Zion could hardly move a muscle without a sharp pain travelling through his body. He had been stuck in this bed for the better part of 3 weeks, and he was losing hope. None of the treatments seemed to be working, and the hospital bills were draining his account. His body was deteriorating fast, and he did not understand why. Every day, he prayed to God and begged for his life, but he got worse with each day. It was hard for him not to think thoughts of death and depression, and eventually, he started to wonder why a gracious God would forsake him at such a time.
Every day at noon, the cleaner on the afternoon shift would come to clean his shared hospital room, Ward 7. She had a small mp3 player attached to her belt which played soft gospel music. She would hum each song and sway her hips in slight dancing motions as she cleaned the room and after cleaning, she would leave. She did this every day with great joy and at a point, anger started to creep into Zion’s heart.
“How could she be excited all the time?”
“How could she show off her joy to people in pain?”
“What a heartless way to live.” He thought.
Yesterday, after a couple of tests, the doctor had given him the exact diagnosis he feared the most, Cancer. All sorts of emotions filled him and the only thing he could do was cry. That night, he cried and screamed, “God why?” . The pain he felt was unbearable, and his screams weren’t making it better. He was bitter, sad, hurt and he didn’t stop shouting until the nurses sedated him.
The next day, he woke up just about noon time, and he could already hear her music coming from the hallway. He was not ready for this today. Usually, he would just watch her work and listen to the songs, but today was not the day for that. He was determined to snap at her and give her a firm warning.
However, when she stepped into the room, the song stopped and a preacher’s message started.
“By his stripes, you are healed. ‘Are’ is a present tense not a future tense. It doesn't say, ‘You will be healed’, it says, ‘You are healed’. So, as a child of God, you have perfect health right here, right now, even if you don't see it. However, to see it, you have to claim it by faith. And how do you do that? By speaking. You speak it before you see it. In fact, you have to keep speaking until you see it.”
She quickly stopped the message. “I'm so sorry about that everyone, I'll change it back to the music now”.
“No, please don't. Change it back to the message and turn the volume up.” Zion said.
She paused first. Just in case any other patient had a different opinion but none of them disagreed. So, she did as he had asked.
For the whole period while she was cleaning, the only voice that could be heard was that of the preacher. He spoke about faith, the authority of the believer and other kingdom principles and when she was done cleaning, she excused herself and left. That night, Zion could not get the message out of his head. He had never viewed Christianity in that light. He realized that all this while, he had been practicing religion, but he didn’t have a personal relationship with the Maker. Before he slept, Zion began to utter words of authority concerning his health, in spite of the pain he was feeling.
In the following days and weeks, whenever the cleaner came, she played different messages from the same preacher for the patients in Ward 7. For the first 3 weeks, Zion couldn't feel any difference in his body. The pains were still very present, but now, he had learnt to never stop speaking. Even when thoughts of death came, he rebuked them and kept on speaking.
By week four, three of his ward-mates were discharged. Something was happening in Ward 7 and no one knew what it was. Every patient that was brought into that room got discharged within a week or less. Patients with all sorts of terminal illnesses left the room clean.
With every patient that got discharged, Zion’s Faith was boosted, and he started to notice changes in his body. His body started to respond to treatments, the pains began to reduce and eventually, three months after he was admitted in the hospital, he knew he was healed. He asked for another MRI scan to be done, and the doctor had just come into the room with the results. He looked perplexed.
“What’s the result, Doctor?”
“Um, Mr. Zion, I don't understand what I'm seeing. It never happens this fast without surgery.”
“What is it?”
“It.. It's gone Mr. Zion. The Cancer is gone.”
The doctors had to make him stay for two more weeks for tests and observation just to be sure, but he already knew they would come back with the same results so, he wasn't bothered.
His discharge day was finally here, and he was full of emotions. He was thankful, joyful, excited and best of all, he was a changed man. His time for discharge was 11am, but he asked for it to be extended till noon. He had something important he needed to deliver before he could leave the hospital.
At 12 noon, as always, the cleaner came into the room, but this time, she found his bed empty. Everyday, she prayed that he would be discharged soon, but now that the day had finally come, she wasn't as happy as she thought she would be.
“He didn't even say goodbye,” She thought.
She started cleaning just as a man walked into the room. She turned around and it was him. He was no longer in hospital clothes, and he was full of health. She could see him already tearing up. He walked straight to her and gave her a very tight hug. She could not hold her tears and she too started crying. They stayed that way for a couple of minutes while the other patients clapped.
Slowly, he pulled himself away from the hug and brought out a green envelope from his bag.
“I'm sorry about that, I'm just really emotional today.”
“I understand.” she said, “I'm glad to see you healed and ready to go.”
“It's been a long journey for me, and you don't know what you have done in my life. Thank you for everything”.
Then he handed the envelope to her.
“This is for you. Don't open it until you get home”.
When she didn't collect it, He forced the envelope into her hand and quickly left the room.
Later that night, when she finally got home, the envelope was the first thing she opened. She pulled out a folded paper and unfolded it. It read,
“Thank you for yielding yourself to be used by God, This is just a small token of my gratitude”
Then she pulled out the other paper from the envelope. It was a cheque of 15 Million Naira. She couldn't believe her eyes. She jumped up in joy and started dancing and praising God
God had answered her prayers in a way she never expected.
Short story by Esther Ohifumere Adeoye
Inspired by the Holy Spirit