It is the end of the semester and the end of my seminary career. I figured all I had to focus on this week was finishing up papers, looking for a job, and learning to be a parent.
Then, I received a phone call on Tuesday morning…”Wesley, the doctor would like for you to come in to talk about the biopsy.”
Never a good sign.
I am very grateful for this early detection. And I know that skin cancer has an extremely high success rate–the doctor-sounding term is “very positive prognosis.” Anytime a doctor can speak that affirmatively, I will take it.
So people keep asking me, am I scared…and in all honesty, I am not that scared. I have seen first hand the full brunt of severe cancers such as lung cancer. So, I know that skin cancer is nothing compared to those things–it just gave me a small glimmer of what millions of people go through all the time.
For many people it changes their lives, for me it has merely changed my week. I did not expect my final week of seminary to involve sitting in doctor’s offices, having blood drawn, chest x-rays and plastic surgery.
But the final lesson I have learned at seminary occurred in the chapel. I went to the seminary’s daily worship service after getting that phone call.
I sat in the back row, made little contact with the people around me, read scripture and prayed–and I longed for the Word of God.
Unfortunately, the preacher that morning focused on a personal agenda. He wanted to hammer home his point and kept saying, “I know I am stretching the biblical text here to make my point, but…” And at the end of the sermon, students applauded the preacher, not out of reverent praise of God but because of the preacher’s humor, sexual innuendoes or something.
I just sat there, dumbfounded in the back row.
Again, I am thankful that my situation is not dire, nor that scary; but I still left feeling empty.
Someone came looking for the Hope of Jesus Christ. Someone just found out he had cancer and was in need of God’s healing Word. Someone desperately wanted to hear the good news of the Gospel, that God is sovereign and in control. And that opportunity was lost.
This was the lesson I learned–when we are preaching we need to remember that the visitor on the back row is in desperate need of hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ.