ASHLAND, Ky. (BP) — A cardiologist who had a miracle recovery from a grim cancer diagnosis this summer spoke emotionally Dec. 16 from the pulpit at Rose Hill Baptist Church.
After receiving a standing ovation from a packed house in Ashland, Ky., David Bush thanked a congregation who had lifted him up in prayer during a two-month stretch when doctors gave him little hope.
Nobody would have given him much hope to even be in the service nine days before Christmas, let alone delivering a Sunday morning message.
It wasn’t unusual to have Bush speaking at Rose Hill, where he is a longtime deacon, board chairman of the Christian school operated by the church, and a go-to substitute speaker for pastor Matt Shamblin.
But it was a day of celebrating God’s goodness for the church.
All eyes were locked on Bush as he briefly told his new testimony of going from being one of Ashland’s busiest — and best — cardiologists to the intensive care unit at King’s Daughters Medical Center, clinging to every breath.
Meanwhile, Shamblin, his pastor, was gathering prayer warriors from wherever he could find them. Believers came from throughout the community but consistently from the church.
They had prayer vigils at the church and even at the hospital where Bush practiced — 24-hour vigils of deep prayer for their beloved Christian brother.
Bush noticed in June that he had a slight cough with some chest pain, and it was the forebear for an unforgettable two months. “The bad thing about being a doctor is you know too much,” he said.
Doctors did chest X-rays and didn’t like what they saw. “If this is cancer,” they told him, “you should be dead.”
Cancer was in both lungs, his spine and seven spots on the brain. Even Bush knew the prognosis was poor. But neither he, his family nor his church family gave up hope.
“That was a low point with my family and me,” he said of learning cancer had spread to so many places. “It means that there’s little hope and you’re not going to be around long.”
But God had other plans even though there were still some moments when it didn’t look good.
“Doctors told my family a couple of times (when he was in ICU) that I wasn’t going to make it through the night,” Bush said. “But all over the world, thousands of people that I didn’t even know were praying for me. My life is a testament to the power of prayer and God.”
Gradually, Bush began taking a new medicine and began to improve and regain strength. He was discharged from the hospital in late July and was scanned again in September with startling results — the cancer was only in one lung and just slightly. And the tumors on his spine and brain were gone.
Bush’s message to the congregation, though, wasn’t so much about his miraculous recovery as it was about how his life is now more eternally pointed — and that everyone’s life should be that way as well. He spoke of the brevity of life, the importance of life, the true wisdom of life and the judgment from life.
“When you look at your own mortality, you evaluate life,” he said. “You have much more urgency to tell others about the Gospel. You tend to remove the unimportant things in life.”
Life is fleeting, a puff of smoke, he said, and the sooner Christians realize that, the better.
“We number everything except our days because it doesn’t come normally,” he said. “It’s important to realize we have a limited time on earth to spread the Gospel and to edify.”
Bush became emotional as his voice cracked several times during the sermon while he pleaded with his listeners to make God a priority. His brush with death made him refocus on what’s important.
“I need to do what God wants me to do,” he said. “Don’t fill your life up with temporary things. There should be no difference between our beliefs and our actions.”
The biggest reason that Christians don’t share the Gospel isn’t because they are afraid or embarrassed, it is because their life does not match their testimony, according to a survey Bush read.
“Humbleness before God is one of the most important things in life,” he said. “He will not use prideful people.”
Once a Christian becomes serious, life changes. “The Bible says you will find God when you seek Him with your whole heart,” he said.
And when that happens, opportunities come and doors swing open, he said.
“God blesses obedience,” he noted. “When you walk through the doors, He gives you more.
“When you have true wisdom, it always leads you to missions — to tell others about the Gospel, to seek the lost. There’s lost people everywhere. What glorifies God glorifies Christ and what glorifies Christ is salvation.”