“A Priesthood Blessing,” Ensign, Apr. 1984, 63–64
The blessings of the priesthood were never greater in my life than three years ago when my husband lay critically ill in a hospital. Exploratory surgery had revealed a massive malignancy that was inoperable. The doctors explained that modern methods could extend life perhaps many years; some people were even being totally cured of cancer. So we were full of hope, confident that Dave would be one of the lucky ones.
He was recovering well from his surgery when he began to have severe chest pains. He had developed pneumonia and blood clots in his lungs. For the next three weeks we pushed our concern over the cancer into the background as the doctors battled to save his lungs and life. Finally, he underwent major chest surgery and was once more on the road to recovery.
We breathed a sigh of relief. One problem at a time was enough for me. Now we could think about the cancer again. I was feeling optimistic when I asked the doctor about Dave’s outlook for the future. He answered that if chemotherapy worked, we might expect a remission for as long as two years.
I was stunned. I thought he’d speak in terms of fifteen or twenty years; now he was telling me that it would be marvelous if my husband survived for two.
I gave myself up to grief; it couldn’t have been worse if Dave had actually died. For three days and nights I thought I would perish myself from the anguish I suffered. On Sunday evening I attended sacrament meeting, and several people, including our bishop and home teachers, asked what they might do to help. I desperately needed a priesthood blessing, but was afraid that if I spoke I would lose all composure. So I nodded that everything was all right and left the building.
A few minutes later, on my way to the hospital, I chastised myself for not letting them help me. I knew I couldn’t survive much longer in my present state. “What am I going to do now?” I asked myself. Then suddenly the answer came: “Dave has the priesthood. He could give me a blessing.”
It did seem a bit strange that he should do it; after all he was the one who had been receiving one blessing after another in efforts to save his own life. It would be like asking the “sick” to bless the “well.” But I had nowhere else to turn.
I’ll never forget how my husband looked standing before me that evening as I sat on his bed. Wearing a hospital gown, gaunt and pale with pain and so weak he could hardly stand, he finally lifted his left arm to my shoulder, and with his right hand on my head proceeded to give me a priesthood blessing.
Oh, the magnificence of the priesthood of God exercised by a righteous man! My husband spoke with strength, power, and authority, asking the Lord to remove the sorrow from my heart. Immediately I felt great relief from my pain; it was as though the Lord had reached into my heart and removed the sadness.
My grief never returned, though many difficult days lay ahead.
Dave’s struggle against cancer has been painful and hard the past three years, but he lives—and his doctor tells us that he now has a good chance of total cure. We’re convinced the reason he is alive today is because of the power of the priesthood.
I have learned without qualification that, as the hymn says, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” (“Come, Ye Disconsolate,” Hymns, no. 18.) I thank our Father in heaven daily for the blessings I have received through his priesthood; but never has the priesthood been so dear to me as it was that night—flooding a room with power under the hands of a courageous man in a hospital gown.