IS THAT A MIRACLE?
DO YOU BELIEVE?
If you Believe, then will you help me? Please?
Here are some things that I have personally experienced over the years. And, even though they happened to me or near me, I still wonder. Will you help me, please?
1. I FELL FROM A TREE.
I was about nine years old and like many nine year old boys, I liked climbing trees. I was living with my grandparents in a rural part of Oklahoma, near Oklahoma City. One particular day, I decided to climbed to the top of a very tall cottonwood tree.
The view from over fifty feet in the air was great. The breezes were causing the top of this tree to sway so it was better than a ride at the state fair. Then suddenly, the branches which were supporting me broke and I began to fall, snapping branch after branch until a thick, stronger branch caught me and flipped me over. Now I was falling head first toward the ground.
This happened so fast that my young mind was not able to process the idea that I was about to hit the ground on my head, from fifty feet in the air. Then, suddenly, I was jerked violently to a complete stop.
I was dazed and confused. Hanging upside down, I looked up to see that my foot was caught in a forked branch of the tree. And, not just any branch, but THE VERY LAST BRANCH of the tree. I slowly realized that I had, at least, been spared serious injury.
Now came the problem of how to get out of this predicament. I hung there for a while to ponder. I let my arms dangled below my head. My hands touched something, so I strained to bend my neck enough to look toward the ground. I was stunned.
Just within my reach was a fence post. The fence post was positioned directly in line with my fall. My head would have struck the top of the post had I not been caught by the branches.
Additionally, the fence post had a large steel spike in the top for draping chicken wire around a chicken enclosure. I now realized that had I continued to fall I would hit the post and driven that spike into my skull - an ugly but certain death.
The good news was that I was able to grasp the top of the post, push downward and free my foot from the forked branch and sort of vault down to the ground, with a thud.
I was shaken but not seriously injured. I just sat there, dazed and wondering.
I finally got myself together and went home. I never told my grandparents what had happened. I figured it was just another day in the life of a nine year old boy.
"Lucky me", huh?
I had heard stories in Sunday school and church how God worked miracles and I wondered if that is what had happened for me?
2. THEY FOUND HER!
Dale, a lady from our church in Virginia, came to me after services. She looked frantic. "Would you pray for my daughter?", she asked.
"Sure", I replied, "what do you want to pray about?" I was both uncertain and surprised. I wasn't sure what the daughter or the Mom needed and I was surprised because Dale did not like me all that much.
We were members of a small Baptist Church and this church avoided "expressive worship" and were mostly quiet about miracles. I, on the other hand, was "slightly expressive" and was familiar with miracles.
Dale explained to me that her daughter had stolen their car and had run away and had not been heard from for several days. Dale and her husband had alerted the local police but there had been no word on her.
"Dale", I began, "I know you don't like me that much, so I have to ask why you are asking me to pray with you?"
"It's not that I don't like you, Mike", Dale said, "It's just that you are so, I don't know, OUT THERE. But, I also know that God answers your prayers. So, please, pray for us."
"OK, Dale, let's pray right now."
"Here", Dale asked, looking surprised. "Right here in the church parking lot?"
"Why not?", I responded. "You need help and I say let's get to it".
I grabbed Dale's hands in my hands and began to pray and AS WE WERE PRAYING her cell phone rang. I opened my eyes and saw Dale peeking at the cell phone.
"Hold on a minute", Dale said, "This could be important." I watched as Dale's expression change and she began to cry and shouted THANK YOU, several times into the phone. I heard Dale say, "Yes, yes yes. Oh, I love you too honey. Just come home."
She listened further, agreed to whatever the caller instructed. She disconnected the call and, her face wet with tears and half laughing, half crying she exclaimed, "They found her!"
The call was from the South Carolina State Police. It seems a State Trooper had seen a car stopped on the side of the road on Interstate 95. He stopped to see if there was a problem and found Dale's daughter. She had just then, run out of gas.
Dale look at me and said, "SEE! I knew God would hear your prayers!"
"That's nice, Dale, I protested, "But, God already knew what was going to happen. And it wasn't my prayers. It was you crying out to Him. It was God at work for you and your daughter. I just happened to be in the way. Please, no credit here. Give all the credit to God."
What was that? I mean, it happened just like I have explained. What was that?
3. THEN HE WAS GONE
I was traveling with my family, back home to Virginia from vacationing in Orlando, Florida. We stopped at a small oceanfront roadside rest area and park along highway A1A, someplace just north of Jacksonville, Florida.
Our sons were ages five and seven and they were typical rambunctious boys. My wife took the oldest boy and went one way, and I took the younger and went another.
My youngest son, Jody, and I followed a sidewalk to its end at the ocean. There was a small rock jetty surrounding the end of the sidewalk. This day was overcast and very windy. The waves were occasionally splashing up on the sidewalk, but no great cause for concern, except for getting a little wet, and that is exactly what a five year old would like!
Jody went to the very end of the sidewalk and edged himself out onto the rock jetty and then the unimaginable happened. A large surge of water and a big wave crested over the end of the sidewalk and swept my son away. Jody had disappeared into the heaving, deep and dark waters.
I ran to the end of the sidewalk and to my horror, he was gone. In a split second I decided to dive into the water. The only prayer I had time for was to call out, "GOD! GOD!"
Just before I leapt into the heaving water another large wave swept up onto the rock jetty and sidewalk and there stood my son!
Jody was standing upright, wet and crying. I grabbed him in my arms and ran away with him, from the end of the sidewalk.
We both were shivering, crying and cold. I carried him to the car to get some towels knowing I was going to have to explain this to my wife, who was waiting for us.
What do I tell her? What just happened?
4. ARE YOU A PRAYING MAN?
It was the first Thursday of December, 2012. My eye sight clouded over. I called my ophthalmologist's office for an emergency appointment.
The doctor examined my eyes and told me to immediately call my family physician. There was blood in my eye and he could not identify the source, but, he said it was from an source outside the eye and it looked bad.
I called my family doctor's office and explained what the ophthalmologist said. The nurse spoke to the doctor and he told me to come in on Monday.
The "curtain" lingered over my eye sight, but got no worse.
On Saturday, my wife and I went to breakfast with friends. At the end of breakfast I told my wife I need to get home. I was not feeling 'right'. When she asked me what was wrong, I could only tell her that something wasn't right, but I couldn't pinpoint the problem.
We got home and I sat down and closed my eyes to rest. After a few minutes, my wife asked me how I was feeling.
I opened my eyes to talk to her and I was shocked that half of her face was gone! I practically shrieked, "What happened to your face?"
My outburst frightened her and with a confused look she said, "What do you mean?"
"Your face! What has happened to your face?" I yelled.
She ran to a mirror then came back to the room I was in and said, "Get up. I'm taking you to the hospital emergency room".
By this time I had regained my vision and I said, "No. It's OK now. I just need a walk and something to eat. I'm OK".
I went for a walk. By the time I got home my vision was distorted again. My wife made me get into our car and she drove to the emergency room.
I went to the receiving window to check in. The lady behind the window asked what I needed. I couldn't talk.
The next thing I knew is she had sounded an alarm and several people emerged with a gurney, put me on the gurney and away I went to an examination room.
My wife showed up and was asking about me. I had regained my ability to talk so I asked the nurse, "Why do you have a sign on the wall that says "U-R-S-E-S S-T-A-T-I"?
The nurse turned toward me and said, "That's called vision cut! This man's having a stroke."
The nurse leaned over me and asked, "Are you a praying man?"
"Yes", I replied.
"Well, now would be a good time to start", she said.
The rest is a partial blur. A neurologist barking orders. And M.R.I. Something called a "clot buster". Then, a bed in intensive care.
After 2 days in intensive care, one of the two neurologists working on me, came by to say he didn't think I had a stroke. I was relieved. I was thinking, perhaps I could go home.
Later that day, the neurologist came back to inform me he had read the M.R.I. and I had not had one, but two strokes. There were two "dead spots" on my brain.
The fourth day I had progressed enough that I was moved to the general hospital area. My speech was coming back and my vision had come back. I was a bit 'wobbly' but improved.
My wife, my family and I were praying this entire time. And now, after 4 days, I was wanting to go home. I felt it was time. So, I got out of my bed and started walking the hospital halls.
My nurse saw me and demanded I get back into bed. I told her and doctor that I was feeling good enough and that I was ready to go home. They said I needed to lay down and rest.
I got out of the bed and started dressing. They said the couldn't make me stay there, but that I would have to ride to my car in a wheelchair. I refused and walked to my car (still wobbly, but walking).
Two weeks later, I preached the Sunday evening service at my Church. Many responded.
About six month later, as I like to say it, "The lights came back on in my head, fully".
About a year later a check up and another M.R.I., showed I had indeed had two strokes and there were two separate dead areas on my brain.
As I write this, eight over seven years have passed.
What happened? Well, there are just so many of these stories now. Was it was God. Was it miracles?
I could go on and tell you about how God saved us and our marriage 49 years ago.
I could tell you how we couldn't have children until we were 37 years old, then we had two, and the first one was born on my birthday! (really, God?)
Or, I could tell you about... But, there are just too many.
I guess it's pretty obvious - to those who want to see the obvious and can believe.
What do you think?
Your Brother and Friend,