I know of a family who, some years back, became very concerned about their daughter’s health.  She’d had cancer once before and there were signs that it might have returned.  Naturally, they went to a doctor to have tests done in order to get answers.  The doctor ordered an MRI, then met with the parents to discuss the results.

“Good news.  There is no cancer,” the doctor said.

But the mother sensed something wasn’t right.  There were all the indications of cancer.  Perhaps the MRI scans hadn’t been studied close enough.  “Can I see the scans?” the mom asked.

“No,” the doctor replied.

“I want to see them,” she insisted.

The doctor still refused.  After all, MRI scans can’t normally be understood by an untrained eye.

But this mother was relentless and the doctor finally gave in—for whatever good it would do her.  What he didn’t know, was that through her daughter’s previous cancer experience, she had learned how to read MRI scans.  She took one look and immediately noticed a big glaring spot that shouldn’t have been there.

“What’s this?” the mom asked.

The doctor hesitated, then said, “It’s cancer.”

It was too big to be missed.  “You knew?” she asked, shocked.

He nodded.

“Then why did you tell us she was cancer free?”

“Because it’s inoperable,” he said.  “There’s nothing I can do for your daughter.”

Maybe he was unable or maybe he was just unwilling to perform such a risky operation (opening him up to a lawsuit), but there are other doctors in the world.  This mom went in search of, and found, a doctor willing to treat her daughter.  It was another long and hard battle, but I am pleased to say that the daughter—now a young woman—is alive and cancer free.  She would be dead if her mother had believed the doctor.

When I first heard what had happened, I was overwhelmed with a mix of anger and horror.  I was so mad that a doctor would lie like that.  I was horrified to think that the same thing could happen to me or a family member.  Unlike this mother, I can’t read MRI scans.  I wouldn’t have seen the cancer—would never have known until it was too late.  I can’t protect myself or my family from such misinformation.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but experts are sometimes wrong, and other times, sadly, they are outright liars, hiding the truth from us.  This principle applies even more when it comes to matters of eternal salvation or damnation.  We are in grave danger if we put our trust in preachers and Bible scholars.  I know it isn’t always easy, but we have to learn how to read God’s word for ourselves—to be able to test what is said.  If our souls really matter to us, we’ll find a way.

I’m also reminded that good news isn’t always good news. Sometimes it’s just flattery.  Tickling the ears (II Tim. 4:3).  I imagine the doctor was trying to protect these parents from a truth too awful to live with.  Some think it is better to be happily ignorant than accurately informed.  What we need is truth.  Regardless of how it makes us feel.  The truth can set us free (John 8:32).  Comfortable lies, on the other hand, doom us.  The mother, armed with the horrible truth, was able to find a solution.

The truth is, not everyone is going to heaven.  Most people aren’t, in fact (Mt. 7:13-14).  The truth is that sin will cost us our souls (Rom. 6:23).  But if we search hard enough—diligent and relentless—we can find the solution to our disease: Jesus.  I’m not saying that following Jesus is easy.  It’s a long and difficult journey.  In the end though, we will be alive in heaven and sin-free.  The truth is worth knowing.