Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

Inform-JimGarlow CourtesyOfSkylineChurchWhen Jim Garlow found out his wife had more than 100 tumors, he sat at home alone and wept. As he looked around the house, everything reminded him of Carol.

How can I stand? How can I live life? How can I make it? Garlow asked himself. “I resolved that whatever happens, nothing impugns the love of God. If anything tragic happens to my wife it is not because God willed it. Because of the rebellion and the cumulative impact of sin, the world is filled with heartache, pain, sickness, disease and death.”

Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Church in La Mesa, Calif., has been fighting for his marriage since Carol was diagnosed with cancer in 2007. Carol’s diagnosis came just weeks before a group of pastors gathered at Skyline to organize a historic battle for traditional marriage via Proposition 8.

“My wife has advanced cancer and I am fighting for her life, but my nation also has advanced cancer and we are fighting for its life,” says Garlow. “My wife has had aggressive treatments to save her life. We need some radical surgery, radiation, chemo and alternative treatments to save our nation.”

In the book of Hosea, Scripture offers a strong metaphor as Hosea’s marriage to Gomer parallels God’s marriage to Israel. Garlow can relate to Hosea’s feelings as he stood in the middle watching the drama unfold and the pain it brought.

“Based on careful prognosis, both my nation and my wife don’t have very much time,” Garlow says. “We are fiercely committed to seeing a miraculous intervention for my wife and my nation.”

Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, calls Garlow a hero. Rodriguez fought alongside Garlow in the Prop 8 battle. Garlow stood for righteousness at a critical time in American history, Rodriguez says—a time when many would have questioned God, given up the political battle and fought for their wife instead.

“Could he have fought for Prop 8 with such tenacity and fortitude, with such strength and such faith, without having to simultaneously confront the realities at home with his wife?” Rodriguez asks. “I think Jim saw his wife battling cancer and decided if she can be that tough, he could do it. I firmly believe that Carol was his  inspiration.”

Five years later, Carol should be in heaven. Abdominal cancer kills about 80 percent of its victims within five years of the diagnosis. Nevertheless, she’s still fighting the good fight of faith. There have been many victories along the way. But in September the Garlows got more bad news. The cancer markers are rising, despite the chemo. Carol has been experiencing sharp pains in her intestines, which could be signs of the cancer spreading.

Garlow describes a recent scare in which Carol did not have the strength to even walk from the bedroom to the kitchen to get her meds. He was concerned that she had reached a “new low.” Thankfully, she awoke the next morning and had regained her strength.

“I will not follow the advice of Job’s wife—curse God and die,” Garlow says. “God loves me and He loves Carol. That doesn’t mean I don’t get scared sometimes. It doesn’t mean I don’t battle fear at times. I walk in spite of the black cloud hanging over me. There are good days and bad days.”

Cindy Jacobs, co-founder of Generals International, is among those believing with the Garlows for a miracle. She says Garlow—who is now chairman of Renewing American Leadership, leading its mission to preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage by defending and promoting the faith, family, freedom and free enterprise—has been prepared for such a time as this.

“All of the trials and the spiritual warfare could not turn Jim from God. He has come out of the fire as pure gold,” says Jacobs. “Jim can say to a generation, ‘Follow me as I follow Christ.’”

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • Don't bring your sermons in for a crash landing.

    4 Terrible Ways to Close a Sermon

    People need an opportunity to respond to the Word of God.

  • These seven responses can get you on the right track.

    Responding Like Jesus When Your Church Kicks You Out

    It's a pain that many in the ministry have felt at least once and maybe more.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders