A Bad Diagnosis

doctor-563428_640Three times, I’ve been relieved to hear a bad diagnosis.

Only people who have struggled with mysterious symptoms that seem to have no treatment, no abatement, no cure will understand how a bad or delayed diagnosis can be good news.

Years ago, my husband’s life was, for five years, like a real life medical drama. He battled a mystery illness and pursued courses of treatment that created more problems than they cured.

Whenever we prepared to visit a new doctor to receive test results, we were more devastated to have no answers than we would be if we were receiving news of a life-threatening disease with a name. When at last he met a doctor with the correct hard diagnosis and an effective challenging treatment, we were relieved.

Frustration and despair could easily have been added to his symptom list before that. I experienced the same maddening aggravation in my late teens before I was diagnosed with lupus. Enduring treatments that don’t touch the disease is a trial in its own right. When a doctor named my condition, I was re-energized to battle it.

My college psychology professor used to say “the facts are our friends; truth is always on our side no matter what that truth is.” An inaccurate diagnosis, a wrong course of treatment, false hopes – these are the enemies – not the truth.

My husband and I used to enjoy watching House. That’s the medical drama about the damaged but brilliant doctor who solves medical mysteries that elude other medical professionals. He was usually the last hope for his patients and because of that, unlike other medical shows where a patient is devastated to receive a dire diagnosis; these patients welcomed the life-altering news.

Why? The patients have suffered with symptoms they know are real. They’ve tried, sometimes, dozens of other avenues for treatment and cure. More often than not, the incorrect treatment was not only ineffective for solving their problem; it created more problems and sometimes threatened their lives.

The correct diagnosis, even if it is a terrible one, is better than not knowing the truth.

This is why most Christians were relieved to learn the condemning news, the devastating diagnosis, that we are sinners with no hope of saving ourselves.

You see, we knew something was wrong inside us – something life threatening.

We suffered from the symptoms but could not find the root cause no matter where we looked – and we looked. We pursued all kinds of false diagnoses. We tried every self-help treatment available and followed every healer who told us they knew the cure for what ailed us. Those false cures were not only ineffective; they usually created more problems, some of them life-threatening.

Then, one day, someone told us they knew what was wrong. That person may have exhibited compassion or they may have had the bedside manner of Dr. House, we didn’t care. They knew the truth about our condition – we were sinners with no hope of saving ourselves facing a sentence of death.

This was one of the three times in my life I welcomed a bad diagnosis. The news that I am a sinner incapable of arranging my own salvation.

Rather than be offended or devastated by the news, we were relieved to hear the truth that somehow we already knew. We’d suffered the symptoms of our sinful condition for so long we were ready for the cure.

And THAT was the good news. The cure is available for us. The cure of trusting Jesus Christ with our lives.

No longer did we have to search bookstores and drugstores, gurus and shamans, backrooms or bedrooms for treatments that only quelled the symptoms but did nothing to touch the disease. Now we were free to pursue the effective treatment available through an eternal relationship with the God of the universe.

The Great Physician has a 100% survival rate among those who are willing to receive the truth and trust His prescription for their lives.

When is a bad diagnosis good news? When it leads to a cure. Jesus is the cure for what ails you. Are you ready to take the cure? Do you want to be healed?

**I have been healed of lupus going on 22 years now. My husband was healed of that rare kidney disease. We have both been healed through our relationship with Jesus Christ. That doesn’t mean life is free of challenges. In the recent past, we’ve faced other hard medical diagnoses. We’ve learned to endure and learn to thrive even in troubled times. I’ve learned some effective strategies for hard times by studying David’s time on the run from Saul. I’d love to share it with you. Contact me. We’ll talk.

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    The Conversation

  1. Tammy Smith says:

    Ohhhh,I loved this! One of my favorite preachers is a short man with a funny mustache…Ray Comfort.I love the way he shares the Gospel with people.He first gets them to admit they are sinners by their own admission.He goes through a few of the 10 Commandments and once they admit they have lied,stolen,lusted after another person,he tells them they are bound for Hell.BUT: He then says [this is my favorite part!!!]
    “God is RICH IN MERCY!!!!” And then tells them all about Jesus! I cannot get enough of watching people’s faces as they realize they are sinners and then hear GOD IS RICH IN MERCY,through Jesus Christ! What a great post! Thank you and LORD Jesus bless you.

  2. Pegg Thomas says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head with the non-diagnosis drama. I’ve been in that limbo for a couple of years now. I’d never equated it with sin and salvation. Nicely done!