Hard As It Is To Believe, Biblical Miracles Are Still Alleged, Even 'Lazarus Events'
By Michael H. Brown
Virtually every miracle cited in the New Testament has an analogue in current times. Multiplication? There are cases in which food has been multiplied (we cited a recent one at a mission in Juarez, Mexico). Visions? They are all over the place; the same is true of locutions. Walking on water? There are those who allegedly have levitated while in ecstasy; we know this has happened with saints. Apparitions? As at Mount Tabor, these are constantly claimed. The smoke of Mount Sinai (to get back to the Old Testament)? This has been seen emanating from a “holy mountain” in former Yugoslavia, along with a dove-like light from the church nearby, a dove that puts us in mind of John the Baptist.
What about one of the most dramatic: raising the dead?
This is probably the most difficult miracle to accept and yet there are cases in our own time that resemble just such a happening. While not quite as spectacular as what Jesus performed in bringing back Lazarus, there have been copious accounts of people who were clinically deceased -- their vital signs gone, entering the "other side" -- when they felt called back by the prayers of relatives. (Upon return, they find themselves surrounded by those who were at bedside praying for them.)
This was the case with a Filipino man who was in an allegedly near-death coma, at times with his heart stopped, when he revived after three days, a recovery linked to prayers of Divine Mercy. There is also the account of Darrell Pell, a 34-year-old grocery store manager who "died" and then returned while waiting for a heart transplant on July 31, 1994, at Saint Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta. Around 11 p.m., friends who had accompanied his wife had to go home, leaving his wife alone in her vigil. Although she had stopped going to church years before, she prayed, implored the Lord to save Darrell's life, and silently confessed her sins. It was then that she reportedly saw Jesus placing His Hand on her husband's heart, and shortly after the "deceased" man revived (according to the testimony of a doctor who recorded the vision).
Then there is the more recent case of Li Peng: On the evening of January 8, 2004, he was swimming with a friend in a pool at an apartment complex in Saanich, British Columbia. They were alone with no lifeguard and Li, 19, “drowned,” sinking to the bottom of the pool as the other dashed for help.
That help took four minutes to arrive and despite attempts at resuscitation, Peng didn't regain consciousness. An ambulance took him to the hospital with the bleakest of prognoses. “I probably would have said this is a non-survivable situation,” noted an attending doctor. “Certainly, that's how my colleagues felt. I think it is fair to say that nursing and medical expectations for Li Peng were death or a vegetative state."
Medical staff generally expect that if there are going to be any signs of meaningful recovery, they will occur in the first 72 hours, and Li went well beyond that -- yet "came to" after a Christian evangelist prayed over him. He fully recovered. "We have no natural way of being able to understand why Li Peng gained what he did,” said another doctor.
Across the newswires comes the recent account of a toddler who was clinically "dead" for nearly two hours -- who had not taken a breath for 105 minutes -- yet ended up perfectly healthy at Children’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia! It shows the unlimited power of prayer. “I am astounded – I still can’t explain it,” said Dr. Andrew Numa, senior intensive care specialist.
Meanwhile, Axel Fischer, leader of a mission agency in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, reports that in the course of just a couple months, he heard of two people "raised from the dead."
“In both cases, the person had died in the hospital, and their death and resurrection were confirmed by doctors,” he was quoted as saying on a missionary news site. “Naraa, a Mongolian Christian who we have known for years, reports: 'One night, the desperate relatives of a man who had recently died asked us to come to the hospital. There are no doctors in our area, so we are often called on to pray for the sick. God has healed many people. I know that my God performs miracles, so I went to pray for the dead man, who was already cold when I arrived. After five minutes of prayer, he opened his eyes. His resurrection was the talk of the village. All the relatives gave their lives to Christ on the spot.' Badulzi, a pastor and close friend, told us the following: 'A young girl in our church died, but her Christian friends didn't want to accept her death. They believed that God could do wonders, so they prayed and praised God at her bedside for ten hours, until she returned to life. The doctors and other witnesses were astonished and could hardly comprehend that Jesus is also Lord over life and death.'"
These we can almost call “Lazarus events.” Hard to believe, yes. But Jesus said we could do what He did.
God honors faith. It's throughout the Bible. And faith means seeing things with the firm conviction that if it fits His Will, God can do anything in any situation. With prayer we can even find our way out of situations that appear to have no exit.
Another key: persistence. We recall the story of an atheist named Howard Storm who once admonished a nun taking his art course at a Kentucky university not to mention God in his classroom. He hated anything or anybody religious.
Some time after, Storm "died" while touring museums in Paris -- and once out of his body, had a horrifying vision of being dragged to hell by demonic creatures who waited for him in the hospital corridor.
So terrifying was the experience that despite his atheism, Dr. Storm called out to Jesus. He was saved by a Light that drew him from the pit.
When he returned to the U.S. -- and after months of hospitalization -- Storm summoned that nun and told her what happened. Weeping, he asked if she believed him.
Of course she believed him, said the sister. She simply wondered what had taken so long.
All those years, said the nun, she had been praying for him.
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