“I am sorry to inform you that all of the treatments we have tried have failed. Your cancer is spreading. It is time to talk about end of life care for you.”
Words that no patient ever wants to hear had just been spoken in warm sympathetic tones.
“End of life? How long do I have?” asked the patient through the tears welling up..
“Weeks, maybe a few months at most,” the doctor informed.
“So soon. I had hoped for…..” the patient drifted off in thought looking downward.
“Is your spouse waiting for you?” the doctor was concerned.
“Meeting me in a little while.” the patient muttered.
“Feel free to wait in our waiting area. If you need anything, please let us know.” the doctor replied.
As the patient walked to the waiting area memories of all of the chemo sessions flooded in. The first time the nurses were so helpful. Bonding with the other patients. Tears flowing when finding out a fellow patient had died. Celebrating and feeling hope when one of the other patients was in remission.
The patient felt scared, angry and confused all at the same time. Out of anger and despair, the first prayer came forth.
“God I wanted more time, so many things to do, places to see. Why me? What will happen? I don’t know you, I don’t know what happens after, well after, you know. Why won’t you help me? Show me something, anything,”
When the patient entered the waiting area, there was one sole man sitting in one of the cushy chairs. As the patient noticed the man, it seemed as if a peaceful calm came over the patient. The patient felt drawn to the chair next to the man.
“Welcome and have a seat.” as the man spoke, such kindness exuded from his eyes.
“Uhm, okay.” the patient muttered.
“Rough appointment? The man inquired.
“Understatement of the year,” the patient quipped in a sarcastic tone.
“Believe me I understand. I have been there myself.” the man tried to comfort.
“Sorry but you seem so healthy. How could you possibly understand. I am dying. The doctor just told me weeks, maybe a few months. How in the world could you understand?” the patient blurted out.
“Well, I do not understand cancer. That much is true. But I do understand death. Guess you could say been there done that.” the man confided.
“Died? You died? Please spare me.” the patient was exasperated.
“Maybe I should introduce myself. My name is Lazarus. I was sent here today specifically to share with you.” Lazarus explained.
As he spoke, the room around them dimmed except the glow around them. The glow was full of warmth and reassurance.
“Lazarus? That is an odd name.” the patient tried deflecting.
“Yes it is an odd name for these times you live in, but when I was on earth, it was not.” the man replied.
“What do you mean when you were on earth?” the patient thinking inwardly that Lazarus must be a nut case.
“I am no nut case as you are thinking.” Lazarus shared.
“How did you know I was thinking that?” The patient’s curiosity peaked.
“God sent me here to talk with you. I came here from heaven to share my story with you.” Lazarus shared.
“Why me?” the patient asked.
“I am here as God’s answer to your prayer. You wanted to know what will happen. I am here to help you know and have assurance.” Lazarus explained.
“I was kind of hoping for a miracle, you know, poof cancer gone.” the patient quipped.
“I get it.” Lazarus was not thrown off. “Let me share my story with you. It is in the bible in John chapter11, but I will just share my experience. Is that okay?” Lazarus asked.
“I have nothing better to do.” the patient replied.
“Very well then. You have heard of Jesus, haven’t you?” Lazarus asked.
“Just from Christmas songs,” the patient answered.
“Jesus was a personal friend of me and my sisters Mary and Martha when Jesus was on earth. He performed many wonderful miracles. When he spoke about God, we could tell he knew from experience. Eventually we came to realize Jesus is the promised one, the Savior. Jesus had been in our home and taught us about God personally. That is what makes my story hard to understand a little.” Lazarus shared.
“Hard to understand what?” the patient pushed.
“I was very sick one day to the point of being on my death bed. My sisters sent word to Jesus that I was sick. They had hoped he would come right away without delay, but Jesus stayed where he was for two more days. Remember there were no cars or any other such transportation back then. Jesus walked to most of the places he went and it took much longer to get places.”
“He delayed? So what happened?” the patient interrupted.
“Because Jesus delayed, I ended up experiencing what you are afraid of right now, I died.” Lazarus informed.
“You died? So how is it you are talking to me?” the patient asked in disbelief.
“Good question. Jesus did finally arrive in our hometown but by the time he arrived, I had been dead and buried for four days. He asked where my body was. When he got to my tomb, he told them to take the stone away. My sister Martha was worried there would be a bad smell, but Jesus insisted. Knowing Jesus could do miracles, they took the stone away.”
“Dead four days?” The patient was glued to Lazarus’ story.
“Yes, four days. Then Jesus shouted out three words. Lazarus come forth. I was alive again, healed, and came walking out of the tomb.”
“So Jesus can do miracles. Maybe a miracle for me?” the patient asked.
“I am not quite finished with my story. Yes I was dead for four days. Yes, Jesus brought me back to life. But there is a part of my story not recorded. Yes I was blessed with more time in this life with my loved ones and friends. But when I got older I had to die again. You see, I died twice.”
“That doesn’t seem fair to me.” the patient observed.
“True it doesn’t seem fair from our human perspective. But from God’s perspective it is an entirely different matter. The first time I died many people came to believe in Jesus because he brought me back from the dead after being dead for four days. God worked through my suffering to bless not only the people there but countless people who have read about it in the bible for over 2,000 years.”
“So what is God’s perspective for me?” the patient asked while shrinking back into the chair.
“I think my second death will address that. Psalm 116 says-Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. That may sound harsh but from the perspective of Jesus, when we die, it is the time that we come home to him to be with him forever in heaven. That is what happened with my second death. I came home to my eternal home.”
“So how can one be sure they will have this eternal home?” The patient was on the edge of the chair now. A slight hope was filling the patient soul.
“Love that question.” Lazarus smiled. “The whole reason Jesus came to earth was to be our Savior. We are all separated from God because of our sins, the things we do wrong. The judgement for that is death but not only physical death but also eternal and spiritual separation from God. When Jesus died on the cross, he paid the penalty for us. We can be sure of forgiveness, having a relationship with God and eternal life in heaven if we trust in Jesus and believe he is the Savior.” Lazarus explained.
“Is it too late for me?” the patient wondered.
“It is never too late as long as we are alive in this life. It is only too late if we never do in this life. So my advice is to not wait but come to Jesus now.” Lazarus encouraged.
“So what happened the second time you died. What was it like?: the patient tried to change the subject..
“Dying a second time was painful, but as I faced it, I remembered Jesus bringing me back. I also remembered seeing Jesus after he defeated death through his resurrection. That gave me great hope in my final moments.”
“Okay but what was it like entering heaven?” the patient interrupted.
“Entering heaven was beyond description. The beauty and colors are far greater than I can explain. I was greeted by loved ones and friends who had died before me. The best part was seeing Jesus, who had been my friend on earth, had been in my home and eaten meals with me and my sisters, on his throne in heaven. I saw Jesus in all of his glory. And more than that. He looked at me and said, “well done my good and faithful servant. Enter now into your eternal home.”
The patient was mesmerized, “that sounds wonderful. You have given me so much to think about,”
“Don’t take too long my friend. Trust in Jesus now.”
With that Lazarus was gone and the room returned to normal. The patient got up and left.
Written by Matthew Kohrell of encounterswiththeancients.com 6-25-2021