Walk Into a Miracle
A casual decision to have a little discomfort in the chest checked out. An uncommon sick-call to the workplace. No truck hauling of steel this July day. A drive into St.Mary's Hospital from Elmira. A simple examination turned into a barrage of diagnostic tests under the heart specialist's supervision. And surprising, bracing news:
"Barry, as I see it, you have three options. We have discovered massive deterioration of vessels in and around the heart. You may go home and die within the next few days. You may accept multiple by-pass surgery and die on the table. You may survive the surgery, but suffer kidney failure."
Within hours he was undergoing the surgery, under the supervision of both kidney and heart specialists. Surprisingly the procedure took half the allotted time. The kidneys were saved. The heart reconstructed.
During his month of hospital stay, and much to his surprise, Barry was visited each day by the kidney doctor or by some appointed substitute. He didn't think that busy doctors had such time available. His wife and church friends from Elmira Pentecostal Assembly were a frequent encouragement.
But one day, a jarring revelation from the heart surgeon: "Barry the real battle is fought now, and it is one almost all middle -aged men in your situation encounter. Depression. That sucker kills. I must say, and I am not a religious man, that your case has shown several signs of supernatural intervention. Now, do battle with this new threat in your mind."
Shortly after the doctor left, my friend experienced some heaviness and tears. Some visiting nurses saw him in this state and could not avoid the tears themselves. He had appeared so upbeat. Sort of a cranky, persistent sense of humour. Not a man at first blush manifesting the meekness and moderation of the believer. All-weather trucker. Baseball coach. Family man.
Shortly thereafter in the quiet of his room, Barry did business with God. Confessing that he simply would not yield to the depression, come what may. "Father it is now time for you to have your way and do what you want."
He relates that a strange warmth started at the top of his head and went down through the entire body, completely relaxing him. Never before had Barry experienced anything like this. Not the emotional type. Undeniably he had been visited, and personally comforted.
Last night, approximately six months later, Barry told me this story at Elmira Pentecostal Assembly at the fourteenth annual Sportsman's Dinner and Program. Discussing a miracle in the midst of a crowd of happy men tasting perch, moose, deer, bear, wild boar, rabbit, buffalo and other uncommon culinary delights. There was Barry, front and centre in the team of hosting, cooking, serving men of God.
I am certain that the life-changing, life-saving impact of this encounter is far from over. "That's my story," he says, "and I'm sticking to it."