by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2016
I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. (Ps. 118:17 NKJV)
Andrea O’Brien was my close friend and prayer partner for over 15 years. Andrea O’Brien lived large. She wanted everyone to know her reason for living: Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord. He was the centermost focus of her life. Oh, she fervently loved her husband, daughters and son with a fiery, unstoppable love, but the center of her life was Jesus.
Following her January 14, 2014 colon cancer diagnosis, she felt as if the Lord Himself (via the Holy Spirit) had highlighted several specific Scripture to hang onto and help bolster her faith to trust God for healing during her illness.
In particular there was Psalm 118:17: “I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.” She made sure it was prayed over her daily, often by her son.
Andrea knew her God. He was Supreme. He was Creator and Almighty. He conquered every one of the adversary’s schemes. He was eternal Victor. He was also good because He was Love. He could do whatever He wanted. He had raised from the dead. He answered prayer. Ask and the door would be opened. Seek and we would find. Illness was as nothing to Him. He was Divine Restorer and Healer.
Her cancer was not from Him. It did not exist in heaven. It was part of this fallen world in which we live. It was from the pit of hell.
Andrea knew God could do anything. Her focus was to keep living. She had a family she fiercely loved and believed she had work still to do for the Lord. She wasn’t ready to pass from our present into eternal life.
Often she said she could not believe that to die of cancer was God’s best for her. Certainly her Lord could would heal her if she just believed firmly enough and did not doubt. If she had faith in what the doctors said was impossible, the Lord Himself would heal her. Then she would proclaim His works—how the doctors had said she would die, but when she didn’t the world would know God was real because of the miracle He had done for her. It would be glorious!
Helping others learn that God was real, to be believed in, trusted, chosen as Lord and followed was a main objective in her life. She wanted to shout it from rooftops and mountaintops (and tried whenever she could) that if they did not choose to believe, then they would not have eternal life with Him. We needed to not just believe but follow Him—to be activated in our faith and wield the Word of God as the sword of His love and truth to introduce more to live for His kingdom from now through eternity. Andrea was bold in her faith, speaking about the need for Jesus in order to receive the promised life to come, wherever there was opportunity and sometimes creating opportunity where she initially saw none.
But despite strong faith and best efforts, the illness progressed. On Tuesday, June 2, 2015 she succumbed to her illness. Brave, resolute, strong Andrea O’Brien’s physical body failed. She died.
Two days later, on Thursday, June 4th I had the most amazing experience. It was mid-afternoon. I was busy flitting around our Placerville, California home getting ready to head out on a trip, when I unmistakably heard Andrea call my name. No one forgot how her voice sounded when Andrea called a person’s name like this. This was her firm, turn-and-listen, pay-attention-to-me voice.
I thought I was imagining things, yet I deep down I knew I wasn’t. My attention was always turned to listening for the Holy Spirit. I did not give any effort to trying to hear any spiritual voice but God’s. None. I didn’t want to hear anyone or anything besides God! Yes, I understood that after death if we believed in Him we are with Him and more alive than ever, but it was from God alone I sought knowledge, not the souls of those who had gone before.
She called my name a total of three times in the same tone. It was faint, but insistent like a whisper floating on the breeze. It was unmistakable. I busied myself with my tasks. If I was imagining this, my busy-ness would likely overwhelm what my imagination was conjuring. If it was real—if it was Andrea trying to let me know something—then, well, nothing would stop it.
Her message continued. Each phrase stated three times to make sure I heard it before moving to the next.
“The Lord is great. The LORD is great! The LORD is GREAT!
“It is beautiful here. It is beautiful HERE! It is BEAUTIFUL HERE!
“Tell everyone. Tell EVERYONE! TELL EVERYONE!
“I am free. I am FREE! I AM FREE!”
And then it was over.
I sobbed. Dear beautiful Andrea who had fought death so valiantly and worked so hard to remain in this life. Feisty, adamant, faith-filled Andrea who trusted, even demanded her Lord heal her so she could continue to stay with her husband and children, who didn’t want talk of death around her so she could stay strong in faith (and fired hospice nurses for talking too much about death). Now her good report. She had not wanted to die, yet following this physical death could proclaim the greatness of our God. She was not mad at Him for not healing her. She was proclaiming the wonder and beauty of heaven and the gift of true, real freedom through eternal life with Him. She was joy-filled!
Several months later I had a meeting with one of her daughters regarding carrying on Carols At The Capitol which Andrea had founded in 2013 in obedience to the Lord’s request. We spoke about Andrea’s unexpected message. Alanna looked at me squarely. Well, the verse she prayed has gone into fulfillment, hasn’t it.
“I will not die but live and proclaim the works of the Lord.”
Through this brief, supernatural experience, Andrea had fulfilled the Scripture she had prayed for so many months, but in a manner far more profound than she had ever expected. She had hoped to declare a physical healing which revealed the miraculous power of her God. But every person who experiences a miraculous physical healing will still eventually die. That is, except for those who as followers of Jesus enter into their eternal inheritance of living with Him and the saints who have gone before forever in His presence in the eternal Kingdom of God.
Instead the Lord had Andrea proclaim His victory over death through faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord and following Him.
Andrea was not dead. She lived. And now from heaven she proclaimed His greatest work. There was life after death. The Lord God was faithful to fulfill His promises. There was profound, unspeakable grief for those left behind and there would be reunion. To all who would hear, God was real. Death was not the end. Heaven was real. It was all worth it. Glorious!!!
“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:27-29 NKJV)
God would provide. For Andrea the evangelist, this proclamation of the victory of His gift of life beyond death was her greatest and most lasting message.
A few months later while driving a song with melody and lyrics to convey her message dropped into my mind from the Holy Spirit. In 2016 working with Michael Everett at The Creation Lab, and with the additional talents of Mark Davis and Brandon Davis, it was recorded it and placed on my brand new “My Dwelling Place” worship album. It is entitled, “Andrea’s Song”. It is to tell her story. It is to make sure as many as possible hear her faithful declaration which fulfills the Scripture.
ANDREA’S SONG (The LORD is Great)
words and music by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2016
“I will not die but live
And proclaim the works of the Lord.”
This is the verse she prayed
So the Lord would heal her
But the illness could not be stopped
The day came she died
Then came her voice as a whisper
The Lord is great. It’s beautiful here
Tell everyone, I am free
The Lord is great. It’s beautiful here
Tell everyone, I am free
She wanted the world to know her Savior
She wanted the world to choose Him too
She wanted Him to heal, He healed forever
Now she proclaims from heaven she’s alive
Like Andrea, we place our hope on the Lord and His promises until it is our turn to cross over into the fullness of His presence. For now Andrea presence’s here with us during this temporal life is still missed. She is deeply missed by all know knew and loved her. Yet, there will be reunion. The promise is real. Andrea, thank you for reminding us. PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST!
(Note: link for Andrea’s Song will be posted here as soon as available.)
NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM
God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold.
This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner, Accredited Financial Counselor and financial coach with a heart for helping people understand their money and steward it God’s way.
For more information on books, worship albums, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro please visit www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Music can be purchased and audio clips heard at http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.
Elizabeth also posts brief devotions and prayers on Facebook on her page: Spiritual Armor and Ammo where you will find more posts of God’s truth and His way to help you stand strong against the battles of this life in which we all find ourselves.
Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.