'I was suddenly looking at terminal cancer'

Phil’s story | Out of the dark

“I got sick a year ago. I found out I had prostate cancer. At first they said it was low-grade and contained. It was okay. But then I had some more scans … and as soon as he looked at them, you could see it on the doctor’s face. All the blood drained away. They found two more spots on my ribs. They weren’t sure what they were, but I was suddenly looking at terminal cancer. My wife and I sat there and wept. Then I had to tell my kids. That was the most traumatic thing I’ve ever done. We sobbed. Within three or four days I was on the table, having surgery. After that, I had to wait two months to get the results. I remember the day. We went in… and my PSA results were zero. There was cheering and hugging and hand slapping, all round. Then my doctor said, ‘My advice is… leave this room and go and enjoy your life. Count this as a new day.’ So I booked flights to Nashville. It was something I’d wanted to do for years. I have a good friend there. He’s a record producer and he’d always wanted me to come and record. I had a bunch of songs that I’d half-written, on crumpled bits of paper … so we recorded them. It was unbelievable. The album is called Out of the Dark. I was working with people who had been my heroes since I was a kid. But the songs are all about what really matters in life, and where God is, in the middle of it. I remember when I was in the hospital, waiting on the bed in pre-op, I was terrified. I couldn’t reconcile the terror. My whole body was shaking, like I was naked in a blizzard. But then, Psalm 23 came into my head, and I recited verse 4 over and over again. ‘Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.’ I must have said it 20 times, lying on that bed. And the fear and terror began to leave. I suddenly felt this incredible peace. I knew God was in the room. And it was God’s call, if I lived, or if I didn’t live. And now, everything is different. Now, when I wake up, I see the sunlight and I say thank you to God, for another day to live. I never did that before.”

Phil’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.

Bible verse Psalm 23:4

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