20 minutes later, I would have died in the car with my wife driving me home.
In the early afternoon on January 5, I was wheeled down from my hospital room to meet my wife waiting in the car to take me home after an operation the day before. Just minutes before getting in the car, a massive blood clot went to my lungs and heart. Fortunately, I was still at the hospital. They beat on my chest (probably breaking a couple bones) and rushed me to intensive care. Gobs of doctors worked on me and a ventilator helped.
I have no memory of the next couple days. But contrary to all the rules in this time of COVID-19, they allowed my wife Arbutus (and daughter and granddaughter) to come to the fourth floor where they were trying to revive me. Probably, they broke the rules because they thought I was dying and felt my family should see me one last time.
Arbutus tells me that as a bunch of doctors stood around, helpless, apparently having largely given up hope of reviving me., she prayed, sang hymns and recited scriptural passages. Then she started to talk to me although I appeared lifeless. Again and again and again, Arbutus said to me: “Ron please come back. We need you.” Then she asked me to open my eyes if I heard her. Eventually I did open my eyes a bit. By the time she was told to leave and said goodbye, I waved my hand a little.
I spent several days in intensive care and then regular care at the hospital and then two weeks in the nursing section at our retirement community. Day by day, I am regaining my strength.
If the blood clot to my lungs and heart had happened just 15 or 20 minutes later, I would have been alone with Arbutus in the car – – and died.
How should I think about this amazing timing? Was it a miracle? Or just coincidence?
I have thought, read and written a good deal about how to define miracle. Often the word is used loosely (a newborn baby is a “miracle”). I do not object to this use of the word. But I have thought we should normally use the word miracle to refer to an event that results because God intervenes in the normal course of events and produces something that nature would not produce. If the virgin Mary conceived and if Jesus rose bodily from the dead, then miracle in the strict sense occurred. The infinitely powerful Creator certainly has the ability to intervene miraculously in the natural course of events every time the Creator chooses.
Was the timing of my blood clot a miracle in the strict sense of the word? I have no way of knowing. God may have intervened miraculously to produce that timing. But maybe the timing resulted from the normal course of natural events which modern science increasingly explains so well.
So was the timing just a coincidence? Just a result of natural causes? Was I just lucky about the coincidence?
Again, I have no way of knowing. I think that most of the time, God the Creator allows nature to develop according to the “laws” scientists keep discovering. God does not constantly intervene miraculously in the natural course of events. So perhaps the timing that saved my life was “coincidence” in the sense that it simply resulted from nature’s normal processes. ( I suppose an infinitely powerful and wise Creator could have designed the universe in such a way that the natural course of events would produce the timing that saved my life. Obviously, I have absolutely no way of knowing that!)
So how do I respond to this wonderful timing? With a heart full of gratitude to my Lord. With an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. With a much deeper feeling of love for my God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Again and again as I go to sleep, I silently repeat in my mind: “I love you Jesus. I love you Jesus. I love you Jesus.”
I feel somewhat like the man born blind that Jesus healed on the Sabbath ( John 9). Furious, the religious leaders told the man that the one who healed him was a sinner because he did it on the Sabbath. The man who was healed said simply: “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see” (9:25).
Whether the timing that saved my life was a miracle or a coincidence, I do not know. But I know that I came within minutes of dying on January 5 and my life was spared. I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Thank you Jesus. My love for you is deeper than ever.
PS I still have significant medical problems because I also have an aggressive cancer. More of that in another blog. For now, join me in deep thankfulness to God. And do pray for my complete healing.
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