An Unexpected Miracle
By James L. Black, Sr.
“Have you ever seen anything like this?” This becomes a common question when people witness something they have never seen before. No doubt the name “COVID-19” will go down in history as one of the world’s greatest pandemics.
It is amazing how quickly life can change overnight. The word of God reminds us that disasters will come, and we should always be prepared and dependent upon the Lord. This world crisis has ripped the core out of the economy; overwhelmed medical systems; left many in greater poverty; left many homeless and jobless; left many with permanent illnesses; and yes, it has claimed the lives of tens of thousands.
Many are praying for a miracle. Many are pleading with God to change their situation and protect them from the deadly virus. But the question is, are we prepared for the kind of miracles God performs?
I have no doubt that God will hear and come through for everyone who prays to Him. While He comes through in different ways and in His own time, these promises give me hope. “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5), and “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).
Several years ago, I developed a bone marrow disease called Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a depletion of the body’s red blood cells. If left untreated, MDS leads to Acute leukemia or death. I was at stage 4 of the disease, and my only hope was a successful bone marrow (stem cell) transplant. Thousands around the world were praying for my survival and recovery at a time when I was too weak to sincerely pray for myself. Yes, I can testify that God came through for me, but not in the expected way, for God’s miracles are about eternal life.
Three things happened that revealed the Lord to me in ways I had not experienced before. First, due to circumstances beyond my control, my transplant process was delayed for nine months even though I was at stage 4 of the disease. This delay provided the opportunity for aggressive wholistic, natural treatments that strengthened my body and better prepared me for the transplant. Second, my daughter (my stem cell donor) and I were able to bond prior to the transplant, leading to an incredible moment of forgiveness. The third was what it did for me and my wife. For the first time in our marriage, I was on my back in the hospital, with a life threatening disease, in isolation, and with chronic fatigue. I was too weak to bathe, so on three or four occasions my wife Maxine had to bathe me. At first I was angry, but when I saw her gentleness and total commitment as she showered me from head to toe, I realized that God was preparing me for a special miracle of healing.
My special miracle is found in these words of Jesus: “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.’” Yes, the miracle in my greatest time of need was that God healed me before the transplant. By the grace of God, I walked out of the hospital a new creature in Jesus and healed of a spiritual and physical disease.
Today, I encourage you to take your eyes off of COVID-19 and anything else that may be distracting you, and like the four friends who brought the paralytic to Jesus, tear off the roof, come before Jesus and let Him heal your soul.
“It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).
Pastor James L. Black, Sr. most recently served 17 years in the North American Division as the youth/young adult ministries director. He is currently director for the North American Division Prayer Ministries.
HEART QUESTIONS: While we know that it is always God’s will to heal His children, we don’t always know His will regarding timing. Some He might choose to heal immediately, others gradually, while others He may not heal until the second coming (James 5). Can we trust God and His timing? Can we hold on in faith even when we don’t always see immediate answers to our prayers? How can we grow our faith and trust in God and His Word?
ACTIVE HEART CHALLENGE: This week, as we continue to pray for the sick, for the medical professionals, and for God to stop the spread of the Coronavirus around the world, let’s pray that a love for God and His Word would spread. Let’s open our Bibles with new enthusiasm and pray, “Lord, show us how to know You and love You! Show us how to experience true healing from the inside out. Show us what it means to study and understand Your Word. And show us how to share Your Word with others.” As we pray, let’s claim Isa. 55:8-11, 2 Tim. 2:15, and 1 Pet. 3:15.
“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” Ps. 119:9-11
Going Deeper - Additional Reading Suggestions for this week:
• Ellen White, The Great Controversy, “Scriptures as a Safeguard,” chapter 37
• Frank M. Hasel/Michael G. Hasel, How to Interpret Scripture, Companion book to Adult Sabbath School Study Guide for 2nd Quarter
Prayer Focus – Friday, April 10,2020
PRAISE REPORT! It appears that the spread of the pandemic is starting to slow down a little in Spain and Italy. We praise God that there is hope for improvement.
• Pray that God would stop the spread of COVID19 in the countries of the world with high concentrated populations. Pray especially for the Lord’s intervention in India, Bangladesh, the continent of Africa, and some countries throughout Asia that are just beginning to battle the COVID-19 pandemic in full force.
• Pray for medical researchers to find treatments that cure the Coronavirus as we don’t have months to wait for the development of a vaccine.
• Pray for God’s protection for children, for the weak, and vulnerable, who are forced to stay home with abusive family members or who live in difficult foster homes.
• Pray for provision for food and meals for children that can no longer attend school where food was regularly provided.
• Pray that we would learn to study God’s Word on a deeper level, and also share His Word in practical ways with those around us.