When is the Impossible Possible?


So a guy near where I live died. But he’s feeling much better now. In 2013, Anthony Yahle went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to Kettering Medical Center. Doctors tried for 45 minutes to restart his heart. They finally called “time of death” and informed his family. Until then, the longest delayed cardio reboot without reduction of the patient to a vegetative state was 38 minutes, and in that case hypothermia (freezing) had been induced to preserve the brain cells. If Anthony had lived, they explained, his brain would have been a wiped hard drive.

The only problem was, his son, Lawrence, refused to accept the facts. As members of the family church prayed, Lawrence ran down the hall to the operating room, shouting, “Dad, you’re not going to die today!”

At which point, according to cardiologist Dr. Raja Nazir, a “miracle” occurred. “It was mind boggling,” he said, when the dead man’s electrical functions suddenly started back up. A short time later, Anthony left the hospital with no signs of brain damage (and a brand new defibrillator).

Do miracles always occur when people pray? No. The Apostle James was executed despite the, no doubt, urgent prayers of the church. But a short time later, the Apostle Peter was miraculously saved from the exact same fate. The difference? God’s will.

Faith doesn’t do miracles, God does. My high school choir director, a devout Christian Scientist who believed in the power of faith itself, refused medical treatment for unstoppable hiccupping. And died.

On the other hand, when a fellow prof at BIOLA University in California, was told her “last stage” cancer had metastasized and was now “beyond treatment,” Roxanne calmly replied, “Oh, I’ll be fine.” As a woman of both intellect and faith, she knew that faith was not magic, that only the Creator of all things can do miracles. But her praying friends had all received the same word from God: “Roxanne’s not going to die.” And so she believed.

At her next check-up, all signs of cancer were gone. Her flabbergasted doctor admitted, “This is completely impossible.” Roxanne’s reply? “I know it is, for you and for me…

But with God all things are possible.”

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to When is the Impossible Possible?

  1. Mark Brady says:

    Great post Mitch! I was in the hospital this week and had some of these same thoughts as I was praying asking God to heal me. I am still praying about what to post Saturday. I like this, so I am asking if I can have your permission to re-post if God directs me that way. Oh, and I am fine now, and back home.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s really too bad we can’t direct miracles. In my best God voice, “That one will live, and this one won’t. As I have said, so shall it be.” This is followed by rumbling and a fine white mist. God has to know we’d abuse the privilege. “He CAN’T die! He owes me money!” “She can’t die, she prayed that God would protect her when she jumped off the cliff!” “He can’t die, he’s my only son!” We don’t have the long view. And if we decide who lives, then can we have the directed bolts of lightning? “He just cut in front of me! Push the button, Max!” Zzzzzap! Ok, just little zaps every time this guy lies. zap zap zap zap… Complete chaos! We Christians have to know that God’s plans are not always revealed to us and that sometimes the answer to our prayers is “No.” Because we interpret God’s word to our best interest and miss the truth for the convenience. That’s why we live for 90 years instead of 960. Imagine how our perspectives would change if we lived for 960 years. Whatever happens to us, we’ll be fine.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. In 2009, my husband’s kidney disease was bringing him closer and closer to dialysis. One night, I laid hands on his back, kidney-height, and earnestly prayed that he would be spared such an awful future. Not much later, he did indeed have to begin dialysis. So the answer was, “No.” Nine months later, now down to just one treatment a week, he was able to get off of it! That. Does. Not. Happen. The answer had came slowly, but it arrived. Yes. He was dialysis-free for 3 years! Then in 2012, he had to go back to it, but he had had 3 wonderful years of freedom. The answer was still yes. 13 months later, at age 81, he was in ICU with pneumonia, receiving continuous dialysis. Day 5: he had no circulation in his right lower leg and foot. Amputation was a solution. But intolerable. Frail and ready, he chose to have the machine turned off, the one power that he had left to him. He died quietly 8 hours later, the sounds of “It Is Well With My Soul” going with him. The answer was yes.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Many years ago I heard a man of God who’s witnessed his share of healings say, “unless the Holy Spirit told He’s going to do something, its got no business coming out of your mouth.” I never forgot it.
    Good post Mitch! Blessings my brother!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Many years ago I heard a man of God who’s witnessed his share of healings say, “unless the Holy Spirit told you He’s going to do something, its got no business coming out of your mouth.” I never forgot it.
    Good post Mitch! Blessings my brother!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. nancyehead says:

    Faith doesn’t do miracles, God does.–Love that!

    Amen, Mitch. He’s such a great God–and someday, we’ll understand His wisdom in the yeses and the nos. Great post. God bless!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. oneta hayes says:

    Mitch, I agree with this post completely. But I have a question/comment about the Apostles James and Peter situation. I have read that account in Acts several times; the last couple of times it seemed to me to support the importance of the church praying intensely. Before James was beheaded, there is nothing said about the church praying. After he was beheaded it seemed that the church “woke up” to the importance of prayer so they “were praying earnestly for Peter.” (Acts 12:5) I think this contrasts two situations – one when the church was not in gathered in earnest prayer and how different it was when the church prayed together earnestly. I don’t know that the church was not praying for James, but I do know we often let tragedy creep up on us and when it strikes we turn to prayer instead of “remaining” in prayer as we should.

    Liked by 2 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Hi Oneta. I wrestled with that question when I preached on the passage some years back. I think it’s safe to assume that the church in Jerusalem prayed for James the moment he was taken away, not only because Acts 1:14 tells us that they continuously prayed about everything together, but because it is inconceivable to me that they would not have bothered to pray for any one of them if/when they was arrested, much less an Apostle. I suspect Acts mentions their prayers for Peter as a way of highlighting their increased alarm following James’ martyrdom.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. anitashope says:

    I agree with you post 100% but…we must never cease to show him our faith and dedicated prayers so that he can indeed show us his will.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a great story. It seems God IS in the miracle business. We seem to be seeing more and more of them and I think it is for a sign to the unbelievers of God’s great mercy and power! So happy for your friend, Anthony! P.S. Just heard of the Jericho Fellowship. They are giving awards for the best Essay, Playwriting, Innovation and Visual Art submission. You may want to check it out. I submitted an Essay. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. M.B. Henry says:

    Wow!!! Some very moving and miraculous accounts there.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. CLEvangelism says:

    “Faith doesn’t do miracles, God does.”

    I heard this nearly verbatim today, except the pastor I was listening to said “prayer” instead of “faith.”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jeff Rab says:

    Wow! Excellent post, Mitch!!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Heidi Viars says:

    Glad our (cyber)paths have crossed! Great post. Little faith in thick ice is better than big faith in thin ice… it’s not our faith that holds us up but He who is able to carry us 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  14. numrhood says:

    Matthew 44:51 we have heard our prayers
    happy are the children of the lord
    i am the 1st blood & i am the last dragon


  15. The Second-Rate Scientist says:

    Love it. Thanks, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Encouraging and inspirational! ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks for the line, “Faith doesn’t do miracles, God does.” Too many people have told me that someone was not cured because they did not have enough faith. It is always in God’s hands.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. TEP336 says:

    It always comes down to trust, and knowing that it all comes back to God. I trust that the Lord knows what He’s doing, that He has His reasons for doing it, and that I am either a part of that plan, or not. As I see it, the Lord delivered my mother from Alzheimer’s disease. Did He do it by healing her brain and restoring her to those of us who knew and loved her most? No, but he delivered her from it nonetheless. Her mind is clear, her body is whole, and she is free. I have no doubt our separation from her is only temporary, and I trust that the Lord is taking good care of her, and enjoying her loud, obnoxious laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Wow! Thanks for sharing such encouraging stories of the miraculous, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Miracles with our Creator are the daily routine acts that happen. At the time that we experience a happening, it becomes a Miracle.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Zeeshan Amin says:

    That is why He is the Almighty. He doesn’t ask us before deciding something; he just commands : “Happen!” And it happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. gpavants says:


    Lord, help us to live your possible today. Thanks for the story. God is working. Amen!


    Liked by 1 person

  23. cat9984 says:

    My son was caught in a riptide in Lake Michigan for 20 minutes. The Coast Guard thought they were going on a retrieval call; he climbed into the boat. If I’d had any doubt before, that was the end of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Pingback: When is the Impossible Possible? – Here's Your Hope!

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