August 27, 2014
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CHRISTMAS: Encouragement for the faithful
Posted on Dec 20, 2013 | by Greg Smith

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Greg Smith
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- Christmas came early for us this year. After a long battle with cancer, my brother-in-law Bruce was readmitted to the hospital in Indianapolis for surgery earlier this month.

After a short recovery, and just as the hospital staff was assisting him into my dad's car, Bruce passed out and fell to the ground. No one knew yet that a blood clot had dislodged from somewhere in his body and moved to the main artery to his lungs.

Bruce had fainted because no oxygen was getting to his brain and other vital organs.

That Saturday morning, Bruce coded three times in the hospital parking lot. Each time, the CPR team worked to revive him. Finally, they got Bruce into the emergency room. He was stable and still alive, but no one knew if he would come out of an induced coma. That was Saturday.

On Sunday morning the reports started coming in. Bruce's wife Judy had fought her way through the Saturday snowstorm and finally made it to the emergency room. What we read in her text messages brought us tears of joy.

Judy reported that doctors were using words and phrases like "miraculous," "amazing," "hard to believe" and "had to see it for myself" in describing the scene. Bruce had come out of the coma, and with the breathing tube still in his mouth was writing notes to his wife, asking why he was still in the hospital and why his chest hurt so badly.

All day, hospital staff visited Bruce in amazement. As soon as his breathing tube was removed, and for the rest of the day, Bruce gave testimony after testimony of the Lord's healing.

One doctor told Judy that Bruce was a new member of the "1 Percent Club," that what happened to Bruce happens in less than 1 percent of all the cases he sees.

The 1 Percent Club. What an awesome place to be. We know that not everyone will experience physical healing here on earth, but everyone can be part of God's 1 Percent Club.

Amidst the chaos and a world full of emergency room experiences, God's Word reminds us that all of us in the family of faith have experienced an amazing spiritual miracle.

In the chaos of Israel's day long ago, the prophet Isaiah brought words of encouragement to the faithful remnant. God encouraged the faithful then, just as He encourages the faithful today, with the hope of a New Heaven and a New Earth.

God promised that in that future day, "Never again will there be in it infants who live but a few days, or older people who do not live out their years," and, "Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear" (Isaiah 66:20a, 24).

On that day the Lord Jesus will come back to rule and establish His throne among His people. When He does, Jesus Christ will have the final word on all suffering, pain, injustice and even death.

When Jesus sits to rule on the throne on that day, the promise is made that "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4).

Let the faithful anticipate His coming again with great joy and courage this holiday season.
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Greg Smith is associate vice president for academic administration and associate professor of Bible at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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