Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Real Life Miracles

Miracles still happen. I'm talking about the in your face reality of something that just shouldn't be that is. One was sitting in my living room this morning. Here's the story.

For the past three months two of our friends have walked through multiple miracles. Married just 14 months, the Lord called Kent and Julie to job changes and a move from the west coast to the east coast. Everything fell into place. Julie moved and Kent stayed behind to pack some boxes and do the last minute details before the house sold.

Then he got sick. When the doctor calls you at home the day after you have seen him and says "get to the hospital now, we have a room waiting for you" instinctively you know it isn't good news. I drove him to the hospital and Kent was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. Physicians started  chemotherapy two days later.

Following four weeks at the local hospital, multiple blood transfusions and platelet donations, Kent developed a fast-moving type of gangrene. His leg was to be amputated but because of the fast-moving nature of the gangrene, he was to be airlifted to a major trauma center in Seattle. The nurses and doctors at the local hospital didn't expect him to make it out of the room alive let alone survive the helicopter flight. His eyes were rolling back in his head and breathing was thread.

Saints began to pray.

 God intervened.

We drove the 60 miles to the trauma center not knowing whether Kent would be alive or dead but simply trusted that God honors prayers and calls those things which are not as though they are. We prayed for health and restoration.

Julie was en route from the east coast  and the hospital called us just as we got to the hospital exit to ask how to notify relatives. That generally isn't good news but we continued to pray and said we had his cell phone. We were met at the emergency room and told that he was in surgery which would last about four to five hours.

God intervened once again.

 Ninety minutes later we saw on the update screen that surgery was finished. That was long ways from four to five hours. We continued to pray and believe. The surgeon then came, knelt down in front of us and explained that if there were 10 extremely healthy 18-year old men who had what Kent had, only two would leave the hospital alive. He reminded us that our friend was critically ill. His leg was amputated at the hip.  My wife reminded the doctor that the God we serve is a miracle working God and we trusted Him to pull our friend through.

God intervened again.

 Kent's family and wife all arrived several hours later. He was hanging on as the saints continued to pray, believe and stand on the promises in the word of God. Three days later surgeons conducted a 14  plus hour surgery in what should have been only four hours. Vascular surgeons couldn't get blood flowing to the open wound area. Julie was beside herself and was literally crying to the Lord. She reached a place of total submission and trust. God had a different plan for the miraculous healing and to teach us how to trust Him.

God then did two miracles. When treating leukemia with chemotherapy, the body's immune system is basically destroyed, leaving the person open to infection. With an open wound Kent was highly susceptible to infection. Without chemo, the cancer could take over. The prayer was for God to provide a shield against infection and elimination of the cancer. Only God could accomplish what needed to happen.

God intervened yet again.

 The leukemia was in remission. The bone was granulating. There was light at the end of the tunnel. Over the next three weeks, to the absolute amazement of the doctors, the bone began a budding or granulation process at such a rate they couldn't explain it. The granulation was necessary before a skin graft could occur.

In the interim, God used Julie to share Jesus with a gunshot wound victim who shared a room with Kent while Kent was having the 14 hour surgery. She led this man with a Roman Catholic background to saving faith in Jesus. When the man asked why she wasn't downstairs with her husband, Julie said God was in control and God told me to share with you.

We shared  with others in the a waiting rooms on the Intensive Care Unit (sleeping on the floor at night because there were no available beds). The doctors and nursing staff experienced the quiet confidence and trust in the power of the risen Jesus Christ working through His people.  They were moved. Doctors and nurses cried when Julie told them how much she and Kent appreciated them for what they do. They don't hear that very often.  Life lesson: be thankful and express that thanks to others.

The  healing progressed so rapidly that they transferred Kent to the University of Washington Medical  Center for one round of chemo. The man who was considered all but dead by the health professionals was one of the 20 percent to make it out of the trauma center. This was a God thing. He is the only explanation for He is an awesome God. Praise His name for ever!

Kent was expected to be at the UW for several weeks.

Again, God intervened.

Monday at 8:30 p.m. PDT, Kent Andrus crossed the threshold of our home using a two-wheel walker. Pretty good for a "dead man".  He will continue to have blood tests and medical appointments but on May 1, he and his wife will board an airplane and fly to North Carolina where they will start a new chapter of life and ministry.

It is an amazing story orchestrated by an amazing and awesome God and we have the privilege of serving Him. It is also a story of body ministry that we find through the book of Ephesians. That book happens to be what our weekly small group Bible study has been studying for the past year. Life lesson: whenever you study something, expect God to allow you to apply it.

God places people in position to minister to others. The only requirement is to be willing and then to act when he says to go. One member of the church's pastoral staff said what my wife and I did is highly unusual. We don't think it should be viewed that was but simply as part of the normal Christian life.

If taking care of those in need is not considered normal, my question is "Why isn't it normal?"  There were many people who played an integral part in this continuing miraculous story especially the individual and collective prayer groups not only here in western Washington but also throughout the United States and Canada.  Nameless and faceless people we may never meet this side of heaven  were obedient to God's call really did the heavy lifting in prayer. It is how a body works. Each cell and organ has a job. Most we never see yet are vitally important. So it was and is in this case. 

God has been showing us that we often slack off on prayer when thing are apparently going great. When times get tough we seem to buckle down. God has shown us He wants that intensity of prayer every day. God is up to something major. I can't articulate it but my spirit-- quickened by His Spirit-- knows God is doing something major and that prayer will be vitally needed to discern His will in the days to come. we are n for some very difficult days.

The Bible says we can know God personally. He sent His son, Jesus-- God in the flesh-- to save us from ourselves and our sins. If we repent of our way of doing things, acknowledge Him as God and confess Him with our mouth as the word of God says, we will be saved and become a new creation in Christ. we may look the same and even talk and behave the  same for a while but the word of God says our spirit has been made alive and we are new in Christ. God sees us as holy and righteous  because of our faith in Jesus. Our walks may stink but God sees us in a different way.

Just as God  showed us Kent live when the doctors and nurses said he was as good as dead so does God say we are new creatures in Christ when others say it is not possible.

God calls those things which are not as though they are.

Believe in Jesus. Live for Him and experience the miraculous life changing power of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Kent and Julie. March 24, 2014. Outside the trauma center in Seattle Washington.

We serve an awesome God.