Wednesday, August 21, 2013

God Raises The Dead Even On Your Off Days.


Chauncey Crandall wasn't having a great day. Not horrible. Not great. Work was piling up, people were demanding, and then a guy died on him.

You know. That kind of a day.

Less than an hour later, however, the dead guy would come back to life. So, in retrospect, maybe it wasn't that bad of a day after all.

When Jeff Markin walked into the Palm Beach Gardens Hospital on September 20, 2006, he had no idea he'd be playing the role of Lazarus. Right there on the emergency room floor his life took a very sharp turn, or, better stated, made a blunt stop.

And after 43 minutes of working to bring him back, Dr. Chauncey Crandall, the supervising cardiologist, (who still wasn't having all that great of a day) declared Jeff dead.

Although Jeff and Chauncey were both having days not going according to plan, God wasn't having the same frustration. He had His agenda right in front of Him, spread out on his larger-than-life mahogany desk. And right in the slot that said "raise Jeff Markin from the dead," God was right on time.

(God, unlike Jeff and Chauncey, was having a great day.)

Here's the part of the story that interested me when I heard about it yesterday. Not that men coming back to life isn't a real headline maker, but here's where I started to relate to Chauncey Crandall and his bad day.

Chauncey had a God-appointed task to perform. He may not have started his day thinking he would participate in one of God's God-appointed tasks, but, just like God is wont to do, God decided he'd keep it to Himself until the time of His choosing.

Surprise! 


As Chauncey left the room, a voice told him to go back and pray for that man. The one back there getting prepped by a nurse for the morgue. The one with the appointment with a toe tag. Yeah. That guy. The dead one. Pray for him.

He argued, of course. But God, isn't that just like God, was persistent.

So Chauncey returned. He put his hands on Jeff's chest, the one with no heartbeat, and prayed. And he did so with very little faith. He prayed not really believing it would make any difference. He prayed - not because he felt compelled by a fiery burning of spiritual awakeness in the pit of his stomach that was only completed with a sudden glory light of holiness ringing his head like a halo while the Hallelujah Chorus sang in four-part harmony in his ears - because God asked him to pray. He prayed out of obedience.

"This day that I prayed for Jeff," said Chauncey, "was a day of very little faith. It wasn't one of my big God days."

Think typical daily grind. That's what Chauncey was experiencing.

"And when I walked into that emergency room, to tell you the truth, I didn't want to stay and pray because I was so much in a rush with my work. But I prayed. And I didn't have a lot of faith backing that prayer up that day, but the Lord asked me to do it so I honored the Lord and prayed."

The rest of the story is: Dr. Chauncey Crandall asked the indulgence of one of the attending doctors to shock Jeff Markin one more time. Remember, he had been dead for 43 minutes. His time of death had been called. He was what Miracle Max would call "all dead" not "mostly dead."

Yet he came back to life, anyway.

Jeff came back from a place he described as completely dark. Isolated. And hopeless. A place he knew would be his to live, for all eternity, alone.

What's amazing to me is that, in that moment, Jeff Markin needed an Abraham. Or an Elijah. A Moses. Or a Paul, first name Apostle. He needed men who had big God days everyday.

Instead he got a Chauncey on an off day. And God still raised him from the dead.

I'm not sure what that says about your day. Or your tomorrow. I'm not even sure how to completely equate that to the grind of clocking in every day, not to a job, but to a life that, before we even live it, we've diagnosed as ripe with little God days.

Maybe, like me, most of your days feel like little God days. These are the days that hold no overpowering zeal, no walk-on-water actions, no surprises, not of the good variety anyway. Outside of traffic flow and slight temperature adjustments, these days are so much alike you need a calendar and a muscular alarm to differentiate the passing of one and the beginning of another.

God never shows up on these kinds of days. We know this because we've lived thousands before today and we'll live thousands after. Maybe. And what we discover is that everyday, except for brief stints of vacation periods and times of extreme trauma, are little God days.

Or so we think. 

Here's the problem with little God days: it takes a little god to live inside them. And God, last time I looked at a sunrise, a mountain, or the complexity of my fingernail, is what you would call the antonym of "little." 

So here's my challenge. For you and for me.

I want to wake up tomorrow and have a BIG God day. I want to look for Him. Even more than that, I want to expect Him. I want to stumble out of bed, stub my toe, drop the shampoo bottle at least three times in the shower, have my hairdryer short circuit, melt my XCVI pants with a too hot iron, break the yoke on my morning eggs, run my car until it sputters out of gas, have my first appointment of the day waiting impatiently for me when I get to work, and still have a big God Day.

Or, if I could skip the part about ruining my XCVI pants, that'd be okay, too.

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