The phone rang at precisely 3pm. Jack approached it with apprehension and picked it up. He knew who it would be. Dr Jones had said that he would phone with the test results as soon as they were at hand. Jack had been sweating on these results since he went to the pathologist two days ago.
Tracy had been in the kitchen making a cup of tea when the phone rang. She immediately went to Jack's side and watched as the colour drained from his face. It was obviously bad news. They had feared the worst, cancer and the look on Jack's face confirmed their worst fears. Tracy began to cry. Jack scribbled some things on a notepad then put the phone down.
Jack had begun to feel a heaviness in his chest four weeks ago and then came the coughing. At first it was just a thick sputum but after a while he began to notice blood. He wanted to put off going to see Dr Jones but Tracy insisted to Jack that he should see him. An X ray revealed that there was something in his chest and Dr Jones collected some of his sputum and blood to send to the pathology lab.
"What happens now?" Tracy asked.
"Dr Jones has referred me to a specialist. He was fortunate enough to get an appointment next week on Tuesday at 2pm. Dr Simon's rooms are in the city. I need to have a scan of my chest tomorrow and take the report along with the pathology results with me. Dr Jones will leave a referral for the specialist for me to pick up this afternoon.
The first thing Jack noticed when he entered the waiting room was large the fish tank in the corner. Watching fish swim about was supposed to be relaxing but Jack was beyond help. He feared that the cancer was too far gone and nothing could set his mind at ease. He handed the referral over to the receptionist, a pretty but efficacious young lady and was directed to a seat.
There was one other person in the waiting room. Jack hoped that it was just someone waiting for the patient presently in the consulting room which would mean that he would be next. He looked around the waiting room. Apart from the fish tank there were a number of paintings on the walls, all in pastel colours, designed to relax. They were not working on Jack.
A magazine rack held several copies of Women's Day and New Idea. He rifled through it until he found a copy of Time. An article on the Tsunami that ravaged Japan held his interest for a few minutes but he could not concentrate for long. He returned the magazine to the rack.
The door to the consulting room opened and a woman emerged. The man who had been sitting next to him stood up and joined her at the reception desk. Dr Simon smiled at Jack and beckoned him in. After closing the door he pointed to a chair and Jack sat down.
After auscultating Jack's chest and taking his blood pressure Dr Simon sat behind the desk. He seemed hesitant, as though not sure what to say at first. "I'm afraid you have a very rare and very aggressive form of cancer. Chemotherapy has been tried with this kind before with no success. Unfortunately it is now too large for surgery." Dr Simon's words hung in the air and Jack waited for him to give him other options. None were forthcoming and the silence was loud.
"Do you mean there is nothing you can do?" Jack was incredulous.
Dr Simon could barely look Jack in the eye. He shook his head.
Suddenly Jack felt a heavy sensation in his chest and it wasn't the growth. This was tantamount to a death sentence. "How long do I have doctor?"
"It is hard to say, but it has already grown rapidly." Dr Simon paused. "Your prospects are not good."
Jack went home with a heavy heart. This growth was going to kill him and from Dr Simon's tone he didn't have long. How would he tell Tracy? He wondered why this was happening to him and began to rue the day he was born.
He arrived home to find Tracy waiting to hear the news. One look at his face and she began to cry. She could see the death sentence in his face. They sat embracing each other until they heard a knock on the door. They didn't want to answer it at first. They were not in the mood for visitors. But the knock was persistent. This visitor was not going away.
Tracy reluctantly got up to answer the door. She hoped it was not a salesman and resolved to close the door in his face if it was. The man at the door said that he had something life-changing to offer them both. Tracy was about to close the door but for some reason she did not. She does not know why but she let the stranger come into the house.
The man sat on their lounge and looked Jack in the eye. "I know that you have a terminal cancer and that you are beyond treatment."
Jack was aghast. How did this stranger know? Did Dr Jones or Dr Simon tell him? Surely not! Doctors are supposed to uphold patient confidentiality. Tracy was appalled that this man knew about Jack's prognosis and was prepared to eject him from the house.
"Just give me one minute." The man paused. "If you believe in me and choose to meet with me, your cancer will be taken away from you. Your body will be clean of this disease and you will be made new. It will be just as if you had never had the cancer in the first place."
Jack wondered about this. The stranger was claiming that he can take away my cancer if I just believed in him. How could this be? Yet Jack knew that he was consigned to a death sentence by the cancer and was prepared to do anything to get rid of it. He agreed to put his faith in the man and meet with him every day.
Over the next few days Jack began to feel better. He was no longer coughing up blood and his breath seemed to come easier. He went to see Dr Jones who sent him for another scan and made another appointment for him with Dr Simon.
Dr Simon ushered him into his consulting room and pointed him to a chair. "I understand you are free of symptoms." Dr Simon took the scan and put it up on the light box. He stood looking at it for a while rubbing his chin then turned around and sat behind his desk.
Dr Simon turned around and looked at the scan still sitting on the light box before addressing Jack. "I don't understand this. Two weeks ago your lungs were riddled with cancer, now there is not a sign of it. How can this be?" He stood up, picked up another scan and put it beside the present scan. "This was your lungs two weeks ago."
Jack could see a marked difference between the two scans. It was true. Where there was once a large mass, the lungs were now clear.
I am not attempting to say that your faith will heal you. Faith does not mean believing that God will heal you but that He can. But that is not the point of this story.
Sin is like a disease that, like Jack's cancer, brings with it a death penalty. All of us are subject to this disease called sin (Rom3:23). We are all likewise subject to a death sentence (Rom6:23). But Jesus came into the world to take this death sentence away from us (Jn3:16). All we have to do is believe that His death is sufficient to take away our sins (Mk10:45) and that in rising from the dead we too may have eternal life (1Cor15:20-22).
Jesus wipes away all our sins. We are clean because of His sacrificial death and, like Jack's lungs it is as though the sin never existed. We are completely made clean. Put your trust in Him.
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