Many of you know my wife, Nancy, had a stroke in January of this year. I call her recovery nothing short of miraculous. The reason for her nearly complete health is she had collateral circulation in the area where her aneurysm bled. As a result, her brain tissue in that area didn’t die from lack of oxygen and nutrients.
I told the story to my atheist friend. He wasn’t impressed. He first tried to tell me collateral circulation is not an uncommon physiological phenomenon. He almost died several years ago from a heart attack. The reason he's still alive, he told me, is his heart had formed collateral circulation around his 99% blocked coronary artery.
When I reminded him collateral circulation only occurs over time he scoffed – even though he teaches physiology at the university level and is aware of the process. As in his case, increased pressure within a blocked artery can sometimes cause neo-vascularization (creation of new blood vessels) to circumvent the blockage.
But Nancy’s situation was completely different. She did not have an artery that was slowly becoming obstructed. Her cranial artery suddenly burst. Like a popped balloon.
My friend grudgingly acknowledged collateral circulation doesn't form in an instant. But he still had one more argument.
“So, if your God created her collateral circulation, why didn’t He just create her blood vessel to not burst in the first place?’
I was speechless. How can an intelligent person – one who teaches human physiology, one who knows the delicate intricacies of the human body – how can such a person stare a miracle in its face, and still find a reason to disbelieve?
After all these years – decades, actually – trying to help my friend know the God whom I love, I fear he has made himself a living illustration of Isaiah’s prophecy as quoted by the Lord Jesus:
“In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; For the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.’” (Matthew 13:14-15)
I continue to pray for my friend nearly every day. I also pray for several other self-professed atheists, some of whom are like family to me. But the point of my remarks is not about them.
It’s about spiritual blindness which is far more disabling than physical blindness. It’s about being healed of such blindness, and dulled ears, and hardened hearts.
Listen, please. The only cure for such an eventually damning spiritual sickness is self-effacing humility before the Creator, a humility that leads to repentance of one’s willful rebellion against Him and His commandments.
Only then will God, in His abundant mercy, open blind eyes, deaf ears, and hardened hearts.
And bring healing.