She was only forty-six years old but she had already survived a difficult bout of breast cancer. The combined surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy over the past six months had taken a physical and emotional toll upon her and exaggerated the wrinkles on her face and body, making her appear much older. I quietly entered her hospital room and introduced myself. She managed to force a slight smile as I explained why I was there. I had been consulted by the surgeon and oncologist to perform a fine needle aspiration of a tumor arising in the right side of her abdomen. In all of medicine, there is no quicker and definitive diagnosis than a fine needle aspiration, performed and interpreted by a pathologist. Utilizing a specially designed apparatus, a syringe with a hollow bore needle is maneuvered into position. The pathologist is able to quickly and painlessly insert the needle into a tumor and aspirate a small sample of tumor cells. The contents of the syringe are immediately evacuated onto a glass slide and smeared to a monolayer. A portable microscope is brought to the bedside to confirm the adequacy of the aspiration. Depending upon the location of the tumor, the entire procedure usually takes less than five minutes.
I spent a few minutes with her calmly explaining what I was about to do. Gaining her trust, I proceeded with the aspiration. The sample was adequate and I thanked her for her patience and informed her I would be speaking to her other doctors.
Because of her breast cancer history, the medical team was concerned about a recurrence of her breast cancer. Her radiographic studies strongly suggested this diagnosis as well. We all presumed we knew the answer but we needed a definitive confirmation before the medical team could embark upon a treatment plan. It was a welcome moment of relief when I communicated the benign diagnosis to her medical team a short time later.
There are many encounters in life for which the answer is seemingly obvious, but we need confirmation before we can proceed. For years, I lived a life that convinced me that I was a good person. I would seek to perform acts of kindness. I avoided controversial topics of conversation such as religion and politics. I volunteered my time for worthy causes. I did these things to feel good about myself and look good to others. I thought I knew the answers to life, when, in reality, I needed God to hold a spiritual mirror in front of me so that my true sordid nature would be exposed. Nothing I did could ever restore the broken relationship that my sins had broken with God, my Creator. The confirmation that I was a sinner needed the intervention of a sovereign God. He brought me to my knees, confessing and repenting of my sins, and accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 (ESV)
God speaks to each of us in a unique voice and when He acts, He can give confirm the diagnosis of our true sinful nature quicker and more accurately than any diagnostic procedure man can ever devise. Jesus Christ is the Great Physician.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.