. But that knowledge recently grew even stronger and more personal after God blessed him with an incredible miracle. And the story of Jeff’s divine healing is nothing short of incredible!
The trouble started when Jeff experienced a sharp pain on the right side of his lower back. The pain persisted, and Jeff’s doctor noticed his enlarged prostate and elevated PSA levels — a protein produced by the prostate gland. He gave him some medicine intended to help shrink the prostate and suggested Jeff follow up with a urologist.
The urologist found nothing suspicious and explained that an enlarged prostate was fairly common for a man in his early fifties. But when the pain grew unbearable, a CT scan suggested that Jeff needed to be biopsied for potential prostate cancer.
And yet, Jeff tells God Updates that as soon as he got this terrifying news, the pain — which had become overwhelming — immediately disappeared. Jeff didn’t know it yet, but this was just the first touch from God’s healing hand!
But First, More Bad News
A week after the biopsy, Jeff got a call from the urologist. And the words that followed were terrifying, even for a man of great faith:
“I have some bad news. You have prostate cancer and it’s the most aggressive form.”
Jeff’s doctor referred him to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for more evaluation and testing. There, they injected body with a radioactive dye. The doctors explained that this would allow them to scan for cancer. With the radioactive dye, the parts of Jeff’s body affected by cancer would show up as a fluorescent green.
Before showing the scans to Jeff, his wife, and two sons, the doctors spent some time alone in the room with Jeff, giving him a total physical of his body. They repeatedly asked him, “Does this hurt?” Each time, Jeff replied no.
Jeff’s family returned to the room, and the doctors did their best to delicately break the news. But nothing could have prepared Jeff and his family for what the scan showed.
When the doctors turned the computer screen towards the family, Jeff’s name and birthdate were at the top of the screen. Beneath it was the outline of Jeff’s body.
“My body was lit up like a Christmas tree. I was absolutely filled with cancer, from my knees to the top of my shoulder blades,” Jeff told God Updates.
The dye revealed tumors in Jeff’s abdomen and urethra, the bones in his femurs, hip bones, tailbone, his ribs, vertebra and collar bones. . . cancer covered all of them. Further tests estimated Jeff had cancer in over 100 lymph nodes. Doctors officially diagnosed him with Stage 4 Cancer on June 3, 2015.
An Unusual Request For God
Doctors didn’t give Jeff any guesses on life expectancy, but a quick Google search suggested he had 12 to 14 months. . . at best.
“My family and I were devastated, but not without faith and hope,” Jeff tells God Updates.
Jeff’s two older sons had joined him and his wife, Kathy, on the trip to Minnesota. But the couple also had two younger children — Josh (10) and Lydia (8).
Jeff didn’t want to worry them, so he shared only the basics of his condition. Then, because he didn’t want to scare his family, he turned to God with a somewhat unusual request:
“For some reason, I didn’t ask Him to heal me at the time. I simply asked Him, ‘Lord, if I’m not going to die right away, could you please keep me looking normal during my chemo treatment so my kids don’t have to worry?'”
People Intercede On Pastor’s Behalf
As Senior Pastor at his church, Jeff next shared the disheartening news with his congregation. And his church family did what church family does best — they prayed!
Upon the startling announcement of his Stage 4 cancer diagnosis, the congregation immediately gathered around their beloved Pastor and prayed. They left the four walls of the church that day, and they kept praying. Word traveled, and soon other churches and members of the Bondurant community were praying for Jeff. He says he even received multiple calls from complete strangers — Christians who were calling to let him know they were praying for divine healing.
And so, the cancer treatments began. Doctors and nurses gave Jeff a list of things to expect. They said, “You will lose your hair and your skin will turn pale. You’ll start retaining fluid in your face and ankles. Your red and white blood cell count drop dramatically, so you’ll often be fatigued. You’ll lose muscle and body tone. Your immune system will deteriorate, so don’t be surprised if you get sick a lot.”
Lastly, they warned Jeff that the particular type of cancer he had was a complex and aggressive form that was self-sustaining. This meant that, while the chemo would help slow the advance of cancer, it would not be able to cure him.
RELATED: RELATED: Baby’s Brain Tumor Baffled Doctors After God Sent A Miracle
Basically, they were telling Jeff he was in for one rough ride, with no hope of being cured. But with God, nothing is impossible!
Seeing MIracles While Waiting For Divine Healing
Despite the long list of negative side effects Jeff received from medical staff, God was faithful in answering Jeff’s special prayer for his chemo treatments. The only place Jeff lost any hair was in places that remain covered in day-to-day life. He never lost any hair on his head.
On the contrary, Jeff says he needed three haircuts during the 18-week treatment, and the hair on his arms and legs actually grew longer!
His skin never lost its tan, nor did he experience any swelling. His blood cell count — both red and white — never dipped below normal. The red count even ran on the high side! He never got sick, nor fatigued. He and his wife spent every day waking up at 5 a.m. to walk three miles, and Jeff stayed active at the gym. Through it all, he never lost any muscle tone.
The typical telltale signs of chemo were so absent that the nurses regularly assumed Jeff was just starting treatment. When he’d correct them, they were always curious as to how he was faring so well. To which Jeff always told them it was by the power of God!
But Jeff’s healthy outward appearance didn’t change the fact that cancer riddled his insides. And the tumors were growing to the point that Jeff could physically feel them.
A Sign From Above Offers Hope
A week before Jeff and Kathy returned to the Mayo Clinic for a new round of body scans, Jeff woke Kathy up at 4 in the morning. Jeff could feel the tumor in his abdomen, and it had grown so large that it was starting to expand under his rib cage. He shared the news with Kathy, and the two held each other as they cried together.
The two returned to the Mayo Clinic and Jeff continued to feel the tumors growing. He could trace the outlines with his hands.
Before heading into the next round of scans, Jeff dropped to his knees on the bathroom floor and asked God to have mercy on him. Still, he felt the physical presence of the tumors as the medical team ran the tests.
The results wouldn’t be ready for them to review until later in the afternoon, so Jeff and Kathy decided to grab lunch at a nearby restaurant. They walked hand in hand with heavy hearts, when something on the ground, near the curb, caught Jeff’s eye. It was a rubber bracelet with the message: FAITH Rx.
“In that very moment, we knew that God was reminding us to put our faith in Him. And as I put the bracelet on my wrist, I knew that however things went, the Lord would make a way for my family and I to get through the storm,” Jeff shared with God Updates.
The Miracle Of Divine Healing
Jeff and Kathy both dreaded the inevitable news as it came time to review his scans. They felt certain Jeff’s cancer must be worse.
They met first with the doctor’s proctor. Jeff and his wife could not see the computer screen displaying Jeff’s scan from where they sat. So, when the proctor said, “They look pretty good,” Jeff assumed he meant this relatively speaking in regards to his Stage 4 condition.
But then the proctor went on, saying:
“Actually, they look really good. To be honest, the scans look as good as they possibly could.”
It was then that Jeff stood up to see the computer screen with his results. Like before, the top had his name and birthdate. But the picture beneath was completely different than before. In the original scan, Jeff’s body had lit up like a Christmas tree. But in this scan, there wasn’t so much as a speck of fluorescent green.
“Where’s my cancer?” Jeff asked.
The proctor replied, “You don’t have any!”
Jeff fell to his knees before God. As tears of joy and amazement streamed down his face, he praised the Great Physician who had healed him. Excitedly, he told the proctor all about the Lord of miracles and the power of prayer. The proctor confirmed that all of Jeff’s vitals — his kidney functions and blood worked — checked out perfectly. And there was no earthly explanation for it!
An Undeniable Miracle
The proctor left the room to go share the scans with the doctor. And for the first time, Jeff thought to check for the tumors he’d been able to feel in his body just that morning before the scans.
He’d actually been able to trace the outline of the one in his abdomen, which had grown so much in size that it was putting pressure on his rib cage. Yet, checking now, it was completely gone, as was the pressure under his rib cage!
The scans were so good that the proctor came back explaining there was no need for the doctor to see him. Jeff had literally walked in with Stage 4 cancer, and through God’s divine healing, walked out the same day cancer free!
An elated Jeff and Kathy left the Mayo Clinic. Their next stop was at the John Stoddard Cancer Center in Des Moines. Part of this checkup included checking Jeff’s weight, where he received indisputable proof of the miracle that had transpired. Jeff came in a full 12-pounds lighter only two days after doctors weighed him at the Mayo Clinic. He’s remained the same “lighter” weight ever since. In fact, his smaller waist finally forced him into buying new jeans.
“The Lord had removed 12 pounds of cancer from my body!” Jeff explained to God Updates.
Jeff’s Story Is Inspiring Others
Nearly a year after his miraculous healing, Jeff continues to be in great health. All of his routine blood work checks remain excellent, as do his PSA levels. His story is so incredible that folks have started giving him superhero apparel to wear. Jeff says he loves to tell them that the only true superhero is JESUS!
Jeff’s story is truly incredible. He saw the evidence proving cancer covered his body so completely it lit his scan up like a Christmas tree. He felt the tumors as they continued to overtake him, and he saw the outline of the growing tumor in his abdomen. They should have been present the next time he was scanned. But this is precisely why we are called to walk by faith and not by sight!
As Jeff has spent time reflecting over his cancer journey and the blessing of divine healing, he tells us that a beautiful picture has formed in his mind of the miracle that waits for all of those who believe:
“One day we will stand before the Lord and He will scan our lives. While we are fully aware of the cancer of sin within us, the Lord will choose, by His grace and forgiveness, to declare all who put their faith and trust in Him to be CANCER FREE! Now that will be the greatest miracle of all!”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23