Downtown Hospital Radiology Waiting Room - it's all about the formalism. by p0ps Harlow

Marie sat down next to me in the waiting room of the radiology lab where I was waiting for my Mom to finish with one of her treatments for her lung cancer.

I asked Marie, “So what are you in for?”

She told me that she has a tumor on her pancreas. She she that the doctors told her that there’s not too much hope, but that maybe they could slow the growth with radiation. Tears started to come to her eyes….and mine.

I told Marie that she was God’s liitle girl ( nearing 80 years old). I told her that in her baptism, the Lord Jesus had adopted her and made her His very own little girl.

I told her that Jesus never forgets or goes back on His promises and that someday she will be with Him in a Paradise, and that it will be so unbelievable that she’ll wonder why it took God so long to bring her there.

There was no need to give Marie any law. She was already enveloped in the law.  Death is staring her in the face every moment of every day.

To ask her to make a decision for Jesus would just be throwing another demand, or law at her. She didn’t need that. She needed to hear the gospel.

I asked her if she went to church. She said she was Catholic and hadn’t been in church for about 40 years.

I told her that she might want to go back and receive Communion and hear the promises of God again.

She said that she thought it was too late and I assured her that it was not.

I didn’t try to sell Lutheranism to her. What would be the point in that at this stage of the game?

Please pray for Marie…and my Mom.


Thank you. 






5 Responses

  1. There is nothing like God’s megaphone of big suffering. I am sure she heard you very well. May the Holy Spirit get through to her that the Lord wants good for her and has been holding out his love to her, all this time.

  2. “May the Holy Spirit get through to her that the Lord wants good for her and has been holding out his love to her, all this time.”

    That’s my prayer as well, Brigitte.

    Thanks, friend.

  3. The last ten years of my mom’s life, my sisters and I spend many hours in various cancer treatment centers with her. There are many Marias to be found in each such center. They always need to hear words of hope! Condemnation is never productive at such junctures in life…each of us knows we have failed miserably in promises we will never be able to keep. Confidently holding up the faithfulness of Jesus is what all Marias need to hear!

  4. We often talk of hope for the future, but not often about death. Death is not bad for a Christian, but dieing is messy, often painful, and hard to welcome. You are wise, I feel, not to ask for decision, or conversion, but to remind gently what is most likely often known, Jesus loves you, and awaits.

  5. Steve,

    I think Marie’s story is the majority report of Christians damaged by the “church” out there. I know it is in our families. You are right you can’t “sell them on Lutheranism” at that point, but give that grace to them which it contains rather than a new decission to make or some other appeal to do.

    Many in my family’s history, mostly baptist or methodist, have been so long burn’t on that which parades itself around as the “church” that they’ll not hear even an opening, “No it’s different here, Jesus really forgives you Himself here”. It’s hard to approach them if not down right impossible. They’ve heard that before only to find it as a “bait and switch” routine or a “…aahh we got you in now here is the fine print on the “gospel” or some other form of taking away with the left hand what the right hand gives.

    You made the MOST CENTRAL point about Marie’s and similar situation that many never see…in such she is drapped in Law (pain, suffering, death, the threat of… or actual).

    My wife has had to do that with a couple of dying family members before. They’ve been in and out of so many false churches and failed, walked away, you name it…now they are dying or close to it what can you give them but the Gospel and that in baptism. Though my wife’s discussions with such I’ve tangentially seen baptism be the strongest medicine (Gospel) in those dying moments. It’s something they’ve been told NEVER to trust in all their lives, but now they are suffering. And false gospel has NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING to offer them.

    Dr. Rosenbladt once said (paraphrased), “I always take it to death, I’m dying now, what do you have for me”

    In Christ,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: