Dr. Greenberg found a lump. A "thickening," she called it, and with professional sangfroid, jotted on my chart. Trained fingertips-2,000 receptors per digit and sensitive to a dot 3 microns high (the diameter of a human hair is 50 to 100 microns), or to textures 75 nanometers deep (one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair)-were the bearers of bad news. Let Evolutionists despair and Intelligent Designers delight: The most advanced robotic "fingers" engineered by man are clumsy with the toddler's task of picking up a drinking glass.
"All men live under a sentence of death. They all go sooner or later. But I'm different. I have to go at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning. It would have been 5, but I had a good lawyer" (Woody Allen as peasant Boris, soon to face a firing squad in Love and Death). Not so funny anymore. Not funny either when moments later in her private office, my new nemesis says, "When you phone for the mammogram, tell them to put you at the head of the class."
History-changing upheavals walk in small and unimpressive: a snatch of tape spied by a lonely night watchman at the Watergate complex; the word thickening barely breathed into the ether. The universe is irreversibly altered. There is a chasm fixed, with me on one side and 6 billion people on the other, their comings and goings a blur of absurd commotion. "Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left." No lover's bond, no cable of motherly devotion to her child, no ardency of friendship, will revoke the ripping apart.
That was the first morning. At evening I called Ronnie, my most violent friend. "Violent" in the sense of C.H. Spurgeon, who wrote, "'The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.' But this violence does not end when a man finds Christ; it then begins to exercise itself in another way. . . . Mark such a man who is a true Christian, mark his prayers, and you will see there is violence in all his supplications." So Ronnie supplicated violently over this sister, and I went to bed.
The following I report without commentary, in the manner of Luke's restrained report of the miraculous rescue of Peter in answer to prayer, where the prayer warriors on hearing of it said to Rhoda, "You are out of your mind." I was put to the head of the class. I was mammogrammed and ultrasounded and prodded with professional fingers-and totally exonerated of my death sentence.
Now when do you have a certifiable miracle? Well, never, if you claim a priori that miracles have ceased. And never if, like me, your mind leaps like a duck on a June bug to naturalistic explanation: Doctor A blew it. The latter theory is possible, of course, but on the other hand, what would it take, and how much proof, before I acknowledged the supernatural in my life? (Father Abraham says even raising a corpse wouldn't do it for folks of a certain ilk. Luke 16:31.) Francis Schaeffer draws the line precisely here between the Christian mind and the non-Christian mind: "I am not a Bible-believing Christian in the fullest sense simply by believing the right doctrines, but as I live in practice in this supernatural world" (True Spirituality).
My violent intercessor seems to think that since we prayed watchfully (Colossians 4:2), and since the request we sought was granted, it's a no-brainer that I need to give public glory to God. There are precedents, of course: The leper is healed and forthwith told by Jesus to go show himself to the priest (Matthew 8:4). Still I protested vainly: "Many godly people pray and are not healed." Violent replied, "You were. Shout it from the housetops"-plus words to the effect that it's a dangerous thing to ask the Almighty for something, and then, having received it, to flirt with unbelief. There was no gainsaying that, and in the end I saw the truth of it, and yielded doubt to faith, and that is why I tell you this.
So here receive my public thanks to God. To Him alone be praise.