Christian Living

Spiritual Life

There’s Bad News and Good News

bad and good news
Author Biography

    Helen has been writing, editing, and proofreading for CBN since 1986. She enjoys cooking, the Oxford comma, learning guitar, and practicing the remains of her Hebrew with her husband and two adult children.

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Helen R. Smith - Senior Proofreader

The medical report was bad news. I had an acoustic neuroma—technically, a brain tumor. The good news was, it was not, and was never going to be, cancerous. It was very slow-growing, and I probably had had it for decades. It could not spread or invade other tissue. The bad news: It was pressing on several “cranial structures,” my brain stem among them. It would have to be treated. I had several options. 

At the time I didn’t think about all the good news I had received in my life: “It’s a girl!” “We’re going on a vacation,” “I just brewed a fresh pot,” “It’s a boy!” “We’ve decided to offer you the position,” “It’s not the compressor,” “Flight 495 will now begin boarding,” “I want us to always be together,” “The bathroom is right over there” (and there’s no line), “120 people have commented on your post,” “You look like you need a smaller size. I have one right here,” “...he slides into home, and he’s safe!!” (depending on your perspective), “Less than an inch of snow is expected, schools will be closed tomorrow” (depending on your perspective), “I love you.” 

Many of us are still waiting for certain good news, but we’ve all had some. 

God’s people in Judah received some horrendously bad news—through the prophet Joel—that life was about to change for them. In the book of Joel bad news is delivered, then more bad news, and finally good news.

Alas for that day! For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Has not the food been cut off before our very eyes—joy and gladness from the house of our God? (Joel 1:15-16 NIV)

Besides an advancing plague of locusts, there was more bad news, depending on one’s perspective:

I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. (Joel 2:30-31)

Even though God’s people would endure unspeakable suffering, God’s mercy and love toward them was intact: Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. ... Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. (Joel 2:13, 23)

For my treatment, I elected the most radical option, with the support and guidance of my physicians. The plan was to drill into my skull, remove the tumor, and try to spare as many facial and cranial nerves as possible. I’ve been joyfully recovering since that successful surgery. 

Bad news: sin is a problem. It’s terminal, and 100 percent of us are suffering from it. It might not seemimminently threatening, but it needs to go. The Good News is, we have a treatment option: confession of our sin, acceptance of Jesus’ work on the cross, followed by a life of sanctification. We naturally will have questions: “Is the treatment going to be invasive?” (Yes, radically.) “Will recovery be uncomfortable?” (Probably.) “Will I be the same?” (No, and yes.) “Will God be with me?” (Try and stop Him.) “Am I going to live?” Medical answer: “This procedure is not life-threating, but all surgery has some risk. Sign here.” 

In this world, there will always be bad news. God, our Great Physician, has good news. He provides a radical treatment plan for sin and assurance of a full and joyful recovery. 


Scripture is quoted from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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