International evangelist Luis Palau has revealed that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Stage 4 cancer is the most advanced stage, which for lung cancer has (in general) a five-year survival rate of less than 10 percent.
Palau's said the first thing he did when he heard the news was cry. "It was a shock," said Luis. "I haven't been in a hospital one night, except when I broke a bone back in 1984 after Mission to London."
"The first thing you do, in my case, is cry. I think, 'oh wow, I could be gone in a few months,'" said the senior Palau. But he doesn't feel "panic or horror."
"Many people are praying that the Lord would do a miracle," he said. "It would literally take a miracle. Medically speaking ... stage 4 is big time."
Although the news is grave, Palau said he has peace that surpasses all understanding. "Peace with the Lord is deep. One verse that hit me hard is Isaiah 41:10 - 'Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed. I am your God," he said. "I know that the Lord is with me by the Holy Spirit indwelling."
On the ministry's website, Palau wrote in a health update:
As we seek the best medical advice and counsel, we're also trusting the Lord and praying for complete healing. I would ask you to join us in that prayer. We'll be sure to keep you updated.
In many ways, I feel the Lord has much more in store for me. Yet whatever tomorrow holds-I'm completely at peace. Both Patricia and I are. As we look back, we praise the Lord. Fifty-seven years of marriage. How many places we've been. How many people we've reached with the Gospel.
I hold strong to verses like Isaiah 41:10: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Palau had a long and close relationship with evangelist Billy Graham, and has been characterized by many as Graham's successor. "One of the world's leading evangelical Christian figures," he is known for his strong appeal to young people, and for his efforts to reach out to secular leaders to address issues like homelessness.
In 2007, he was estimated to have shared the message of Jesus Christ with 25 million people in 70 nations. Palau's ministry employs 70 people in their headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon and another 25 around the world which include offices in Buenos Aires, Argentina and London, England.