God Answers His Prayers at a Women's Conference
For those who've experienced appendicitis or kidney stones, the pain is no laughing matter. "Debilitating" is a word commonly associated with that kind of pain.
When Brad Smith, 32, the lead pastor of Pineville (Louisiana) First Assembly of God was struck with intense pain in his lower torso during the Louisiana School of Ministry this past January, he thought at first he had appendicitis.
"I had intense pain in my back and pelvic area," Smith recalls, "so I went to the ER. After scans, X-rays, lab work, and ultrasounds, the ER doctor told me that there was a mass on my left kidney and that I needed to follow up with my urologist immediately."
Smith did. But he found little comfort in the doctor's reactions.
"After my urologist looked at my lab work and my CT scan, he suggested a more thorough CT scan, this time using contrast (radioactive) dye. He was so concerned about what the original scan seemed to indicate, that he scheduled it for the same day."
This concerned Smith as he wasn't certain what was going on. But he had confidence in his doctor who was also a highly regarded surgeon and known for his skill at reading CT scans.
"After the second CT scan was over, I asked the technician what would happen next," Smith recalls. "The technician told me the doctor would come in, read the scan, and then tell me what was going on."
And that's what happened -- mostly. The doctor came in, studied the CT scan on the screen, but then abruptly turned and walked out of the room -- and didn't come back.
"The technician then came back into the room and explained that the doctor had to speak with some other doctors and he would contact me tomorrow," Smith says.
If red flags of concern hadn't popped up before for Smith, now they were beginning to pop up and wave!
The next day, the doctor called Smith. The doctor had discovered a complex cyst not on his kidney, but in it! Unlike a regular cyst, this one had a blood supply flowing through it.
According to the Kidney Cancer Institute, a complex kidney cyst that enhances (gets a blood supply) is a strong indicator that the cyst harbors a kidney cancer within it and in most instances, the cysts are surgically removed. However, Smith's complex cyst was inside his kidney.
"The doctor told me the reason he didn't talk to me was he wanted to consult with other physicians about what to do based on his findings," Smith says. "He told me, there was a complex system of roots and vessels in it. The mass was also in a place that it could not be biopsied or removed without removing the entire kidney . . . and if it had been solely up to him, he would have removed my kidney on the spot!"
Instead, after his consultations, the doctor determined to put off the removal of the kidney for four months to see if the cyst would grow or if it would stabilize and remain the same size.
The wait began. Smith and his congregation prayed regularly for God to touch his body, but God's timing is His own.
On March 20, about midway through the waiting period, the Louisiana District Women's Conference was held at Smith's church. As pastor, he was in attendance, but this ministry was intended for women, not for him . . . .
"Evangelist Steve McKnight, who has a healing ministry, was speaking at the conference -- and this night there was a focus on healing," Smith recalls. "The anointing was flowing and I felt this nudge by the Holy Spirit to have him pray for me."
Smith briefly debated with himself -- this was a women's conference, after all. But with women testifying of healings, he stepped forward and McKnight began to pray over him.
"He laid his hands on my back and began to pray," Smith says. "He and I both felt something happen."
But did something really happen or was it the "emotion of the moment"?
On Tuesday, May 5, Smith went back in for his follow-up appointment, once again undergoing a CT scan. And once again the doctor did not give Smith his results immediately . . . perhaps checking with other physicians to confirm his findings?
"They were looking to see if the mass had grown or stayed the same," Smith says. "They called me on Friday, May 8, and told me the mass in my kidney was completely gone! Only a small scar remained where it used to be -- it almost looked like somebody had already cut it out!"
When Smith visited his doctor one last time on May 11, the doctor told Smith he had never seen this happen -- ever. "I told him it was a miracle," Smith says. "He responded, 'Yes, a strange one.'"
Smith says he believes that the cyst left his body on that Friday evening in March. "The Scripture I've been hanging on to is Mark 11:23-24, if you speak to the mountain, it would be removed," Smith says, paraphrasing Scripture. "If God can remove a mountain, he can remove a cyst!"