Bob Thomas: Who believes in miracles? My son and I do
Lately I’ve noticed letters to our editor arguing biblical interpretations, and about miracles. Do miracles exist? Of course, some of the letter writers believe in Judeo-Christian scripture — the New and Old Testaments — and others do not. I also see evidence of misunderstandings between like-minded believers.
Not being a Bible scholar, I must confine my own beliefs to faith, tempered by personal experiences as a Christian, coupled with common sense. And I’m a great believer in respecting the odds. What are the odds of this, vs. that, vs. something else happening considering whatever facts I may have?
Now what do we know about miracles? Well, the odds are that if there is a God — an intelligent designer — who created all that we see and are, then His allowing miracles to be performed by anyone, anywhere and at any time, is no big deal. I’ve always believed in miracles, but I never dared think that one day I might experience one. Have you ever wondered about that? I hear about miracles, but it’s always so remote.
My eldest son, Paul, is 58 and was earmarked for death before he reached 35. It all began when he was 15, diagnosed with a tumor on his pituitary gland — the master gland under the brain. It’s called acromegaly — excessive growth hormones. The gland was removed in 1970, eventually resulting in nine major surgeries over the next 40 years. These surgeries were the delayed effects of having removed the pituitary. Moreover, his growth hormones ran rampant, much to the dismay of six leading medical school endocrinologists. He is 7 feet tall, is severely crippled and walks with a cane.
Two years ago at home, following bowel surgery at Skagit Valley Hospital in Mt. Vernon, Wash., Paul passed out. Paramedics in the ambulance struggled to keep his heart beating. He was comatose arriving at the hospital. Eight days later, he was still in a coma. Tests indicated that Paul was brain-dead. The nurses were readying him for transfer to a hospice when I requested, and was granted, one more day.
Paul’s closest friend, Dale Vincent, and his wife, Allison, had just arrived from Salem, Ore. Dale was a retired minister. My daughter Lise-Marie, from Miami, was also there, totaling four of us that day. Dale suggested a prayer vigil, so we four held hands around Paul’s bed, with Dale holding Paul’s left hand and Allison holding his right. Then we prayed and prayed and prayed for hours. During our prayers, Dale asked Paul several times to squeeze his hand. Nothing.
Several hours later, Dale thought he felt Paul’s hand twitch. Then it happened again, and again, until it was a definite weak squeeze. We intensified our praying. Then Paul weakly squeezed Allison’s hand. After about 30 minutes of this, all the time praying to Jesus, Paul opened his eyes and became more responsive. So we located the duty nurse. She almost flipped out and ran for a doctor.
At that point, the medics took over. Within eight hours Paul was lucid, knew everybody by name and was quite himself. His neurosurgeon joined us, and I asked him if his technician had recalibrated his instrumentation before running the tests indicating Paul was brain-dead. He said, “Absolutely! We ran the tests several times during those eight days until we were completely satisfied that Paul’s brain was dead.”
Then he said, “In my opinion, this is a miracle.”
Bob Thomas is an author and a retired high-tech industrialist.