"In the pages that follow, we want to shine the spotlight on a remarkable woman who had a remarkable journey toward healing. Was she skeptical about people who claimed to have special powers? Absolutely. Until ..."Miracles Are For Real” by James Garlow and Keith Wall – a collection of stories that I, as an inveterate skeptic, would normally treat with a high degree of suspicion as being potentially distorted, exaggerated, or completely fabricated.
Only this time, something is different. In this case, it’s a story which I had the unique opportunity to test with an unusually intense level of scrutiny. Whereas other times I would only hear of these supposed miracles after the fact, this time I was able to fully observe the relentlessly deteriorating condition of this woman for four years prior to the “miracle”. I was there to take in all the sights, sounds, and emotions connected the “miracle” event itself. And I’ve spent the last 8½ years testing the completeness and permanence of this claimed healing. You see, the “remarkable woman” described in Chapter 7 of “Miracles Are For Real” is my wife.
The one thing that frustrates me most when I share the story of Vonna's healing from MS (see Part One) with others is the remarkable lack of questions that come my way. Typically, those who accept the account offer responses built around some variation of the “praise God” theme. Those who are skeptical tend to respond by looking for the most expedient way to change the subject. Either way, the opportunity to question, investigate, and test the report of a modern-day miracle is overlooked.
As a skeptic myself, it would be hard to think of a question that I haven’t asked at some point during the past 8½ years. So it’s difficult to believe that others don’t have the same questions. But whether it’s fear of offending me, or fear of straying outside the comfort zone of one’s own belief system, very few people have the courage to directly explore those kinds of questions with someone who both has firsthand knowledge of the situation, and who has probably already explored that same question himself.
In fact, the one condition we had before being interviewed for this book was that our own doubts, questions, and skepticism would come through as accurately and transparently as possible. As we read the final product, we were relieved to see that attitude come through, not only through our own story, but in the authors’ emphasis on testable, verifiable evidence. Conditions are applied to distinguish “miracles” from “coincidences”. The possibility of future scientific descriptions for presently unexplainable physical events is clearly offered. Readers are cautioned to allow physicians to assess the completeness and permanence of healings before making any public claims or before discontinuing treatment. And all of this is told in the context of an author whose wife, as the book went to press, continued to suffer from untreatable and unhealed cancer.
I was originally going to write this post listing all of the questions I had asked myself, along with my answers. But that’s the problem with most “miracle” accounts. They’re one-way sermons with no opportunity for follow-up. So I’m challenging you, the reader, to take over from here. Think of the one question you’re dying to ask someone who claims to have seen a modern-day “miracle”, and let’s discuss it. Who knows, maybe you’ll come up with the one question I haven’t thought of yet.