I obviously didn't like his diagnosis, and feared that (because of John's Post-Polio) the operation would actually hasten John's death. But thankfully, John trusted the many people who assured us that he had one of the best surgeons in the country, and based on their testimonials he trusted the surgeon.
John is alive today because he believed the bad news that he would die without surgery. The bad news caused anguish that I can't begin to describe, and I wanted more than anything to deny its truth and behave as if nothing had happened. Yet, accepting the bad news eventually led to the inexpressibly wonderful news that I'd have more time with my marvelous husband. Looking back, I'm very grateful for the surgeon's brutal words.
I'm even more grateful that Jesus spoke brutal words about human depravity, declaring that I could only escape eternal damnation by repenting of my sin and trusting that He alone would secure my entrance into His Father's holy presence. I didn't enjoy opening the Bible only to have it expose my selfish heart. But I needed to be confronted with the truth of my spiritual cancer.
On January 20, 1971, the Holy Spirit used a high school classmate to tell me that Jesus died to pay for my sins. I'd wanted, mind you, her to add that He therefore provided salvation for all people, whether or not they followed Him...but she insisted on telling me the truth that salvation comes exclusively to those who believe in Jesus.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~~John 3:16 (ESV))
The "bad news" of such a narrow way of salvation came as gloriously good news to me! It offered me the eternal life that my inherent sin nature would have denied me. The Gospel came as good news precisely because the Holy Spirit had first graciously spoken the bad news of my spiritual cancer and my need for the Great Physician to take radical measures. I'm eternally grateful for the Savior's grace to speak brutal words.