Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Mystery of the Miraculous

“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”
C.S. Lewis

 My sister called to tell me to read the comments on about Katherine’s interview with Sanjay Gupta.


Some lovely, encouraging words.

And some unusual reactions.

Evidently, someone wrote an offensive comment that elicited strong responses. By the time I looked at it, the comment had been deleted. But the responses to the comment remained.

Debates broke out.

Everyone has told me that you simply cannot take anonymous comments seriously. Evidently, there are bored people who sit around all day expressing their opinions over the internet with no accountability.

Still, the debates that raged seemed to me to be a microcosm of the world in which we live.

The age-old conflict: Faith vs. Reason.

I will tell you one thing. No one I know was ever argued into faith.* 

They were loved into it.

To those who seriously seek, who knock and keep on knocking…

To those who lay down their arms and their need to be ‘right’…

To those who unbar the door, and bravely open it just a tiny crack…

Love comes flooding in, carried on a piercing flame of Light.

And that white-hot Light-borne Love melts the self-protecting shards of ice around a hardened heart.

The heavenly intersects with the worldly. The miraculous invades the mundane. The Light pierces the Darkness.

It still does.

The Light still shines in the Darkness. Even here. Even now. Today.

As it did on April 21, 2008.

For those who don’t know the whole story, my daughter Katherine should have died that night… according to the laws of nature.

She had a gargantuan AVM rupture. Massive bleeding in the worst possible part of the brain. Multiple aneurysms. Her cerebellum had actually begun herniating down into her spinal column by the time she got to the hospital.

They don’t usually operate when someone’s that far gone. Ask any neurosurgeon. About the best you can hope for in a case like that is that the patient will live the rest of his or her life out in a “persistent vegetative state.”

For some strange reason, one doctor made an unorthodox decision. Something compelled him to operate. To try to save a young mother’s life against all conceivable odds.

Someone told me recently that she died six times on the operating table. I’m glad I didn’t know that before. But I’m glad I know it now. It gives me an even deeper appreciation of what actually happened that night in Los Angeles, California. The City of Angels.

Love came down. Powerful love came pouring down as an energizing, healing force through the hands of skilled surgeons.

The primary neurosurgeon wept when he saw his patient the next day, and she squeezed his hand. Because, more than anyone else, he knew just how impossible that was.

Some of the assisting physicians came when they were off-duty just to look at her. To try to wrap their scientific minds around something they had never seen before.

The ICU nurses told us that no case had ever affected the doctors and staff at UCLA as Katherine’s case did. “They are really scientifically oriented,” one nurse confided, “so this is totally unusual.” New dialogues were begun. Searches started.

Because something impossible happened there.

A miracle.

C. S. Lewis defines miracle as "an interference with Nature by supernatural power."

It is from the Latin miraculum, meaning “object of wonder.”

In his seminal work, Miracles, he writes,

…miracles, if they occur, must, like all events, be revelations of that total harmony of all that exists. Nothing arbitrary, nothing simply "stuck on" and left unreconciled with the texture of total reality, can be admitted. By definition, miracles must of course interrupt the usual course of Nature; but if they are real they must, in the very act of so doing, assert all the more the unity and self-consistency of total reality at some deeper level… In calling them miracles we do not mean that they are contradictions or outrages; we mean that, left to her [Nature] own resources, she could never produce them."

I was thinking about these things this morning when I picked up my Bible and started reading where I’d left off yesterday:

“The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”” (Luke 1:35-37)

The mystery of miracles is decoded in the Ultimate Miracle, the incarnation.

God with us. God in us. Above us, below us, beside us.

The Creator of the laws of nature may bend or shape them as he will for his good purposes and plans.

He makes the impossible possible.

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

Christina Georgina Rosetti


 “The supernatural is not remote and abstruse: it is a matter of daily and hourly experience, as intimate as breathing. Denial of it depends on a certain absent-mindedness. But this absent-mindedness is in no way surprising. You do not need -- indeed you do not wish -- to be always thinking about windows when you are looking at gardens or always thinking about eyes when you are reading.” CSL, Miracles


(* except for scientists who start out to prove that God doesn’t exist, and logically and systematically argue themselves into belief. If you want to know examples of this, let me know and I’ll tell you a few stories.)


Laurel said...

You really can't take anonymous comments seriously. There is a reason they call those commenters "trolls." It's a bizarre hobby where someone says the most offensive thing they can to see how many people they can get to comment in response. If you respond, it's "feeding the trolls."

As far as looking at a story like Katherine's and refusing to acknowledge the hand of God, it is the same thing as a child putting fingers in his ears and saying, "I can't hear you!"

It reminds me of The Last Battle, the scene where the lapsed dwarves have passed into Aslan's kingdom, but remain convinced that they are prisoners in a dirty hut. It's all they will see or believe because they have convinced themselves of a reality without their diety.

Katherine's story is offered. Some people will hear it.

Anne Henderson said...

Our family wouldn't exist if it wasn't for a miracle!
My husband, Marshall, had terminal cancer at age 8. The doctors gave him 3 weeks to live. During those weeks, God placed many people in Marshall's parent’s path that led them to a healing service. The church members laid hands on and prayed for my husband. He has been cancer free for nearly 40 years. I love what Charles Spurgeon said about miracles: “Miracles will not convince when men are resolved to disbelieve. Faith is not born of sight, nor can it be nourished thereby.”

Peggy Dabbs said...

Only, believers in miracles can
understand - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen-Hebrews 11:1. Those of us who have
followed Kathryn's story from the beginning, have witnessed this "miracle"! Praise God as He
continues to bless her with more

Anonymous said...

Miracles....thank you God for the miracles that I have witnessed! For my precious Daddy who will celebrate his 80th birthday next month after a horrendous aortic aneurysm 14 years ago. His doctor still calls him the miracle that changed HIS life! Thank you God that our only job is to love...YOU alone are responsible for the rest! My 3 year old grandson told me that Jesus was born in a manger because people didn't love him enough, but the animals did...People are still struggling with that part, and the internet has just made it more obvious! My grandson told me "I would have let him come to my house!"... Me too, Buddy..Me too! Merry Christmas! Thanks for sharing!

Amanda Quam said...

You are such a fantastic writer.

Anonymous said...

Why do you believe that the people who think that circumstance and science saved your daughter must have hardened hearts? Are you referring only to the comments that have been deleted?

Do you believe that all things that are not yet understood must be God? God's existence is not proven by things that are not yet fully understood. People used to believe that the earth was flat. They didn't understand germ theory. They didn't understand electricity. Maybe the technique used by the doctors to save Katherine will save more lives.

You are free to have your faith. It is just not surprising that people disagree. There is no evidence for the existence of any god. That isn't a condemnation of your faith. It is just a fact. I am sure that you are secure enough in your faith to handle the commentary. However, some of your comments about people without faith are surprisingly judgmental. Maybe they aren't the only people who want to be right?