george_hancockstefanA couple of weeks ago, I had a detour from my planned weekend. Instead of traveling up north to teach, I traveled south to a hospital.  I thought that I will have an examination and go home. Instead, I ended up having to stay in the hospital for five days and have an angioplasty, with a stent placed in my artery.

Since nothing is being done in hospitals over the weekend, I was placed on multiple monitors and had all this time to read. Our church is doing a read through the Bible in one year program, and that week it happened to be the Gospel of Mark.  In a course that I teach at the seminary, I start by asking the students to read through the Gospel of Mark in one sitting.  I do this because Mark is the shortest gospel, but also because of its emphasis on Jesus’ ministry of teaching and healing.

As one reads through the gospel, one senses the ease with which Jesus Christ is performing all those healings. The blind, deaf, lame, demon-possessed, and even dead people – all are healed by Jesus. Jesus has come so that the sick could be healed, he tells the Pharisees.

Moreover, the gospel ends with Christ instructing his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel. The signs, miracles and healings that He has performed will accompany them.  The Book of Acts is an attestation of these miracles done by the apostles.

I do believe that God is still able and willing to do miracles and healings in our days.  I do believe that there are people today, in the church and outside the church, who experience these types of blessings from the Lord.  I regularly pray for people to be healed.

I sat on the hospital bed thinking about healing and doctors. I still believe that God could have healed me of the problems that I had with my artery. He could have unblocked it as though it never had a problem. However, a biblical healing did not take place over the weekend.

Thus, I thought some more.  I thought that the problem that I had was due to the genetics that I inherited from my parents.  Usually, people in my family have this type of problem in their sixties and this was my introduction to my sixties.  But there is only so much that you can blame on genetics. One of the reasons that I had this particular problem was that I have a predisposition towards certain foods and they are known to do a good job of clogging arteries. This was one of those accumulations of the seconds (and thirds) that I had over my sixty years of life.

Four days after I arrived at the hospital, the highly skilled cardiologist fixed my artery in less than fifty minutes. I immediately felt a healing and a change in my heart, in my breathing and in my entire being.  I stayed in the hospital for another day and I came home feeling so good.

Did God heal me? The answer is a definitive yes. He used the skills and the gifts of doctors, nurses and so many people involved in the healing process.  I praise God for what He has done and I pray that this time, I will follow the directives that I know I should have followed before for the sake of my body.

A few days after I came home from the hospital, an insurance nurse called to check on me. After about 30 minutes he said, “Mr. Hancock-Stefan, an event like you had makes people think of their impending mortality.  If you ever feel depressed or if you want to contact one of our counselors, here are the numbers.”  He really wanted me to take those numbers.

I thanked him for his professional advice, but for now I want to celebrate the healing that God has produced in my body!