Taking Higher Ground

By Gary Smith

If someone asks me, “Do you believe supernatural healing is for today?” I can only respond, “Believe it? Absolutely. I’ve experienced it, and I can prove it!”

In the summer of 2017 a dear woman that my wife, Linda, and I know named Norma, who often speaks prophetically, called saying she had a word of prophecy for me. (Prophesying is one of the gifts of the Spirit found in Romans 12 in which the person to whom the gift is given speaks a message they feel comes from God.) She didn’t know if this word was for the church I pastor or if it was a word for me personally, but it was very strong, and she knew she had to give it to me. 

The word was this: Higher ground . . . you must take higher ground. A flood of evil is coming. Raise up the standard, watch the words of your mouth. Be careful what you speak. Be led by the cloud of glory. Higher ground . . . you must take higher ground

I received it as a word for the church and after prayer did a sermon series on “Taking Higher Ground” and preparing the church for difficulties and tribulations that can be expected as the coming of the Lord draws near.

Things seemed to be going pretty well in my life to that point. I had been diagnosed with a slow-growing lymphoma in my upper chest area the year before. Doctors were not overly concerned. I could keep watching it or just get rid of it with a few doses of radiation. I chose the radiation and most people, including my mom, didn’t even know I had been diagnosed or treated. At the end of the treatment I was told all was well; it was in remission and I shouldn’t see it again. 

The word was this: Higher ground . . . you must take higher ground. A flood of evil is coming. Raise up the standard, watch the words of your mouth. Be careful what you speak. Be led by the cloud of glory. Higher ground . . . you must take higher ground. ”

At the end of July, I noticed a catch in my throat while drinking at the water fountain at my gym. I didn’t think much of it as it felt much like a sore throat. After a week or so the soreness had not gone away but had grown worse. Then one evening a lump appeared near the left clavicle on my neck. A few days later it had enlarged, so I made an appointment with my oncologist. After some testing it was confirmed the lymphoma was back and had mutated into a very aggressive B-cell lymphoma. In fact, within a couple of weeks it was pressing against my upper chest and around my carotid arteries, so much so that circulation to my brain was being affected and I was passing out. Two trips to the emergency room during these episodes were quite frightening for my wife. I began to look at my life very seriously.

At the very beginning of my encounter with cancer I began to change my lifestyle. I knew stress and diet were big factors that opened the door to this enemy. I became more disciplined in working out at our local gym. I took sugar and most breads out of my diet. I also added natural supplements and took time to rest and started observing Sabbath, which meant I also closed my Christian bookstore on Saturdays. This time of introspection was a time of repentance. I let the Lord search my heart and actions and show me the areas where my heart was not right – where I was not trusting him completely and where I was not obedient.  

One day not long after the scary diagnosis, I was searching on the internet, reading medical reports of life expectancy and cure rates of various cancers. My prognosis was not great. My wife asked me what I was doing. When I told her, she “affectionately rebuked” me, asking why I was feeding on articles that bring fear and doubt. She reminded me of what I preach: “Get into God’s Word, feed your faith, and stay there!!!”

This picture was taken within a month of the one chemo treatment. The cancer was gone, but the toll it played on my body was evident. The hair loss was from the chemo.

Yes, one has little testimony if they don’t practice what they preach! So I began to saturate my mind with healing scriptures several times daily and developed a list of “rhema” words. (A rhema word is a personal word given by the Holy Spirit.) I spoke these rhema words continually and included a scriptural response to the prophetic word I had received from Norma, such as “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19, NKJV).

Another thing I did was actively seek out prayer from those whom I knew operated in the gift of healing. I had my deacons and elders lay hands on me and anoint me with oil. I also sought counsel and prayer from those in our region in Open Bible who oversee me, including my executive director. 

An aggressive chemotherapy was scheduled to begin on a Tuesday in late August. I didn’t agree to it right away. I prayed, asking God if this diagnosis was something for which I was to just stand on the Word and believe for supernatural healing without medical treatment. I didn’t receive any prompting from the Lord indicating I was not to accept the treatment, and because it seemed doors and favor were being opened to go in the direction of medical treatment, I reluctantly accepted the appointment. The Sunday before the treatment I announced to my congregation what was going on in my life and asked for their prayers. The whole congregation gathered around me and fervently prayed in the Spirit. I didn’t feel any change physically at that time but was aware of the presence of the Lord.

On Monday morning I noticed the lymph node on my neck had shrunk by about half. On Tuesday morning, the day of the treatment, it had shrunk more, and I was able to swallow a pill without difficulty, something I had not been able to do for the previous three weeks. I went through the treatment with no difficulty or side effects. 

On Wednesday at noon, the day after the treatment, all signs and symptoms of the cancer in my body were completely gone! At that moment I knew I had been supernaturally healed. (As any cancer patient knows, it would have taken several weeks for the chemotherapy to begin affecting the cancer). 

Below is a list of the Scripture proclamations I used. I share them with others facing illness as well. 

Exodus 23:25 Psalm 30:2-4 Psalm 91:1-4 
Psalm 91:9-10 Psalm 91:14-16 Psalm 103:1-5  
Psalm 118:15-18 Proverbs 4:20-22 Isaiah 53:5 
Isaiah 59:19 Jeremiah 30:16-17 Romans 8:11 

I went to my oncologist that Friday and asked him if he had ever seen a miracle. He responded by saying that he wasn’t the one to ask since that was something he obviously didn’t want to affirm. Yet he kept feeling my neck and saying, “That is quite amazing.” 

However, he insisted I still had cancer and needed to continue the treatment. 

I said, “If God healed me, He healed me. The cancer is gone. Give me a scan and I will prove it.” 

He wouldn’t give me a scan until I had another treatment. I refused the treatment, so it was three months later before a scan could be authorized by my insurance company without my taking the chemotherapy. 

During the waiting time that one dose of chemo caused me to lose most of my hair, but physically I felt good and maintained a vigorous schedule at the church, never having normal chemo effects. The scan report came back completely clean with no trace of cancer in my entire body! 

My yearly exam earlier this month, three and a half years since the healing, confirmed the good report. Glory, hallelujah! My God is an awesome God. 

As I studied more thoroughly the passage from Isaiah 59, I made an interesting discovery regarding the meaning of the word “standard.” The word literally means to “to make flee, quickly put to flight, make vanish away.” My faith has grown greatly as I have seen a prophetic word over me become reality as the standard of His Word was lifted up and affirmed. The cancer was put to flight, vanishing away quickly within a 48-hour period. Our God is a supernatural healer, yesterday, today, and forever!

About the Author

Gary Smith is the senior pastor of Liberty Life Center in Sedalia, Missouri, where he has served since 2007. He and his wife, Linda, have served in pastoral ministry for thirty years. Together they own and operate The Shepherd’s Place, a retail Christian bookstore also in Sedalia.  

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