Little Johnny

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Is. 7:10-14; Ps. 40:5-11; Heb. 10:4-10; Lk.1:26-38


Visiting Little Johnny’s Sunday school class, the pastor asked, “Who wants to go to heaven?”  Every hand was raised but Johnny’s, so the pastor asked, “Don’t you want to go to heaven?”  Little Johnny said, “Some day yes, but I thought you were going today.”

My “Little Johnny” moment came September 30, 2000, at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota.  A month earlier, a biopsy had revealed an aggressive cancer that had spread, but we didn’t know how far.  My doctor recommended surgery, but said there was a possibility the cancer had metastasized and palliative care might be my only option.

Awaiting surgery, I thanked God for all His gifts.  I had a wonderful family, and, though my father died shortly after I turned 14, my mother lived until just two months earlier.  God let me grow up in a Christian home, get a good education, and do rewarding work for three decades.  He provided everything I ever needed, though not necessarily everything I wanted.  If I died that day, I would spend eternity with Him and with my parents.  But if He let me live, I needed guidance on what to do.  A feeling of peace washed over me.

When the anesthesia wore off, the surgeon said he believed they had removed all the cancer, and it hadn’t spread beyond nearby lymph nodes.  More than sixteen years later, I’m cancer-free, and every day since has been a gift from God.

Like Little Johnny, I preferred to wait for heaven, but the timing is God’s, not mine.  I haven’t lived up to the promises I made that day, but I have tried.  And I know that whenever I have failed, God’s grace has granted me forgiveness.

— Van Magers