"Paula" had been struggling with cancer for several years. Numerous experimental drugs and risky surgeries had all failed to stop the spread of the disease; it seemed like every new week would bring a new email in the inbox with yet another sober announcement from her husband "Aaron": "the cancer has spread." "The tests were disappointing." "Tumor discovered. Please pray that it is not malignant."
It was heartbreaking to see Paula wasting away with Aaron standing valiantly by her side. But more and more death seemed the inevitable outcome.
Then one day I opened my inbox and there was an extraordinary email title from Aaron: "Paula's Miracle" it read.
I sat there stunned for a moment. Could it really be? Although a Baptist, I come from a Pentecostal background, and it's in my blood to look for, and expect, signs and wonders. Certainly the Great Physician could reach down and heal Paula, couldn't he? Of course he could! Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!
Excitedly I clicked the email open ... and then upon reading these words I sat back stunned in my chair:
"Paula went home to be with Jesus today."
For just a moment confusion descended: is this some sort of strange joke? And then slowly it dawned on me. Aaron was right. Paula had been healed of her cancer. The Great Physician had reached down and touched her And now she was safe in the arms of her savior, delivered from the pain that had for so long gripped her body.
How often do we grumble "Why doesn't God do something?" when he is working in our midst all the while? Surely we should pray instead, "God, show me what you're doing." "Lord, grant me an eternal perspective!"
The day that Paula died is, in the eyes of the world, a day for mourning and defeat. How different is the Christian story. Paula's death was a miracle. And even better, that miracle is not done, for some day Paula will be raised again, immortal. And blessed hope, that miracle belongs to us as well:
"For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.'
"'Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"