An elderly lady called the hospital switchboard and asked in a soft and gentle voice: "Could someone please tell me how a patient is doing?”

The operator said, “I’ll be glad to help. What’s the patient’s name and room number?”

The elderly lady, talking oh so sweetly, said, “Her name is Alma. She’s in room 319.”

"Let me place you on hold while I check with her nurse,” the operator said.

A couple minutes later, the operator returned to the phone and said, "Oh, I have good news. The nurse just told me Alma is doing very well. Her blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back as normal; and her doctor has scheduled her to be discharged on Thursday."

The elderly lady thanked the operator, telling her, “I had been so worried. I appreciate the wonderful news.”

The operator asked, “Is Alma your daughter?

“No, I’m Alma,” the elderly lady said, her voice not so soft and gentle now. “I called you because these knot heads up here never tell me anything.”

We’d likely all agree that it would be unacceptable for nurses and doctors to withhold good news from patients. In fact, nurses and doctors should be excited to share good news with those they’re responsible for. They should rush to their patients as quickly as possible to let them know they have found a treatment for the condition, so that they can be made well.

Nurses and doctors aren’t the only ones who have good news to deliver. Christians have the best news of all. They know a cure that can prevent sin from destroying people eternally, and Christians have been given the great privilege to share that good news. In fact, Jesus told us: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Gospel, of course, means good news.

We’re all thrilled to receive good news. But isn’t it wonderful to share good news. How many times have we hoped for good news? Words like: “It’s not cancer,” or “We’ve finished the surgery and he’s doing fine,” or, “I’m from Publisher’s Clearing House, and you’ve just won a million dollars.”

All those things would be welcome news, but for a person who is carrying the guilt and shame of sin, there can be no better news than that, through Jesus, your sin can be forgiven and you can be made new.

I’m reminded of Isaiah 1:18, which says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

In that hospital, Alma received good news that she was doing well and would soon be released to go home. In this world, when sin has taken hold and we feel like we’re weighed down with a heavy load, the best news of all comes straight from the mouth of Jesus:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Roger Alford is pastor of South Fork Baptist Church. Reach him at P.O. Box 673, Owenton, Ky. 40359 or 502-514-6857.

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