Sometimes something happens that is so incredible that I find it hard to write about. I still sit here amazed by it. I will do my best to tell you this story truthfully and faithfully. This is how it happened…
I have written multiple stories about Mike and Jo. I am convinced that if you followed this couple around you would witness a multitude of miracles.
Two and a half years ago Mike went to the hospital with a minor infection. When I arrived to pray with him and Jo, it was clear that Mike’s mind was not right. Yes, Mike already suffered from a variety of mental and emotional challenges, but this was different. It was dementia.
He was transported from the hospital to a nursing facility. After a few months it became clear that Mike wasn’t going anywhere. This would be where he would finish his days. The dementia was increasing. He was on a puree diet and strapped to either a wheelchair or a bed. I hated to see him that way.
Jo resigned herself to the new reality. Things had already been going down hill for Mike before this and he was becoming more than she could handle. In a way it was a blessing for her. She too is greatly taxed emotionally and Mike’s worsening conditioning was taking a greater toll on her.
After he had been there almost two years, Jo told me that she wanted me to pray that Mike would experience a full recovery. Now I have witnessed miracles. Jo in fact had been healed of cancer the year before. It was incredible. She had a double-mastectomy and twenty-four malignant nodes removed. Twenty-four! She remains cancer free. But this was something different…or maybe not.
At any rate, I had a hard time wrapping my faith around it. Jo was insistent, though. She kept on asking me to pray every chance she could. I honestly did not have any expectations of recovery. Every time I visited Mike it seemed impossible…until last Christmas.
We had been praying for recovery for about two months. I walked into the common area of the nursing facility where about thirty residents were being entertained by a “singer” and a karaoke machine. It was painful, but most of the people seemed to enjoy it. Mike was. I found him sitting in his chair with his legs crossed and keeping the beat. I was used to finding him with his head sunk into his chest and his feet resting helpless on the ground. You couldn’t even push his chair without his feet dragging under it.
I sat down beside him and he turned and said, “Hey, Paul. I sure am glad to see you!” He knew what day it was and was asking about church the next Sunday. He hoped to be there. And he was. We went on to have the most normal conversation I have ever had with him even before the dementia set in. His mind was as clear as a bell.
Before I left, I found his nurse and asked her what was going on with Mike. She said, “We have no idea. It just happened all of a sudden. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Mike started coming to church regularly in his chair. He told me he wanted to walk again. Most nursing places don’t want their folks walking around. It is too high of a fall risk. I wondered if they would even let him do this. I said, “Mike, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your legs except that you haven’t used them in two years. Start doing the physical therapy.” And we prayed that he would walk.
About five months later Jo called and asked if I could attend the next family consultation about Mike’s condition and progress. We sat around a table with the staff involved with Mike. They wheeled him in and moved him to a regular chair and the woman in charge of the meeting said, “Mr. Mike, say goodbye to your chair. You won’t need that anymore.” He looked as surprised as Jo and I. The woman in charge went on to say, “Today we are going to make the plans for Mr. Mike’s discharge. He’s going home.” Jo in her joy began singing “To God be the glory great things he has done…” She sang the entire first verse and might have launched into the second had the administrator not gracefully continued with the meeting. I asked her how all this came to be and she said, “It’s what you think it is. We have no other explanation. It’s a miracle.”
When we finished making plans, they brought out a walker for Mike to use. He stood up like a man of forty years. I actually have it on video. He had no balance issues and seemed strong on his feet. He took hold of the walker and we followed him to his room. We could barely keep up with him. One week later he went home.
When he walked into church the next Sunday, people were blown away. I realize that you would have to see it to believe it. I did.
Miracles are not something to be understood. They are to be celebrated. One could ask, “Why doesn’t it always work like this?” Well, it isn’t magic. It is the work of God…a very mysterious God.
I know one thing for sure. If someone asks me to pray for something, regardless of how impossible it seems, I will pray and trust God. What God did for Mike’s mind, he did for my faith.