For the faithful, dedicating your life to God can last an eternity; but for some, that decision can be made in an instant.
“I have a vision, which I’ve never had before or since, one of the craziest things that’s ever happened to me,” said Lance Marshall.
Marshall was working as a high-end wine and liquor salesman, “and all of a sudden there in the bar, I see myself and I’m wearing a robe and I’m in an old church and it’s wood, and there’s balconies and there’s people, and I see it like it’s in front of me and so I tell him, ‘I think I want to be a preacher?’ and we laugh and that was it for the rest of the day,” Marshall said.
As he began his path toward serving God he hit a bump — more like a cattle guard.
“They figure out that what I thought was allergies, was stage four cancer,” Marshall said.
He said his health insurance expired the next day, he was out of work and about to get married without a dollar to his name.
“The story of the Christian faith is not, ‘everything is going to work out OK all the time,’ and the story of Christian faith is not that, ‘life will be smooth and easy,’” Marshall said.
Marshall beat cancer, he and his wife welcomed a son and then the cancer came back.
Marshall shared a video message on YouTube, saying, “In the last couple weeks, it showed that it is a release of Hodgkin’s disease, which is scary, and really sucks, and it feels awful to say that I have cancer again. But that being said, I am really optimistic,” Marshall said in the video.
That video was almost exactly five years ago. Today, he’s once again cancer free.
As for that vision in the bar — it came true. Marshall is now an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Fort Worth.
He recalled the first day he was welcomed up to the pulpit.
“So they welcome me up, and I step up to the pulpit and I’m wearing a robe and it’s an old wood sanctuary and there’s the wood and there’s the people and there it is!” Marshall explained with a smile.
So what has he gained from facing death twice? He said he’s gained a story of resurrection.
“The parts of my life that thought that how good I was as a person was dependent on my success or my wealth, or my health, all of those things died and laid down in a hospital bed in 2012 and never got up again. And what got back up was hope, and faith, and love, and I’m thankful for that,” Marshall said.
Marshall said it will take him 70 years to pay off his medical bills — and it’s worth every penny.