There is no price too high. Sooner or later we will be confronted with all kinds of problems in this world.
Life God’s supreme miracle
By Ariel E. Noltze
It’s morning on a cold winter day, and I’m driving down the road. Misty winter landscapes pass by my window, devoid of any sun or greenery. For a moment the image of what must have been the beautiful perfection of the Garden of Eden comes to mind. How much beauty has been lost through sin! What a contrast between the freshness of that perfect creation and the dull winter colors!
My thoughts revolve around a man I met a week ago. Desperate, he had decided to end his life. After locking himself in his car, he soaked the interior and his clothes with gasoline and lit a match. A helicopter brought him to our burn care facility and a near-impossible mission began. We tried to bring back a life that had already decided to give up. In the end we lost the battle. How desperate must a person feel to see suicide as the only way out of their misery! Today we would meet for the last time in an autopsy room.
I am mentally reviewing the patients who are under my responsibility in the intensive burn care facility. Each room presents another tragedy. I am especially worried about the woman who has not yet regained consciousness since the night a fire consumed her home. How am I going to explain to this mother when she wakes up from the coma that she lost her three young children in the fire that disfigured her?
What a world, what pain! How disastrous when humans discover personally the secret of the knowledge of good and evil! Were Adam and Eve able to imagine the consequences of their sinful choice and what the terrible cost would be?
All of a sudden, a dangerous situation on the road forces me to let go of my thoughts and focus on the traffic. A driver approaching from the opposite direction has miscalculated while overtaking a truck. A violent turn of the steering wheel, several braking maneuvers—it could have ended tragically. But, once more, all is well. I can only thank God for having protected me from a serious accident. Moreover, I feel a deep gratitude for His care in a world in which death is the major rule of the game.
“Sooner or later we will be confronted with all kinds of problems in this world.”
Lost in these thoughts, I decide to listen to some music. I put a CD into the car stereo, and a song plays whose text exalts Christ as the Lord of life. It’s a nice song, and I enjoy it whenever I listen to it. But this time it’s different.
Today, somehow, I catch a glimpse of the magnitude of what God offers: Life! God offers life in a world marred by death. He offers life to me: to me, a mortal being with a body destined for death; to me, who cannot contribute anything to redeem myself from sin. He wants to reverse the countdown that began the day we were born and put us on the path to life. He who is life, “for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9), has by His death on the cross put us once more within reach of the divine breath that breathed life into mud, which ultimately became Adam. He came to this world of dried-up raisins to invite us to become vines bursting with life. We no longer need to receive the wages of a fallen world. When we accept Christ, we have passed from death to life, because “the world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17, NIV).
Clinging to this faith can help us face the worst tragedies without falling apart. While others despair, we have the assurance that God has a plan and that suffering will not last forever. Hope in the fulfillment of God’s promises makes all the difference. The certainty of living on the threshold of Christ’s second coming opens our eyes to a reality that goes far beyond the problems we experience right now.
As no marathon runners abandon their race a few meters from the finish line because of blisters on their feet, God’s children go forward in spite of trials. They may have their vision blurred by tears, but they keep their eyes fixed on the goal. Trusting in the Lord of life is how they receive the strength to continue.
Sooner or later we will be confronted with all kinds of problems in this world. Sickness is one of the most dreaded obstacles. Faced with serious health issues, we often cry out: “Lord, will You heal my loved one? Will You do a miracle? Is it Your will to heal me from this disease?”
Sometimes it seems that God does not answer our prayers. But God does answer! He has already given the definite answer: “Whoever has the Son has life” (1 John 5:12, NIV). It is almost too easy to believe. If we do not grasp this, we may pray for a miracle; and when no miracle comes, we will be discouraged by God’s apparent silence. We may even be tempted to think that God simply doesn’t hear our prayers, or even doubt His existence.
This is a trap, for He certainly always hears us. And if it sometimes seems that He remains silent it is because He has already given the answer: “She is not dead, but sleeping” (Luke 8:52).
It’s vital that we human beings possess this kind of “life insurance,” which guarantees life in the face of death (cf. John 11:25). Our insurance policy is to have the Son of God, the authentic resurrection and life. Christ is the wonderful formula that transforms death into a slumber.
This seems too simple. I can neither provide scientific evidence nor explain this medically. But God has said so, and we trust Him by faith. “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope,” writes Paul. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. . . . For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thess. 4:13-16). What more could God give His children?
So I continue driving with a renewed hope in my heart. I sense that, today, God helped me to see something important more clearly. And because I believe unshakably in the superabundant sufficiency of God’s power I follow the advice of the apostle Paul when he adds: “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18).
Ariel E. Noltze, M.D., is a specialist in plastic surgery and hand surgery. He works at a center of reconstructive surgery in Vienna, Austria, where he lives with his family.