My mind returns from time to time to January 19, 2019. Somewhere around 9 PM Nancy cried out with pain from the hotel shower. When she told me of her terrible headache, my nursing knowledge leapt to the forefront. Almost immediately I suspected she was having a hemorrhagic stroke. The MRI in the Emergency Department confirmed it.
Earlier that day we’d flown from Atlanta to Boca Raton, Florida to visit my mom’s grave. We planned to be in town only overnight and had almost decided Nancy would stay home while I made the quick trip by myself. At the last minute we changed our minds and we flew down together.
How things would have been so disastrously different if God had not put it into our hearts to travel together!
After I called 911, I helped Nancy get dressed. I moved robotically. I put her into PJ bottoms (slacks were too difficult to get her into). Next, the blouse. I quickly found her wallet, her Medicare and secondary insurance cards.
And then we waited.
It seemed we waited forever. In truth, it was less than ten minutes from the 911 call to the paramedics’ arrival at our hotel room. Another astounding blessing from God.
They took her to the nearest hospital – Boca Raton Regional Hospital – which we learned later is the premier neuroscience hospital in the region. After determining she was having a stroke, the Emergency Room team called the on-call neurosurgeon – who was one of the foremost neurosurgeons in the area.
Nancy spent three weeks in the Marcus Neuroscience Center ICU under the meticulously watchful eyes of her nurses and ancillary physician team members.
Twenty-four hours after her initial stroke, the night nurse realized Nancy was having a deadly complication to her initial surgery. If she had not alerted the neurosurgeon at home (who was then quickly at Nancy’s bedside), Nancy would not be with me today.
Indeed, to see my wife today, you would never know she is a stroke survivor.
I've told this story many times and in many circumstances. Sometimes people respond appropriately by giving thanks to God for His miraculous mercy toward us. And sometimes – even by those who call themselves Christians – people respond most inappropriately.
“Wow!” they say. “She sure was lucky.”
Did they not hear what I told them? If we’d left Nancy at home alone, I’d have returned the next day unaware that my wife had died. If she'd had her stroke on the plane to Florida, she’d be dead (or worse) today. If we’d stayed in a hotel closer to the airport, as we had first intended to do, I do not believe she’d be as she is today. If God had not sent me to nursing school in the 1980s, and if He had not led me to eventually become a nursing instructor, I wouldn't have recognized her deadly symptoms and probably given her some Tylenol for her terrible headache. That delay would have likely caused her death – or worse. If the ambulance had taken her to any other hospital in the area, she's be dead. If that neurosurgeon had not been on call that evening, she might not be with me today.
And those are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg of the multi-layered jigsaw puzzle that God put together for us that evening and the subsequent weeks after her stroke.
I often wonder why Christians – of all people – can hear such things as I have shared here and chalk it all up to luck. Or coincidence. Or some indefinable, yet ‘logical’ explanation.
Reader, please listen. Our God is as much a God of miracles today as He has always been. But perhaps we do not see such miracles as in former days because of our unbelief. You will please remember the Scripture text in Matthew’s gospel wherein we are told Jesus could not do many miracles in His hometown of Nazareth – “because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13:58)
Christian, we are living in very dark days. They will get darker. And if we ever will need confidence in a miracle-working God – not a ‘coincidental’ God, not a ‘lucky’ God, not an indefinable and ‘logical’ God – but a miracle-working God, it will be when darkness threatens to smother us.
We ought to get into the habit of recognizing God’s hand over ALL our circumstances – even so seemingly insignificant circumstances as, yes, opening up a parking space for us when we really need a parking space.
I close this exhortation with what I consider a reasonable modification and application of Luke 16:10 – “He who is confident in God’s working in a little thing, will have confidence in God in big things. But he who is not confident in God’s working in a little thing will not have confidence in God’s working in big things.”
Christian, please, won't you begin thanking God for all things He does for you – the big stuff as well as the little stuff. Such thanks would be quite reasonable because God is active in ALL circumstances and events of our lives.