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Mother sees son Jordan’s life as evidence God can be trusted

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)–Jordan’s story begins three months before his parents’ wedding.
That’s when his mother-to-be was lying in a hospital bed, diagnosed with cancer. Outside her hospital room, the doctor was telling her parents not to order the wedding invitations.
Yet God intervened, she was cured of the cancer and Sharon and John Yeats were married on schedule.
After the birth of two boys, John Mark and Joel, Sharon and John shared with her oncologist that they wanted to have a third child. The cancer doctor advised against another pregnancy because he believed it would be a risk to Sharon’s health.
At the time Sharon became pregnant with their third child, John, who is now editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger newsjournal and recording secretary of the Southern Baptist Convention, was pastor of a church in Topeka, Kan. Sharon said she was upset when a registered nurse in their church encouraged her not to go through with the pregnancy.
“She told me I was risking my life, and I had two children who would be left without a mother,” recalled Sharon, who recently told Jordan’s story at an Oklahoma City women’s meeting.
One Sunday morning when Sharon was eight months pregnant, the family was getting ready to go to Sunday school when they realized their house was on fire.
“The cradle was ready for the baby, the baby clothes were purchased, and all of a sudden, it was all gone,” she said.
The Yeatses said God used that time to show them more about himself and perhaps begin to prepare them for what they were to face.
Five weeks after the fire, Sharon delivered Jordan David, whose name means “God’s love flowing down.”
When Jordan was 2, Sharon said she noticed when light shone in her baby’s eyes, the light reflected back at her.
“I told people at church that Jordan’s eyes were so blue, I could see in them,” she said.
It was December, snow was on the ground in truly a Christmas-card scene, but the Yeatses were living in a stressful time. The family was remodeling an old Kansas farmhouse, which was in disarray. One of the staff members at their small church told John he had committed adultery and, as a result, was dismissed from his duties.
“Needless to say, we were stressed, and looking forward to going to Texas to spend the Christmas holidays with our families,” Sharon recalled.
When Sharon began to realize she was seeing in just one of Jordan’s eyes, she thought something might be wrong, and called the doctor. She said she knew she couldn’t get an appointment until after Christmas, but hoped to see the doctor as soon as the family returned from Texas.
After she told the doctor’s receptionist about Jordan’s eye, the receptionist put her on hold, and called the nurse to the phone. Sharon repeated the story, and Jordan was given an appointment two days later.
“In our family, to go to the doctor, we had to be pretty sick,” admitted Sharon, “and for some reason John went with me, which he usually didn’t do.”
At the doctor’s office, Jordan was diagnosed with retinoblastoma — a malignant tumor in his eye. The Yeatses were sent to Kansas City to see a specialist, who told them they needed to take Jordan to Philadelphia for an experimental treatment.
Sharon called their doctor in Topeka, and told him what they were going to do. She said he told them it was not a matter of whether Jordan would have two eyes, but it was a matter of life and death.
“So our dilemma was whether to go to Philadelphia for the experimental treatment or stay in Topeka and let our doctor remove our son’s eye,” Sharon said. “We knew we couldn’t fix the situation, but were confident God could fix it.”
She said their church family gathered with them on Saturday at the prayer chapel, and that night she and John read the Bible until the wee hours of the morning.
“God gave John a Scripture in Luke, which would mean nothing to anyone else — it was a word for us,” she recounted. “We understood God wanted us to have Jordan’s eye removed, and God gave us the promise Jordan’s cancer would be cured. We had a restful night’s sleep.”
The following Tuesday, John and Sharon took Jordan to the hospital.
“As we carried him to the door of the surgical suite and entrusted him into the arms of a nurse, we knew it was the last time we would ever look into two eyes,” she said.
Sharon said they still held onto the idea that a miracle would occur, that doctors would put Jordan to sleep and see that the tumor was gone and he wouldn’t need surgery.
However, in just a few minutes, the doctor sent for the Yeatses, took them into a small room and told them there was evidence of cancer in both of Jordan’s eyes.
“We had somewhat prepared ourselves for a single-eyed son, but not for a blind one,” Sharon lamented.
“The doctor said if we still wanted to take Jordan to Philadelphia, there might be a chance some of his sight could be saved.
“There was a blizzard outside, and it would have been almost impossible to get out of town. Because of the word we had from the Lord, we told the doctor to take out the right eye, get the cancer out of his body, and we’d worry about the other eye later.”
When Jordan came home from the hospital, John and Sharon began the process of learning to take care of him. “Because we lived in a relatively small city, Jordan’s story became known, and we had help from a lot of people,” Sharon said. “One woman, whose daughter had retinoblastoma in both eyes, called and explained the process we had to go through to get a prosthetic eye.”
For the next two years, Jordan had to be put to sleep every few weeks to check his other eye. Doctors found no evidence of a problem with his remaining eye.
“When Jordan was 4, we left him overnight for the first time since his surgery to attend a couples’ retreat,” Sharon said. “When we picked him up, he was running a fever and his right eye was swollen shut.”
As his fever continued to rise, John and Sharon took him to the emergency room, where they were told his cancer had returned and he would have to be flown to Kansas City for surgery.
In the meantime, the on-call emergency pediatrician wanted to do a spinal tap on him. John stayed with Jordan, while Sharon waited outside the door and listened to her son scream.
“He screamed so loud and so hard that blood was coming out of his pores,” Sharon said. “John convinced the pediatrician to stop trying to get the spinal tap. She agreed to wait until the next day.”
Sharon said by this time Jordan was a basket case, and John crawled into his hospital bed to sleep with him that night.
“I got up and walked down the dark hallway to the children’s play area where I sat down in a child-size chair at a child-size table,” Sharon said. “I was angry at God and threw a child-like fit.
“I told God he gave us his word that Jordan wasn’t going to have cancer anymore. I was hurting, and I know God was hurting with me. He gave me peace that Jordan’s cancer had not returned.”
Jordan is now 18, and recently returned from a mission trip to Holland and Hungary. The Yeatses say he has been a joy in their home.
“I don’t know why God saved Jordan’s life or what path he has for him,” Sharon said. “But we learned God is good and he can be trusted. We know he will meet us at the point of our need. Through it all, we’ve learned to depend upon his Word.”

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  • Dana Williamson