January 11, 2013

What about after the MIRACLE?

Miracles-HappenThe best way to share this is to just tell you what happened — the way I remember it.

 

But, before I unload I preface all of this by first telling you that I’ve prayed hard and long about what to share. And I trust that God has given me the right spirit and words.

If you watched the local news stations (either last night or this morning) you might have heard part of the story. If you missed it — here’s a link:

 

http://www.wivb.com/dpp/news/buffalo/athletic-trainer-saves-life-of-Referee

 

If you weren’t there, and have now watched the segment, you’ve only heard part of the story. The part the media, Jim Martek (the Ref), the doctor, and the Athletic Trainer have chosen to share.

But, there’s more, and I know that…

Because we were there.

Jim, my mom and dad, Jim’s best friend Chris, Pastor Matt, nurse Judy, Klaire, Beth, the Stone family and many more were there.

 

The CCA Crusaders were playing Mount Mercy Magic. It was the first quarter and already the competition was fierce. No doubt our girls would have to go hard all four quarters to win this one.

 

And then it happened, right in front of us.

 

The “Ref” handed one of the players the ball to take out and just went down. As he lay there, all I remember is the terrifying sound of his desperate struggle to breathe — it was completely silent except for the sound of this man gasping for air. I’m shaking even now as I try to type this all in — as I remember it.

 

It was as if we (everyone in the gymnasium) knew. Immediately, there was a common bond and understanding. You could feel the weight of eternity bearing down into the severity of the moment — almost as if it was being held off while pondering the shared compassion for this fragile man so few of us knew. We instinctively stretched our hands toward the man whose life hung by a thread while reaching our hearts toward heaven praying for that thread to be strengthened. We were pleading. We were crying. We were coming boldly to the throne of grace to find help in our time of great need — on his behalf, for his life, for his soul…

 

I remember well the sounds. It reminded me of the day Hunter went home to Jesus. The memory of that moment with my precious son overwhelmed me as I fell to my knees standing in the gap for “the Ref” — and the Spirit interceded with words that I simply could not muster in my own strength.

 

Honestly, it was horrifying and amazing.

Horrifying in that it appeared we were all witnessing a man die — pass from time into eternity right before our very eyes.

Amazing because God had strategically orchestrated that moment for His sovereign purposes — His people were there and we were all storming His throne praying for a miracle.

We left Mount Mercy Academy that night drenched in tears and deep anguish. The outcome looked grim. We continued to pray. Late that evening, I received this heartbreaking text, “He didn’t make it.” The girls and I prayed for “the Ref’s” family, his children, wife — not even knowing what his name was, or if he even had a family. It was over…

But just like the story of Lazarus (John 11:1-44), who had been well beyond hope, the next day there was amazing news — news that defied reason: “the Ref” was in a coma in the ICU.

What?

We were shocked and thanked God.

But God wasn’t quite finished and this remarkable news was followed by an even more amazing turn of events — he was out of the coma, talking to his family, “the Ref” was going to be fine.

 

A miracle.

 

We didn’t witness a man die. We witnessed a miracle.

And so now, I get to the point of why I’m sharing this with you.

You see, I watched part of the segment last night. And this morning, I watched the link above. And after watching, listening, texting my mother, father, and praying — I’m overwhelmed.

 

Here’s what I just wrote in my journal:

 

Lord, after watching the account of what happened to Jim (the Ref) at Erin’s game, I can’t help but have completely mixed emotions. I’m so thankful that You, God heard the prayers of Your people interceding for that man’s very life and soul. I’m in awe that the doctor said that there was only a 5 percent chance of survival for cases like this and YOU saved him. I’m thankful for all the people that You had there, in that moment, to help this man when every second mattered — when his heart stopped beating and when he wasn’t breathing.

 

And yet, I’m shocked and full of sorrow. There was no mention of You. Mere man can do nothing apart from You. You made sure just the right people who knew what they were doing were there; You made sure that just the right equipment was available in the building. You did all of this. You saved his life. You heard the cries of Your people. You answered our prayers. You performed a miracle. You did all this.

 

And so now, I’m asking You Lord…

How can these people not see it?

How can they not give You all the honor and glory?

How can they not see YOU?

 

As per my typical quiet-time routine, I continued to pray and then I grabbed my Bible and started reading where I left off yesterday. Here are some of the verses I read:

 

“You saw with your own eyes what the LORD did…” Deut 4:3

 

“What other nation (people) is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD is near us whenever we pray to him?” Deut. 4:7

 

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.” Deut. 4:9

 

“You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.” Deut. 4:35

 

Needless to say, I was a wreck after reading.

Here’s the thing, and I’m not ashamed to admit it — before I read these verses, I was frustrated, aggravated, and so sad. How could “the Ref” story be told without acknowledging God? He’s the Miracle Maker. He’s the only ONE who deserves the praise for rescuing this man’s life. So I was indignant and in my ignorance I prayed and talked to God.

 

And He responded.

Read the verses I shared again…

Do you see it?

 

He doesn’t want us to forget. He doesn’t want me to forget!

He allowed us to witness the “miracle.”

He did it for us

So that we would be reminded…

So that we wouldn’t forget…

 

HE IS GOD, there is no other.

 

It’s all Him.

 

The compassion we all felt.

The praying.

The tears.

The breathing.

The trainer.

The equipment.

The hospital.

The doctors.

The medicine.

 

The MIRACLE.

So that we might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.

 

I believe we all have moments where God reveals Himself to us in ways beyond what we can fully comprehend this side of heaven. This moment and the miracle it brought have been etched upon our hearts. And only by His grace and mercy will we be able to remember and never forget…

He is God

There is no other.