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When Will All This End?

My mum tried to abort me. She had three sons and when she got pregnant again, she was hoping for a daughter. So she tried, but God had a purpose for me and preserved me.

I grew up poor and was often bullied. I started getting involved in gang fights. Looking back, I know God protected me through all this.

I came to know the Lord as a teenager in 1977 at the Eagles Communication ‘Something Beautiful’ Concert at the Shangri-La Singapore. Like most people, my life until then revolved around studies, followed by career choices. When I got married, I worked even harder for my family. I also served God in church. Life was good; I was doing well and traveling a lot, due to regional work.

However, all that travel meant I missed my son Joel’s growing-up years. During those days there were no smartphones, so WhatsApp and video calls didn’t exist. I knew that, for the family’s sake, God wanted me in a “local” job. I left my company of 10 years for a local position. However, after six months I was let go because I did not agree with some of the company's business ethics and directions.

It was a tough time. I couldn’t find Local employment. Things got worse when my second son Josiah was born, and my wife, Julie, was let go during her first month of maternity leave. I did many odd jobs to bring in whatever income I could.

As if that was not enough, Josiah was born with many medical challenges.

During Julie’s pregnancy, it was detected that Josiah had a golf-ball-sized tumour in his heart and the ultrasound showed the possibility of Down syndrome. Doctor advised a more determinate amniotic test, but we decided against it as abortion was out of the question for us.

Josiah was born a blue baby, meaning oxygen supply stopped for a while during birth. The doctor told us that Josiah might have brain damage, and he would not be normal physically and mentally.

On top of that, he had a mitral flap prolapse in his heart and a cleft palate. He had ear infections and his ear drum holes needed to be covered. He has undergone many operations since then. His jaw and facial features were small, causing dental and some breathing issues as well as pronunciation difficulties, despite therapy. Motor skills and developmental delays meant that he only walked and spoke much later. It was not easy for Julie to be the caregiver as she sought to meet all these different needs daily.

Should I abandon God? Or wait for Him? As my name is David, I wanted to be like my biblical namesake who was a man after God's own heart in the Bible, come what may. It was not easy as we needed to constantly trust and believe.

I remember one major operation that Josiah had to undergo when he was six months old. Prior to that, we noticed he bruised easily and was told it might be leukemic. Thank God for His intervention - the doctor discovered he had a low blood platelet count. His count was 1,000 to 2,000, while normal people have 150,000. Josiah could have bled to death had he gone ahead with the operation.

The doctor told us Josiah needed to go through IVIG procedure every two-three months. It was an expensive procedure to replace his blood platelets. His body destroyed them, recognizing them as foreign bodies, hence after his second IVIG, we were told he also needed an operation on his ear. We told God we could not afford any more IVIG. Thanks to God, his blood platelets have been good since.

The darkest part of our journey started in October 2015. A routine medical check, assisted by an MRI scan, informed us that Josiah had a brain tumor sitting on his optic nerve at the pituitary gland. The tumor affected most of his hormone functions and caused his right field of vision to be slightly impaired. Our world collapsed on receiving this news.

Josiah's scans

Two weeks later, another tumor was found in the area around his left pelvis, with a size of 8cm x 7cm. When the surgeon informed us that the tumor might be a stage 4 lymphoma cancer, we broke down. What could be worse?

The doctor wanted Josiah to go for a full body PET scan. The scan revealed unexpected lumps on some parts of his body.

I asked God when the flood of devastating updates would stop. I told Him I knew this is not from Him, and to show me clearly what I should do. I wanted to be a responsible father – a father who only desired the best for his son.

As God is Josiah's Heavenly Father, I knew He also wanted the best for Josiah. Josiah stayed in hospital for almost a month and we decided to discharge Josiah at the end of November 2015 to go for a two-week vacation in Japan. This would allow us quality time together and to seek HIM. The doctors allowed this but wanted us to return in early January 2016 for another MRI scan. If the brain tumor was still there, Josiah would have to go for the biopsy.

Because of the challenges and sparing good news from the doctors, our family came together to pray for wisdom and healing for Josiah. Many other people also prayed for him. I would like to focus on two incidents that I believe showed Josiah had received healing.

During a church service in early December 2015, there was an altar call for healing and so we brought Josiah down. One young girl prayed for Josiah, and he felt a hot feeling from the head through the body. I knew God had begun a healing work.

On 26 December 2015, we brought Josiah for the cell zone session with Pastors Ron and Jane Joliff. Pastor Ron prayed for Josiah. Then when Pastor Jane prayed for Josiah, again there was the sensation of heat coursing through his body, just like previously. Pastor Jane said that Josiah's time was not over, and he would be healed.

On the morning of 5 January 2016, I told God I wanted to continue to centre my life on Micah 6:8 – 'He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’

I told God I would stop just focusing on miracles for Josiah as he was already a miracle boy. I would release him to the Lord, just as Abraham did with Isaac.

I often wondered what was in the minds of Abraham and Isaac on their way to the sacrifice. Similarly, it was not easy for us – it was a painful feeling with much fear and wanting the best for Josiah. I told God to take Josiah if that was His will. Otherwise, I wanted him to be with us, fully happy and fully restored. During the stay in the hospital, my wife, Julie had been journaling daily and believing God would heal Josiah.

I wanted to have a bold heart, to be courageous and confident. But when we come to a point of helplessness, how do we react? When the doctor wanted to do open brain surgery on my son, I felt helpless. Moreover, another brain MRI showed that his tumour had already fused with the pituitary gland. The doctor was not pleased with this and told me that nothing much could be done to save the pituitary gland. I decided to let go and let God take over. I took my son out of hospital and went for a holiday and tried not to keep focusing on the obstacles ahead. I believed Josiah's situation had been a 'wait' answer rather than a ‘no’. At times I wanted to give up as it had been such a long wait of 15 years; he had had so many problems since he was born.

Amazingly, the MRI scan on 5 Jan 2016 showed his brain tumor has disappeared!

Completely! Isn't God so amazing? Praise be to God! He made the decision for us. No biopsy needed. This was the first breakthrough after 15 years that God had given to us as a family. We believe more breakthroughs and full restoration of his body awaited us. God would have the final say.

On 11 April 2016, Josiah went for his 3rd MRI scan. The brain tumor was again confirmed to be absent. His spine tumor had reduced from 100% to only 30%.

We trusted in God’s goodness as we continued this journey. He showed my family that despite the two-and-a-half-month journey when all the test results yielded bad news, even when it felt like we were going through a dark tunnel without a glimmer of light at the end, it was time to keep believing and trusting God – in the certain faith that He would hear us.

But our journey did not stop there. The company which we started in 2001 after both of us lost our jobs had to close after 21 years in business, due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Josiah was still going through medical challenges and we in turn faced financial difficulties due to his medical bills. I went back to work full-time and Julie returned to the workforce as a property agent.

We trusted in God’s goodness as we continued this journey. He showed my family that despite the two-and-a-half-month journey when all the test results yielded bad news, even when it felt like we were going through a dark tunnel without a glimmer of light at the end, it was time to keep believing and trusting God – in the certain faith that He would hear us.

However, God has never left or forsaken us. Just recently in August 2022, Josiah went through an MRI to check his kidney function. His dead left kidney with 0% function due to the tumor in 2015 was shown to have 4% function and the right kidney function had gone from 70+% to 96%.

Stay connected with God always. His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23).

David Yeap is married to Julie, with two boys, Joel and Josiah. Joel is married to Natasha and they worship in Bukit Batok Presbyterian Church. The rest of the family worship in RiverLife Church.

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