Some time ago I heard a challenge to the claim that miracles ever happened in the past and therefore the present. And of course, the foundation of Christianity is based on a miracle–the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So this is a pretty important question.
Well, I believe in miracles. After hearing that challenge I began a list that now includes dozens of miracles directly experienced in my own life. The list is not exhaustive and some require an internal perspective, however many are open to public appraisal. One whole set of the most remarkable miracles relate to the life of my father-in-law, Richard (Dick) Hopkins. It seems like as long as I’ve known Dick, he has survived one very near-death experience after another: a stroke, motorcycle accident, multple heart attacks, a stent, two knee replacements, an arotic heart valve replacement, a pacemaker, and even more. Due to his brittle diabetes, we have helped him survive hundreds of diabetic shock events–many so serious we had to call 9-1-1.
Just recently Dick was out walking alone and likely because of his congestive heart failure, COPD, and myelodysplastic (blood) syndrome, he fainted. Falling backward he hyper-extended his spine and the L2 vertebrae fractured. This triggered a cascade of measures and finally an emergency back surgery at Seattle’s Harborview Hospital.
Next began an 85-day hospital recovery that entailed waves of excruciating pain, over sedation, deleriums, and numerous disheartening setbacks. At least three times we gathered the family together fearing the doctor’s many dire predictions might come true. Dick could only be moved with whincing pain and only accepted single bites of food when family members, who were at his side every single day, lovingly insisted. As we watched his strength ebb away we prayed and hoped for relief, but Dick finally requested a sobering change to his health directive–do not resuscitate. When the doctors finally started to say he was improving, he had lost over twenty pounds.
Then one day as we walked into the Vetran’s Hospital we heard a commotion from an intersecting hallway. When I heard “code blue” I turned to assure Dorothy it probably wasn’t her Dad. But as we followed the rushing crowd it turned into Dick’s room that immediately filled with over thirty doctors, nurses, and aides. Dick was completely non-responsive and barely had a pulse. The lead doctor decided he had over-dosed from all the pain-meds so they administered a dose of Narcan. He was ubrutly startled into consciousness. Over the course of 36 hours he was given four doses of Narcan until he finally stabilized.
Soon thereafter, we were informed that Dick would be released in a week and that he qualified for hospice care in the home. Now everyone, family and friends, warned us about the weight of such a responsibility. But Dorothy knew full well what this could mean, since seven years earlier she had cared for her mother, Ramona, in our home as she suffered with demetria and finally passed from lung cancer. So with the resolve of a promise, Dorothy began to plan how we would bring her father home for his final days.
Yet after only a few days at home he felt strong enough to eat a favorite meal. Then he walked downstairs to watch a Mariners game. Each step of progress was unexpected and worthy of commendation for his determination to push through. The visiting care givers were taken aback when he announced that he was actually free of all pain. In a couple of weeks he went to church where he was received with celebration by all those who had been praying for him.
As many will know, Dick’s favorite place in the world is Lake Chelan, so by faith we planned for a vacation in August. Dick continued to take amazing steps of recovery all through the summer. Last week the whole family met with us at our traditional lake house where Dick always looked forward to diving off the dock and swimming in this glacier-fed lake. Here is a video showing one of his many dives into the waters of his beloved lake. Family and friends were all there to cheer. It’s a miracle!
I realize some might attribute Dick’s healing to natural processes but in so doing they have assumed the otherwise inexplicable miracle of life. With good reason, we choose to give thanks to God and believe in miracles!