Friend, I hope you'll bear with me; today, I feel the need to think out loud, in broad and general terms. As I continually scan the news and read the articles and postings, I see growing trends that are really, really troubling.
In business, the emphasis seems more and more to be on the “bottom line,” profits and compensations — some of which are absolutely obscene — and less on actual service and benefits to consumers. In education, a vitally important area of our national life, there are also very disturbing trends, with national test scores in almost every subject dropping, often alarmingly, in spite of programs like “No Child Left Behind” and other well intentioned efforts.
Liberal professors and teachers unions seem intent on reshaping America’s history, traditions, and moral guidelines.
Meanwhile, the halls and school rooms have been invaded with drug use, sex “education,” cheating, violence, and disrespect, to an alarming degree — creating an environment Cotton Mather and our early teachers would consider an impossible nightmare.
Society at large has begun to resemble a biopsy of a cancerous liver. The protective boundaries are breaking down, the circulation of health-giving nutrients is clogging, the cells that are designed to work together effectively are becoming rebellious and even destructive, and the prognosis for recovery isn’t hopeful.
Is there hope? Is there any kind of answer, any way to recover the guidelines that made us the greatest, the most prosperous, and the most envied nation in history?
Some years ago, I visited the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Clinic in Seattle, Wash. The clinic, one of the foremost in the country, was the beneficiary of a golf tournament I was hosting each year, and I spent time with Dr. Fred himself as he showed me what they were doing in research and treatment.
As we walked down one of the halls, Dr. Fred introduced me to a patient passing by in his hospital gown, a charming older man named Nels. When Nels moved on by, I was told that he didn’t have long to live . . . that the cancer had progressed too far for him to beat it.
And then, in the lab, I was shown living cancer cells from Nels' body under a microscope. I saw, progressively, how these evil-looking, black, almost iridescent, Darth Vader–resembling rebel cells moved in among healthy cells and began to destroy the organs they invaded. Like other, healthy cells, the renegades reproduce — but employing a broken, alien DNA. I asked Dr. Fred “is there anything that can combat these evil things?” He said, “Yes. Let me show you.” And he produced other slides that showed, again progressively, how other cells, lymphocytes, that to me looked like the comic character Little Orphan Annie’s eyes (harmless, blank white circles) surrounded and enveloped the Darth Vader cancer cells and slowly absorbed them out of existence! It seemed like a Disney movie, and in my mind’s eye I saw a sub-titled line underneath scenes in the slides: “Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good!”
Then the doctor told me “Our bodies are invaded by these rebel cells quite often, but in a healthy body the lymphocytes confront the cancer and eradicate it, and we never even know it. Our goal here is to discover how we can marshal and direct these cells to go where they’re needed, in sufficient quantity, to banish and overcome the cancer cells once they’ve gained a foothold.”
I was so impacted by what I’d seen that I felt compelled to call my new friend Nels later, after I’d returned to L.A., and tell him what I’d seen. And then I urged him, as a Christian believer, to spiritually take charge of his own body and order, literally, his white blood cells to confront and dissolve the renegade cancer in his body. He said he would. And we agreed we’d both pray that God would underscore Nels’ authority over his own body and every part of it.
The next year, when I went back to Seattle for the tournament, I saw Dr. Fred and hesitantly asked him about Nels. He looked startled, and said, “You know, it’s amazing. Nels went into total remission some time after you saw him, and we sent him home. He’s apparently cancer-free!”
Three years later, his wife wrote me a sweet letter, informing me her husband had “gone to be with the Lord. But these last three years have been the happiest of our lives. Nels felt wonderful, we’ve spent time with kids and grandkids, and loved every minute. Just thought you’d want to know.”
This experience is still so vivid to me. And I see our society plagued and corrupted in much the same way — infiltrated on so many levels by fellow citizens who work, and teach, and represent us in government and in the courts, perhaps unaware that they are carriers of a broken, alien DNA. They’re often militant, angry that their views are opposed, and determined to almost violently reshape our mores and attitudes in their own mold.
So what are we to do? At the risk of sounding simplistically religious, I propose that we all get back into our churches, our synagogues; that we dust off our Bibles and read them devoutly; and that we sit our kids down and share Bible truth with them, as if our individual and collective destiny is hanging in the balance. I believe it is.
Senseless, horrific school killings — the ones at Northern Illinois University being only the latest of a recurrent feature in our national life — would not be possible if our young people were being taught biblical principles, and that there is a God who watches, who cares, and to whom we each must give an accounting.
And may I further suggest — nay urge — that those of us who still believe in these things pray fervently and often for God’s “lymphocytes,” his spiritual representatives, to move among us and to confront and dissolve the dread and deadly cancer of unbelief.
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