When Should a Sick Man Take Medicine?

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 5
A Christian doctor one day called to see an old man he had frequently visited before. Many times Dr. Strong had spoken faithfully to old John and his wife about their soul's salvation, but apparently without result.
Old John listened attentively and tacitly agreed to the truth set before him, but seemed always to avoid coming to the point.
He would willingly admit that he was a sinner—that he stood in need of God's salvation. He would even declare his intention of some day seeking the Savior. He wished to be saved, indeed, but simply to escape the punishment of hell.
He intended to prepare for heaven, but would put it off till what seemed to him "a more convenient season."
John was suffering from an attack of bronchitis. His life was not in danger, but he felt painfully weak and ill.
Dr. Strong made the necessary examination and, after promising to get some medicine ready when called for, he was about to say "goodbye" when John's wife inquired: "When must John take the medicine, sir?"
"I will put the directions on the label," replied the doctor, then, with a smile, he turned to the invalid and said: "Let me see, you are not very ill; supposing you begin to take the medicine a month from now."
"A month from now, sir?" cried both at once in astonishment.
"Yes, why not? Is that too soon?"
"Too soon! Why, sir, I may be dead then!" exclaimed John.
"That is true; but you must remember you really are not very sick yet. Still, perhaps you had better begin to take it in a week."
"But, sir," cried John in great perplexity, begging your pardon, sir, I mightn't live a week."
"Of course you may not, John; but very likely you will, and the medicine will be in the house; it will keep, and if you find yourself getting worse, you could take some. If you should feel worse tomorrow evening, you might begin then."
"Sir, I may be dead tomorrow! I hope you won't be angry with me, nor think me ungrateful to you, as you have always been so good to me; but you know, sir, I don't want to get worse; and though I'll warrant the medicine is good stuff, it'll do me no good while it's in the bottle. It does seem to me, sir, as it is going against reason to put off taking it."
"When would you propose to begin then, John?"
"Well, sir, I thought you'd tell me to begin today."
"Begin today, by all means," said Dr. Strong kindly. "I only wanted to show you how false your reasoning is, when you put off taking the medicine which the great Physician has provided for your sin-sick soul. Just think how long you have neglected the remedy He has provided. For years you have turned away from the Lord Jesus. You have said to yourself 'next week,' or 'next year,' or 'when I'm on my deathbed I will seek the Lord'—any time rather than the present.
"But God's offer is only for 'today.' I need not tell you how ready the Lord Jesus is to receive you; how His precious blood was shed for you. You have the medicine, so to speak, in your hands; but to use your own argument, it will do you no good unless you take it. It is foolish to put off the salvation of your soul even until tomorrow."
Old John's eyes were full of tears as he pressed the hand of his kind friend. "Plain speaking," he remarked to his wife; "but I reckon he's right, deary; I never saw it just that way before."