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The Miracle

by Marvin Mardock

I’m an old guy now, so it seems wise—before I reach the height of my senility or move on to heaven—to recount a miracle of healing that happened to me many years ago.

My family and I left Haviland, Kansas, in 1960, for the eastern Los Angeles suburb of Azusa, where I received a contract to teach English and coach athletics at Azusa College. At that time, the school enrolled only about 200 students. I was the only English teacher, and no English department existed. Soon after our move to California, the Oriental Missions Society (OMS) offered me the position of regional southwest director, so I gave the school notice and began seriously thinking of a career in missions. That set the stage for the story of a miracle.

A Long Battle Ahead

While commuting from Azusa to OMS headquarters near Hollywood, I decided to see a doctor about some pain I had been experiencing, but the clinic was closed. So I drove home, ate supper, and went to the emergency room at the hospital in the nearby city of Glendora.

I still had a little medical insurance through Azusa College—coverage that became part of my miracle. The doctor on duty that evening also happened to be a cancer specialist. He examined me and determined that my condition warranted an immediate operation.

The next morning marked the beginning of my battle with testicular cancer on two fronts—testicular seminoma, fairly treatable, and embrynal carcinoma, rare and more dangerous. A later operation showed that cancer had already started to move through the lymph node chain up the aorta toward the liver and lungs.

The Presence of God

The doctor who operated on me also practiced occasionally at a national cancer center, the City of Hope in Duarte, about seven miles from our home in Azusa. My miraculous acceptance as a patient meant all my operations and treatments were free. Eventually, the City of Hope provided four operations, nearly 40 treatments of deep radiation, cesium, and years of outpatient service. What a marvelous place! As a bonus, I had three hot-hearted evangelical Christian doctors—Dr. Alexander, missionary to Africa; Dr. Yonamota, from my hometown; and Dr. Byron, who wrote for the Power Sunday school paper and became a retreat speaker for me.

Following one of my operations, I had a once-in-a-lifetime, tremendous experience with God. In that Jewish hospital with the room almost electric with Jehovah’s presence, I claimed the touch of the Master’s hand and later made phone calls to let people know that God was healing me. I knew I had been blessed beyond my expectations with God’s presence.

The 1961 approach to my kind of cancer was first to cut, then radiate, and finally, use chemotherapy. So, for 20 minutes a day the technicians lined me up under the machine, closed the door to my killing chamber, and viewed me through the window. I remarked that if what I was going through was so “good,” they should stay in the room with me. They declined. I don’t know whether they appreciated my attempt at humor, but I needed all the humor I could get because my body took a beating. The treatment finally ended with treatment number 39.

Back to Bear Witness

Years of body repair work and outpatient check ups followed. I began visiting my old room where God had met me so that I could witness to the current occupants. I still remember the letters of “Hope” high on the main building entrance, and I will never forget the emotional time with God in Wing 6, Room 6.

That’s my story, and I claim healing through the series of miracles that: 1) first brought us to Southern California, then 2) provided initial health insurance through Azusa College, 3) continued to guide by leading me to a cancer specialist on emergency duty, 4) gave me free medical help at a national cancer center, 5) placed our family near the City of Hope, and by far the most important miracle, 6) blessed me with the undeniable, holy presence of God in that hospital.

And beyond the cancer miracle, He continued to bless me with a rich and productive life. I was invited (even when my health was uncertain) to return to Azusa College, where I eventually retired as professor emeritus and, after a short stint at George Fox College (now a university), I served again with OMS in college and seminary relations for a few years.

“This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.

This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.”

Marvin Mardock, Ph.D., served as a professor of English for nearly three decades and a track coach for two at APU. A cancer survivor and humorist, his contribution in Christian higher education and ministry spans more than five decades. marvinmardock@comcast.net

"I began visiting my old room where God had met me so that I could witness to the current occupants."

Originally published in the Spring '11 issue of APU Life. Download the full issue (PDF).