Fourteen-year-old Phil Parks was an artist. “All of life was art to Phil, and he noticed beauty and color at a very young age,” said his mom, Lydia. Phil especially enjoyed drawing dogs, horses, and other animals, and he won every art contest he entered.
Phil continued drawing, started an online business to sell his art, attended school, and made plans with friends — even after he found out he had glioblastoma, a rare kind of brain cancer.
Because of his illness, Phil often felt sick. One day when he didn’t feel well, he went outside and began to read and pray on his trampoline. “I prayed that God would show that He is near through one of his creatures,” he later told his mother. “Just then, I thought of a red cardinal. When I opened my eyes, a red cardinal flew down to a close branch and watched me for about three minutes! This gives me hope. I’m not afraid to die now. God is with me.”
Phil and his mom
Phil drew the cardinal, and his friends and relatives bought notecards that displayed the drawing. (See the photo above.) A few days before he died last year, Phil asked that profits from his online art sales be donated to The Voice of the Martyrs for medical projects. He wanted to help people like Danjuma, also age 14, who needed many surgeries after an attack on his village.
Phil’s courage and his story continue to inspire others. The governor of Phil’s state of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, proclaimed May “Brain Cancer Awareness Month,” giving other families hope that a cure for brain cancers will be discovered.
Pray for those families and for the persecuted Christians who will be helped by the profits from Phil’s artwork. Pray that they, like Phil, will be able to say confidently, “God is with me.”
Read Ephesians 6:13-17. How do you think the verses might have comforted and strengthened Phil during his illness?
Phil’s drawing of the armor of God is below.