I was travelling to Tamworth, New South Wales, for the country music festival held there every year. As I neared the city, I started to get an unusual feeling in my throat. The next day I ended up being quite sick. On Sunday morning I went down to the centre of town to sing, but I had to pack up my gear and visit the ambulance station instead. After checking my condition, the technicians decided to take me straight to the hospital.
After surviving a battery of tests, I had a talk with the Lord. "Lord, I don't know why You allowed me to come in here, but if this is part of Your plan, help me to witness for You. If there's anything I can do to help somebody while I'm here, help me to be willing to speak a word for You."
I was placed in a room with two other men. I particularly noticed one of them whose stomach was swollen. I got to talk with him and his brother, and after a day or two he said he thought he had cancer. A day or so later I heard the doctors come in and tell him that they had found he had intestinal cancer that had spread to his liver. There was nothing they could do for him, except to keep him as comfortable as possible until the end.
As I lay there that night the Lord placed a burden on my heart to offer him some help.
"Ted, are you a Christian?" I asked the next day. "No, not really," he answered. "I used to drink--quite a bit. I've done a lot of silly things that I shouldn't have." "We've all done that," I said. "You know, the only hope we have beyond the grave is in Jesus Christ." I left it at that. That night I prayed that I would get an opportunity, when no-one else was in the room, to get out of bed and speak to Ted. A little later the Lord granted my request. I went over to him and said, "I've been thinking about you, Ted, and I'd like to introduce you to my Forever Friend. I have a wonderful Friend who's done so much for me. I'dlike you to know Him; His name is Jesus Christ. About 2000 years ago He came to this earth and died a shocking death on Calvary to forgive our sins and give us the chance to repent and have eternal life by believing in Him."
Ted's face lit up as I read some wonderful passages from God's Word. "Ted," I said finally, "would you like to accept Jesus as your Saviour? Then death is just a rest in the grave for a little while. When Jesus comes, He'll bring us out from the grave and give us a home with Him for eternity in a land where there'll be no more sickness, sorrow or death."
Like music to my ears Ted said, "Yes, Ross, I would." I prayed a short prayer Ted could understand and follow, having him repeat each phrase after me. It was lovely to hear him repeat that simple prayer. When I left hospital, I gave him a tape of gospel songs. A week or so after I arrived back home, I decided to ring Ted. I rang Moree Hospital but couldn't contact him. I eventually tracked him down at a little hospital at Mungindi. I wasn't able to speak to him, but I spoke to his brother, Charlie. "Charlie, I just rang to encourage Ted to hold fast to Jesus; He's our only hope." "Ted's doing all right, Ross," Charlie said. "He's talking about it all the time." About a week later I tried to ring Ted again. I reached the Mungindi Hospital and spoke to a sister and asked, "Could I please speak to Edward Cubby?" "Are you one of the family?" she asked. "No, I'm a friend who met him in Tamworth." "Are you the chap who gave him the tape?" she asked. "We listened to that tape with him right up to the end. He passed away yesterday afternoon." Ted was buried at Mungindi. At the service Charlie arranged for two songs to be played from my cassette, one of which was "A closer walk with Thee." Charlie told me later, "I'll never lose that tape, Ross. Whenever I'm feeling down, I put that tape on, and it gives me a real lift." When the bottom fell out of my performance in Tamworth, my visit to the hospital gave me one of the most wonderful experiences I've ever had in leading someone to the Lord. I just hope God will continue to water the seed, and that one day there may be a great harvest as a result of my unplanned visit to the hospital. For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes. Romans 1:16. L Ross Corney lives in Balmoral, New South Wales, and travels extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand, using his musical talents to introduce people to Jesus.