The sound of the closing door sounded like the gavel of a heartless judge sentencing me to death. The doctor had just left my room after telling me in not too subtle ways that I was spending my last days on earth. In his frenetic pace, he had forgotten to remove the film from the X-ray box and I could see where he pointed out the cancer cells metastatically invading my lungs. He had concluded that the chemotherapy was now just academic, using water pistol against an enraged giant. This is the point at which I would have bawled my eyes out at the despondency of it all if it had been months ago but I was past that now. Ever since I came across the scriptures that said “from the rising of the sun until it’s going down, the name of the Lord is to be praised” I had resolved that there was no room for sorrowing anymore. Those words told me that my job was to praise God and maintain a positive attitude all day long. It is impossible to praise God and lament at the same time, absolutely impossible!
Even the acidic flood of regret that used to eat away at my soul had been done away with. When the diagnosis of the disease was confirmed, I kept beating myself on the head for never taking the teachings that my Pastors gave concerning healing and divine health seriously. Those teachings have been from my student days. I used to feel they were for a rag tag bunch of apostles and their followers in another time and age. It made sense to get all heated up about laying of hands and anointing oil way back before Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin and Medicine gave us gifted hands like Ben Carson. Furthermore, my father was a Professor of medicine. I was too intellectual and analytical to comprehend the spiritual. If it could not be explained logically to me then it was poppycock! Yeah, that was the kind of Christian I used to be.
When hell’s infernal arrow struck my health, I was still my usual cocky self since I believed it was another bout of flu trying to shake me up. Nothing some of Mama Nkechi’s chicken or goat head pepper soup won’t be able to handle. I was also a health nut and didn’t joke with my diet. That was until my father saw my lab results and wept like a baby. My unflappable, professor of medicine dad! It was then I knew I was in trouble. Boy!!! From that time onwards, my life became suffering’s perpetual abode.
My days of being an unbelieving believer are past me now. I am no longer the skeptic I used to be. I know better and have been living on the river banks of God’s word. Drinking in healing scriptures until it seemed I was going to burst. Healing tapes from Kenneth Copeland had been playing nonstop on my phone. Piles of books on healing enough to shame the great library of Alexandria were spilling over at my desktop. Time not spent listening to messages or reading was spent confessing, worshipping and praising.
For some reason tonight was a bit different. There was a distinctive atmosphere that hovered in the room. As I listened to Isaiah 53 on my audio bible, the flagellation of Jesus became so real. I saw the many headed branches of the whip like serpents from Medusa’s head crack through the air with hissing fury. They buried their fangs into His back and ripped open His skin until His back became a crisscross of mutilated flesh. The leather was coiled slowly and wound with hate in the hands of the soldier, then unleashed again and again. The whip kept swishing and singing to the venomous intent of the Punisher. The hydra headed instrument wrapped around His body and ripped until it tore, flayed and shredded the skin into stripes and stripes and more bloody stripes…it was difficult to comprehend that my healing was tied to the bloody stripes of skin. However, the new me does not have to understand to believe. All that is required is faith in the finished work of Christ. I resolved within me that the punishment of Jesus would not be in vain in my life. I would fight for the free health package that he paid for in a gruesome way.
I kept rewinding, replaying and confessing until I dropped off the edge of consciousness into the inky dark ocean of sleep and dreams. As I slept, the waters stirred…
The waters stirred and a nightmarish double headed serpentine figure broke the inky surface. Slimy and smelly, it shook the black water off. The offensive odour of death and corruption emanating from it choked me. Gargantuan in size, it looked at the puny human before it with disdain. Smoke poured from its flared nostrils as its long forked tongue darted in and out. Pin pointed pupils glowed like hot red coals and were full of malevolent abhorrence. With a sinking feeling, I realized that the object of its hate, the puny human was me. Without being told I knew the horror before me was the root of my sickness. The hateful beast was a purveyor of infirmity, a serpent of pestilence.
I looked around me and found I was standing on a narrow piece of rock which seems to be as old as eternity. It jutted out of the whole expanse of water in daring defiance. To survive I had to keep my footing since all around me was a sinking morass of death. The beast also knew this and came at time with a scream that turned all my bones into ice. I looked around me for something, anything that might be used as an offensive weapon but found nothing except a dog eared bible. Since there was nothing else to hold, I grabbed it and something incredible happened… I was transformed into a warrior in the similitude of a Roman soldier. Helmet, mail, shield, shoes and sword clothed me. The revelation that the word was a convertible resource of heaven overwhelmed me. I had never fought with a sword before, but the steel felt so right in my hand and glowed with a fire which lit up this place of desolation.
The creature got madder; it was a creature of the dark and hated light. It could not comprehend this light that shined in this dank place of eternal darkness. It breathed fire at me, lashed out with its razor sharp tail, snapped with its fangs and tried to uproot me from my rocky perch into the murky waters, but I stood. I took all it had to give, flames and all. I knew the way out of this battle was to persist and my persistence paid off. It got angrier and tired. I fought a good fight and kept my shield of faith. I finally reaped the rich dividends of hours upon hours of studying. I had shown myself approved and it had manifested with battling skills I never knew I possessed.
The monster was getting tired and in a last desperate attempt came in for the kill. Funny, as it got weaker, I got stronger. All the while i kept shouting “by His stripes, I am healed!” The atmosphere echoed with the increasing decibel of my voice. Its talon came for my head and I blocked with my shield. It was a motion that could have decapitated me but it was like a baby punch when it landed on my shield. I had been on the defensive, now I moved in to attack. Primeval savagery possessed me. Brandishing my sword, righteous indignation and violence bubbled within like hot magma in an active volcano. In this battle only the violent can take it by force. How dare this creature of hell touch me! I am the temple of God! Desecrating His temple is not allowed. I hacked and stabbed with fury, gave it a taste of burning steel. Its greenish blood hissed and smoked as it flowed into the dark water. As its blood flowed, its life ebbed. One head finally drooped and collapsed on the rock. I quickly beheaded it. After that it was easy pickings. Evil eventually submitted to good. The monster finally lay dead at my feet…
I woke up feeling more refreshed than I had been in months with the honeyed taste of victory in my mouth. I had looked down on the word of life, taken the word that moulded the universe for granted. I had all but lost my life if not for mercy. For that I was so grateful. I very well know that not everyone who flippantly walked down the path unbelief I did, lived to tell the tale.
First sign of improvement was that I started tolerating my meals. I made quick work of the “moin moin and pap” laid before me. Food had never tasted so good. The Oncologist managing me could not believe the results of the subsequent blood tests.
“I have been in this business for decades but I have never experienced a complete remission like this,” he said, waving the sheaves of negative results he held in a frenzied way.
“I can explain Sir,” I replied, smiling.
He came and sat on the edge of my bed……..
He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed….
© 2014 Ekpo Ezechinyere