Three years ago this week, my children and I experienced one of the longest days of our lives. We, along with a relatively large cadre of close friends and fellow believers, were sitting in a waiting room at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. We were awaiting word from a surgeon. Not just any surgeon. But the neurosurgeon who was performing brain surgery on my wife, my children’s mother.
After several agonizing hours, the surgeon triumphantly entered the waiting room – one that our cadre of friends had essentially overtaken – and announced success. He had excised the brain tumor from my wife in its entirety. In that moment I was overwhelmed with joy, relief, and gratitude. So much so that, very much out of character for me, I gave the surgeon a huge hug and thanked him.
Arguably, that was a miracle. For I do believe that God works miracles through science, technology, and medicine. But what I consider more miraculous are the events that got us to the Mayo Clinic, so that this talented neurosurgeon could use his God-given talents to excise that tumor.
You see, three years before this surgery my wife, while we were on a short vacation, experienced a sudden hearing loss in one of her ears. When it persisted, she contacted a hearing specialist, who prescribed an MRI. While that MRI confirmed that the hearing loss was, unfortunately, a not too uncommon occurrence, it also “just so happen” to reveal something else – a meningioma in her brain. That’s right a tumor. Yes, it was benign. Nonetheless, it was still something to be cause concern. Something that needed to be monitored to ensure it did not increase in size.
And so, for the next couple of years my wife dutifully went for semi-annual MRI’s. The first two years, the tumor behaved itself and remained its original size. Then, it suddenly decided to go on a growth spurt. We were, to state it mildly, a bit forlorn.
But I soon found out that that my law firm partner “just so happened” to live next to a rather renowned physician in the neurology department at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. This man, who is one of the nicest most humble men I’ve ever met, immediately referred us to a neurosurgeon. But not just any neurosurgeon. No, a rather talented neurosurgeon that the Mayo Clinic had “just so happened” to have recently brought on staff.
Some, if not many, would attribute these events to coincidence, to mere circumstance. I, for one, do not. I find it miraculous that my wife’s hearing loss “just so happened” to lead to an MRI that “just so happened” to reveal the existence of an unknown tumor. This, in turn, resulted in us being introduced to a senior physician at the Mayo Clinic who “just so happened” to live next door to my law firm partner, and who “just so happened” to have helped bring in a talented neurosurgeon. Man, that’s a lot of “just so happened.”
Many people would consider the described circumstances as coincidence. Fine. Good for them. I don’t. I can’t.
I believe in God. I believe in a God who is sovereign. I believe in a God who, at His divine choosing, intervenes. When, where, and why He intervenes (or does not intervene) is beyond me. If it were not beyond me, I too would be God. Obviously, I am not.
Why did God intervene on our behalf? I do not know. Nor do I pretend to know. All I know is He did. You can choose to believe it or to consider me a fool (sorry, there is no middle ground here).