My wife’s purposeful steps aroused my slumber, dimmed light from a cloudy sky brightened our bedroom, my thoughts turned to a small warm 4-year-old body lying next to me, “When did she climb into my bed?” I opened my eyes and saw my beautiful wife. Dressed for her Saturday morning women’s Bible study, I sat up to enjoy her presence and then she asked me to brace myself for difficult news.
“Chadwick Boseman was dead! He died of colon cancer. He was your age.” Each of these statements moved me uncomfortably. Boseman was Black Panther, the Black superhero! I viewed the film with my wife and teenagers. We were that family that posted a photo online with our African print clothing before entering the cinema. Mack, my son, loves superheroes, but this fictional character was extraordinary for him. A Black man, representing the African continent, was a superhero he could identify with. The live action star, Boseman, kept his four-year-old diagnosis hidden from the media and succumbed to colon cancer.
I still remember those words from my doctor over 20 years ago. “You will develop colon cancer in 10 years,” can you imagine a 20-year-old Rice University student receiving those words. After hospital visits and experimental drugs failed to give me relief from the pain, I made a vow. I recall pleading to the Lord saying, “If you want me to enter the mission field you must heal me from this affliction.” Because of his mercy 20 years ago, he gave me this testimony. I am ministering in South Africa today, healed with no symptoms. Boseman was 43, my age.
My wife hurried off to her morning women’s Bible study and left breakfast for me and the kids. I walked in the family room and revealed to Mack, Black Panther died of colon cancer. Dejected, he sat on the couch in solemn reflection. My two teenage daughters were also shocked to discover Chadwick Boseman’s passing but knowing my testimony they asked if I would get a colonoscopy. I hesitated to answer, but my 17-year-old son nodded in agreement with his sisters. He stared at me and shared, “I don’t want to lose another superhero.”