God Used Cancer to Get My Attention
-Hank Johannes

God Used Cancer to Get My Attention

My name is Hank Johannes, and this is my story.

As far back as I can remember, I had a very happy childhood with my parents and friends. My parents were a very strong influence in my life. They both loved the Lord. My Dad was a Baptist, and was raised with strong Christian values. My Mother was a Lutheran. She seldom attended church because she did not buy into the Lutheran doctrine. But she spent a lot of time reading her Bible. My relatives were all Lutherans and chided her for not having my brother and I christened. Both of my parents encouraged my brother and me to attend church on a regular basis.

When I was a teenager, I was baptized in Lansdale Baptist Church. I knew all about Jesus and tried to live a Christian life as I knew it. I attended Sunday School and at one time even taught a Sunday School class. I thought that was all I needed, but I had doubts about my salvation.
Later, I attended college in Philadelphia. There I found myself without the Christian guidance I had at home. Instead I was indoctrinated by humanist professors and friends. Sunday School was replaced by immoral parties where marijuana, alcohol and promiscuity were celebrated. Although I knew it was wrong to do these things and did not personally indulge in such immoralities, I adopted an attitude of complacency. I did nothing to try to stop them.
"I thought that was all I needed, but I had doubts about my salvation.”
When I graduated from college I returned home and took a very good job at Caloric in Topton. Later, I was recruited by a large design firm in Detroit and moved there shortly after I was married. I had a job that came with a lot of travel, a large expense account and 2-martini lunches. It was not long before I had a problem with too much food and too much alcohol. In 1980, I moved back home to care for my aging parents. I returned to a simpler life free of alcohol.

In April, 2005, the doctor said that I needed a triple by-pass heart surgery. During the tests the doctor did before surgery, he found that I also had prostate cancer and lung cancer. Suddenly, I was faced with my immortality and the prospect that the Lord was trying to get my attention. Was I in good standing with the Lord? Was I really saved and ready to meet the Lord?

Back in 2001, I had attended a Christmas program at Lehigh Valley Baptist Church after being invited by Jim and Gina Hall, customers on my mail route. I was very impressed with their commitment to the Lord. I had attended the church a few times after that, but now with these events happening in my life, I decided I needed to check it out a little closer. I found a spirit in the church that was missing in any other church I had ever attended. The Bible was their guide. I found it to be a church that was free of man-made rituals. They preached nothing but the Word of God.
"I asked the Lord to save me and to take charge of my life."
The church offered a Bible study, so I decided to sign up for it. After completing the Bible study, I had a feeling that something was missing in my life. More importantly, I was not sure of my salvation. I wanted to know more, so I continued to study the Bible with one of the men from church. During these studies, I learned that 2 things are needed for true salvation: repentance and faith. As I thought back over my life, I realized that these things had never been in my life.
I now understood that I was lost and needed to be saved, so I prayed a sincere prayer of repentance to the Lord, asking Him to forgive my sin. Now came the hard part—faith. Throughout my life I have been a victim of things I read and deceived by people I had trusted. Now I knew I must trust one book—the Bible, and one person—Jesus Christ. From what I saw in the people at Lehigh Valley Baptist Church, I knew that this Book and this Jesus person were something extraordinary. They were the real thing—the truth. I prayed, believing the Lord would hear my prayer. I asked the Lord to save me and to take charge of my life.

Things immediately began to change in my life. A huge weight was lifted from my shoulders, and a new peace came over me regarding my cancer. I knew now that I was a child of God, and I was on my way to heaven. I did not have to fear death.

(Hank wrote the words of this testimony shortly after he was saved. Later, when his cancer was in the advanced stages, he said that he wanted to let his family and friends know that God was indeed real, that Christ had changed his life, and he knew that he was going to heaven when he died. Hank died early in the morning on January 26, 2007.)