Dennis Clark and Becky Grosenbach
Heavy spring rains ruined water lines in my daughter’s yard, forcing her to hire a crew to re-bury the water pipes and pour a concrete trench where a pipe crossed a creek. I stood nearby, watching the construction, not knowing I had a close connection to one of the men on the job.
During a lull in the work, I struck up a conversation with a cement truck driver as he cleaned his equipment. We talked about hard work, and about how, when a person hits 55 or 60 years of age, the joints begin to ache.
“My joints already give me trouble and I’m only 50,” he said. “It’s probably because I had cancer 10 years ago and had a lot of chemotherapy. But God healed me.”
“How so?” I asked him.
He said he’d been diagnosed with lymphoma and learned he had a tumor the size of a football. Doctors told him if something wasn’t done immediately he had only one to two weeks to live. He received a week of intensive chemotherapy and was sent home to rest. If he lived out the month, he was to return for another treatment. This went on for five months.
Finally, doctors told him his only real hope of recovery was a bone marrow transplant. He was told to rest for two weeks, and then return to the hospital for another CAT scan before surgery.
During those two weeks of rest he became very concerned about dying. He told me he was not much of a Christian at the time, but one day he stood up and lifted his hands toward heaven pleading with God not to let him die. He could not explain what happened but he knew he felt peace.
A few days later he headed to the hospital for the CAT scan. After the scan the doctor greeted him saying, “I have good news and bad news: There is no sign of the tumor, but this kind always comes back. No need for surgery, just come back for scans every three months until the tumor shows up.” This man kept going back for check-ups every few months; the doctors never found a tumor. After a few years, he decided not to return for any more scans.
“That was 10 years ago,” he said, “and other than getting older, I feel fine. I tell my story every chance I get. I figure that is the least I can do after what God has done for me. If God loved me that much when I was so far from Him, I want everyone to know His love.”
Then he asked me if I was a Christian and if I went to church. I told him that I was a believer and told him the name of the church my wife and I attend. Though he was from a neighboring town he knew about the church. “In fact,” he said, “I know of a guy who attends that church, or at least used to years back.”
I inquired who it was, thinking we might know someone in common.
“His name is Dennis and he is a pharmacist, but I can’t remember his last name.”
I realized he had to be talking about me! I started to get chills and wondered where this conversation was headed. Not wanting to reveal my secret too quickly, I asked him, “How did you know this Dennis guy?”
“Well,” he responded, “I don’t really know him personally, but he mentored the guy who mentored me in the Lord.”
I suddenly realized who he was. He was the man my friend Dennis Petersen and I had prayed for years earlier.
“Is your name Harold?” I asked him.
Astonished, he asked, “How did you know?”
I stuck out my hand to shake his and said, “I’m Dennis Clark.”
About 10 years ago, my friend Dennis Petersen mentored a man named Harold who had just found out he had cancer. Dennis and I had often prayed for him when he was going through his treatments. And now this man stood in my daughter’s front yard.
To my surprise, Harold did not shake my hand. He picked me up in a bear hug, swung me in a circle, and set me back down as we both wiped tears from our cheeks.
God used a friendly conversation with a hard-working truck driver to remind me of the power of investing my life in “faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2, NASB). I mentored Dennis, Dennis mentored Harold, and now Harold pours out his story of God’s love to anyone who will listen.