When Dr. Doug Stringer received a diagnosis of 80% aggressive, stage 4 lymphoma, the news hit him hard. He drove to a nearby parking lot where he spent time "talking to God, shedding some tears, asking questions," he says.
But when the minister and director of Houston's Somebody Cares Outreach went home, he acted on what the Lord had told him. And that obedience soon had an impact that extended farther than he ever anticipated, he says on the "Hope Through Cancer" series on Charisma News.
Stringer told his family that instead of focusing on the cancer, "Let's turn this into a time to pray, to intercede for the church of America to find healing, to be awakened, so we can be a blessing to the nations."
"I realized I could sit home and I can cry. I can process. I can quit. If I quit, the devil wins," he says. So he determined to fulfill his ministry obligations as best he could, one of which was coordinating one of several prayer gatherings that pulled together pastors "to cross racial, denominational, generational lines and meet at the cross of Christ," Stringer says.
Normally, Stringer had scheduled these gatherings in central locations within designated states. But for South Carolina, the coastal city of Charleston had the only available site. And that turned out to be providential, he says.
Because of the cancer's aggressiveness, Stringer's doctors wanted to insert a port for chemo on Saturday, June 13, the date of the Charleston gathering. "But I wouldn't do it. I just felt like I needed to fulfill that obligation," he says. He held the meeting to an incredible response and flew back to Houston to begin his cancer treatment.
Four days after the prayer gathering, the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church occurred in the heart of Charleston. Stringer's obedience in carrying out his responsibility yielded what a nation witnessed: "Churches came out ... arm in arm together, praying and singing and standing with Mother Emanuel AME Church. And what could have been a greater tragedy ... turned into a message of a larger context."
For more of Stringer's story of how God used his cancer to bless others, listen to this inspiring podcast.
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