Some time ago I had the following interaction during one of my sessions as a locum doctor in general practice.
A man came into my consulting room, we exchanged pleasantries, he sat down in a chair and I asked him how I could help. His reply was very straightforward and the conversation ensued:
“I noticed a lump in my neck a few weeks ago and it is still there.”
“Is it painful?”
“Not particularly, maybe a little uncomfortable.”
“Does it seem to be getting any bigger?”
“Have you noticed any other lumps, or experienced any other symptoms.”
After a few more questions I asked if I could examine him and he agreed. Basically what I found was quite a large lump on one side of his neck which was hard, solid and irregular in contour. Immediately I was concerned. The rest of the examination revealed nothing more of note.
My thoughts were that this man had a malignant tumour and would need urgent investigation and treatment. Obviously this was not an absolutely confirmed diagnosis at that time, but in my many years of clinical experience I had never felt a lump like this which was not a malignant tumour.
I conveyed to the patient that he would need urgent investigation at the hospital, crafting the conversation without revealing my inner thoughts and at the same time being real and in no way misleading.
I started to get on with the task of using the online booking system for an urgent hospital appointment. We continued to chat whilst I was doing this, and understanding that I was a locum GP and not often at this particular practice, he asked me a question, “Where do you normally work?”
“I work in lots of different places, and I do quite a lot of different things.” I replied.
“What sort of things?”
“I summarise what I do by the headline ‘Bringing hope wherever I go’ and I travel to many different places to do it.”
Intrigued by my answer he asked, “How do you do that?”
My reply surprised him, “I teach people about Jesus, and then I pray for miracles to happen.”
His eyes went wider. “Have you seen miracles?”
“Certainly” I answered and gave him a few examples.
“Could you pray for a miracle for me?”
“Certainly, would you like me to pray for you?”
“Yes please” he eagerly replied.
So I explained to him that it would only take a few seconds and it would be helpful if I could put a hand on his shoulder whilst I prayed.
He agreed, so I placed a hand on his shoulder and with a smile on my face and my eyes looking at him I asked Jesus to perform a miracle and free him from the lump in his neck.
It was all over in about ten seconds. I said, “Let’s see what happens.”
I finished the hospital referral process, gave him relevant details about this and said that I would be interested to know the outcome. He shook my hand, thanked me and headed out the door.
Four months later I was back doing another session at the same practice. Nothing particularly of note to my memory had occurred until the latter part of the session during a consultation with a lady; after I had finished helping her with her problem she said that she had something to tell me.
I was intrigued.
She said, “You saw my husband four months ago and he asked me to let you know that when he went to his hospital appointment they could find no lump in his neck. He says thanks.”