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Keeping the Faith




Submitted by:
Jordan Vargo

Nathanael Wiles, 28, is an extraordinary young man in many ways. On the surface, the most exceptional thing about him might be the long scar across the side of his skull—though it’s less noticeable these days. Mostly grown over with hair now, it was hard to ignore just a few years ago. It’s the telltale sign of man or a woman battling brain cancer, and the result of that punishing trio—the craniotomy, radiation, and chemo. For Nathanael, like so many others, it all started with a seizure. Nathanael’s first seizure came on Christmas Eve, 2015, during his second year of medical school. And on Christmas Day, his first-ever brain scan showed a large mass in his frontal temporal lobe, later to be diagnosed as Grade III Astrocytoma. 


But for those who have met Nathanael, brain cancer is the least exceptional thing about him. Instead, it might be his meticulous and extensive insect collection, which rivals the Natural History Museum. Or the fact that he can play virtually every instrument known to man, including the bagpipes and the accordion. But most likely, at least for those who know him well, the most exceptional thing about him is the depth and sincerity of his faith in Christ. As a young man, Nathanael sensed God’s call to pursue medicine and enter the mission field, and he has remained tirelessly committed to that calling through all of his trials with cancer. Always striving to complete his medical education, (Now working as a doctor at a trauma hospital!) and never wasting an opportunity to share the Gospel with any who would listen, his determination and passion to share Christ would be rare traits in anyone. Even more astounding is the sincerity of his personal faith in Christ. From a young age, Nathanael chose, as the parable says, to ‘build his house upon the rock’, placing his trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sin and the hope of life everlasting. And these have been the bedrock of his confidence during all the trials of his battle with cancer, enabling him to, in the truest sense, ‘keep the faith,’ with his eyes looking upward and outward in hope.