In 2001, we lost our good friend and co-worker, Dennis Rippy, who died of cancer. Dennis battled cancer about as well as anyone could. In 1999, the doctors gave Dennis a 5% chance to make it through the night. Dozens from our congregation in Charlotte rallied, many spending all night in the hospital simply refusing to let Dennis go. A couple of weeks later, Dennis left the hospital.
Then in 2001, this terrible enemy struck Dennis again. The doctors gave him thirty days to live. Again Dennis beat the death sentence. Then suddenly a tumor showed up in his brain. Many on our team were at a conference in Switzerland when we received word that Dennis had been given two days to live. Two weeks later he was still fighting. Even so, it was obvious that he was tired. Finally he slipped away.
In the past we have seen cancer healed with a single prayer. Why couldn’t Dennis be healed after receiving more prayer for one person than anyone I know? I realize it is not repetitious prayer that moves God, and I did feel that just about everyone’s “faith meter” was a little lower during this last battle. Two nights before he died, I heard an audible voice in my sleep saying that Dennis was tired and he would soon die. I called our team leaders, but I could tell that they too knew this was the end. So now do we just smile and go on with life declaring this a victory for Dennis and God’s people because he is much better off now?
I know that Dennis is much better off now. I am sure that he’s feeling very sorry for us who are still struggling in this life. The Lord will cause this to work for good for everyone, and there will be an ultimate triumph in it. Even so, I do not believe this is the way that any of God’s people are supposed to be taken from the earth. I do not think we can call this a victory. The strength of all that we are comes from walking in truth. The truth is that we lost this one. I am not sure why, but I intend to inquire of the Lord until we know. I am not doing this out of guilt or sorrow, but so we do not keep losing these battles.
As Christians we are called to walk in and demonstrate the resurrection power of the Lord. We are called to walk in authority over cancer, AIDS, and every other form of disease. I know this is something we must mature in, and facing the truth is one way to mature. As Paul Cain recently said, “Christian maturity does not come with the passage of time, but by the right responses to the dealings of God.” If we are to mature from Dennis’ battle, we must have the right response to it.
I am genuinely happy for Dennis. We can rejoice in his life. Even so, our ministry will feel his loss. He and his wife, Jackie, were our first, and most faithful intercessors. Dennis will be missed, and we intend to use his life as motivation to go higher.
First, our goal is that no one in any of our congregations die as a result of sickness or accident. We then want to grow in authority over disease where no one even gets sick. Then we want to grow in this authority so that when we enter a place, the devils cry out and leave, and sickness will flee from us. We want to go throughout the land destroying the works of the devil, healing the sick, casting out demons, and revealing the power of the Kingdom of God and His love for mankind.
John Wimber once told me that he prayed for about a thousand people to be healed before he saw his first healing. Because of his perseverance, he probably saw some of the most spectacular healings since the great healing movement of the 1950s. Even so, John always had questions about why certain ones were not healed. He also never said that anyone was healed until they really were. I felt it was this kind of honesty that made him one of the great men of his time.
Even so, John himself suffered from serious heart problems, and one of his sons died of cancer. I felt this was partly because people had a hard time praying for John, thinking their prayers would not mean as much as John’s would for himself, since he had so much more authority in this area. How-ever, even the greatest men and women of God find it much easier to have faith for others, than for themselves in many areas, especially healing. For this reason we need each other, and even the most quiet, shy believer who struggles daily in life can have a prayer that moves God to respond.
John raised up some who are still seeing great victories in healing and deliverance. We must do the same. While we will not call these victories, we can be assured of the ultimate victory. There will never be any doubt as to who wins in the end.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|