Let me tell you why…….

1 year, 4 months ago 21
Posted in: blog



Next month I will turn 77 years old.  My father passed away just short of his 66th birthday, and for that reason I’ve assumed most of my life that I wouldn’t live much longer than that, thankfully I was wrong, but the clock is ticking and is counting down every day. None of us knows when God will call us home, but since it is getting late in the 4th quarter I have something very important to share with whomever reads this. 


When I was a young man I did not really like myself very much.  I, like everyone else, wanted to like myself.  I was pretty good at photography and I saw that as my ticket to being somebody special enough that even I would be proud of myself.  I worked very hard, studied my mistakes, of which there were many, and then improved.  Over time the hard work paid off and I was starting to get some recognition for my efforts.  I was 35 years old and things couldn’t have been better, until my Doctor said these words, “Bill it’s cancer and I’m afraid it is multi- strained cancer and the survival rate is around 3 to 5%.”


How would you react to that diagnosis?!  Yep, that is exactly how I felt.  I was in the prime of my life, loved my family, and things were heading  where I hoped to go in life.  Now I  had a few months to live and it was soon all to be over.  I had surgery and they removed a tumor about the size of man’s fist from my lower stomach.  For the next three days I spent  in my hospital bed and went through the stages of grief.  First, I was angry at God.  I was not a bad person, at least not in my own eyes, so why me?  That didn’t last long, I knew in my heart that I was not evil person but far from perfect and at a time like this being mad at God seemed pretty pointless.  Next came self pity, but it did not take me long to know that while the cancer was not fair, life is not fair and bad things happen to people all the time so I couldn’t allow myself to go down that road.


The last stage was resignation, but not without a fight.  On the last night before my doctor was to return with my final pathology and any thought of an attempt to treat the cancer, I prayed.  It was not a King James prayer it was mostly weeping and asking God to give me the strength to hold up so it would be not any harder on my family.  I ended my prayer with an attempt to cut a deal with God.  It was a simple proposal, “God if you would let me live long enough to see my three children grown and not in need of an everyday father, I won’t serve you every day for the rest of my life, I will serve you every moment for the rest of my life.”  That night I got the best night’s sleep I’d had since getting the news of my cancer.


The next morning my doctor arrived in my room with a smile on his face.  I wondered what he was so happy about?  He said, “I have good news and bad news, which do you want first, still smiling.”  I said give me the bad, he said the tumor we removed was definitely cancer, he then said the good news is it is not the kind of cancer we thought, the kind you have has a treatment success rate of 95%!


At that moment my life changed forever!  I knew God had answered my prayer!  I’ve had unbelieving friends ask if I really believed God had changed the cancer or could the doctor have just guessed wrong?  Truthfully it didn’t matter, God had gotten my attention!  I truly believe that they call this in heaven “A Wake Up Call.”


So there you have it, I have kept my word to my Heavenly Father. I’m still far from perfect, but I’m perfectly devoted to serving Him and sharing His incredible love with everyone I come in contact with.  God has richly blessed me beyond my wildest dreams but not with becoming a famous photographer, that it turns out is a figment of people’s imagination.  There is no such thing.  I received a gift far more precious, peace and joy!


So if you ever wondered what made me tick, there you have it. If you didn’t wonder that is ok too.  But if by any chance you don’t have peace and Joy and the life you wanted you now know where to find it!




the pilgrim







21 Responses

  1. Carl says:

    That story is as good as it gets!!! Thank you!!

    I’ve known you for a dozen years, have heard parts of it but never the whole story. Thanks so much for putting it in writing!!!

    • Bill+Fortney says:

      Time is running out, not just for me! As we watch the world collapse into spiritual depravity, we must encourage those that will listen to reach out to our only hope! I wrote this in desperation for those that are not listening! I pray they hear.

  2. James+Haverstock says:

    You are and have been His ambassador. A job for life.

  3. Homer Fortney says:


  4. Homer Fortney says:


  5. Bill+Fortney says:

    ❣️ Back at you brother !

  6. Rodney McKnight says:

    Bill, thank you for sharing your love for Him and your faith all these years. It has meant a lot to me and I am sure people”s lives have been changed. Thanks for sharing your testimony.

  7. Bill+Fortney says:

    You mean a great deal to me Rodney, my face lights up when I know I will see you in the field!

  8. Bill, I come to your blog every day to learn from you. Today was a powerful message that really struck me and moved me. Next month I will turn 76 (one year behind you.) I have had cancer and a couple of other health issues that have really set me back. I’ve always had a relationship with God but continued a life of my own desires. God still loved me and forgave me of my sins. As I have gone through these trials it has brought me much closer to God and a realization that only through him can we truly find peace. You are a very good man and I have followed your blog for years and then had the good fortune to meet you in Nashville at one of your classes. I feel very blessed to have met you and the great Joe McNally. Your faith and dedication to God, your family, and your friends is self evident in all that you do. May God bless and keep you.

    • Bill+Fortney says:

      I found it a blessing to think I’ve, through Christ, have encouraged and blessed you!
      Look forward to seeing you again someday!

    • Bill+Fortney says:

      I feel fortunate, that through the Lord, you’ve been encouraged and blessed! I really enjoyed meeting you in Nashville, and hope to see you again someday, if not here at the Gate!

  9. David Berry says:

    God Bless Bill, May God give you many more years of life to influence people like me.
    Blessings my friend!

    • Bill+Fortney says:

      Kind of you to say that David, but to God be all the glory, my part has always been to be obedient to His word! Miss seeing you, hope I do again soon!

  10. Bob Lieber says:

    It doesn’t matter how many times I hear your testimony, it still gives me chills. Thanks my brother for inspiring me to be a better Christian, a better man, and a better friend. God Bless you and keep you!

  11. Bill+Fortney says:

    You truly are a great friend and wonderful brother!

  12. Rick Coleman says:

    The way you share your testament and devotion to Christ so freely and openly has been an inspiration to me. It has given me the confidence and strength to try to be more open and sharing about my own faith as well. Thank you for the example of your faith.

  13. Dick+Ginkowski says:


    Your testimony never gets old. I admire and respect how you aren’t afraid to share it from the heart. Also, how your faith has carried you through some tremendous losses and challenges.

    Maybe sometimes others see things. I sense that among the talents you were given is teaching. Communication. And I sense that’s part of God’s plan for you. If so, stay the course.

  14. Bill, your testimony is so very powerful. I thank the Lord for you and for how He has worked in and through you to touch the lives of thousands. As I say, every life tells a story – heaven will tell the whole story of all that God has done. I’m thankful for you in my life. I loved what you wrote about the fact that if God would let you live, you wouldn’t serve Him every day, but every moment of your life. That speaks to my heart. May the Lord richly bless you in your birthday month – “As your days, so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25). Blessings, Catherine