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PrologueFaith, like good poetry, starts with a lump in the throat.
—Robert FrostIt was an autumn morning in 1971, shortly after our family moved into our first house. The children were upstairs unpacking containers, and I was looking out the window at my father, moving around mysteriously on the front lawn. My parents lived nearby, and Dad had visited us several times already. “What are you doing out there?” I called to him.
He looked up, smiling. “I’m making you a surprise.”
What kind of a surprise? I wondered. Knowing my father, an engaging and quixotic man, it could be just about anything. But Dad would say no more, and caught up in the busyness of our new life, I eventually forgot about it.
Until one raw day in late March when, again, I glanced out the window. Dismal. Overcast. Little piles of dirty snow still stubbornly littering the lawn, as boots and wet mittens cluttered our closets. I had always hated winter—would it ever end?
And yet—was it a mirage? I strained to see what I thought was something pink, miraculously peeking out of a drift. And was that a dot of blue across the yard, a small note of optimism in this gloomy expanse? I grabbed my coat and headed outside for a closer look.
They were crocuses, not neatly marching along the house’s foundation in typical garden fashion (where I never could have seen them from the window) but scattered whimsically throughout the front lawn. Lavender, blue, yellow, and my favorite pink—little faces bobbing in the bitter wind—they heralded the hope I’d almost lost. “See?” they seemed to say. “You’ve survived the long dark winter. And if you hang on a little longer, life will be beautiful again.”
Dad. I smiled, remembering the bulbs he had secretly planted last fall. What could have been more perfectly timed, more tuned to my needs? How blessed I was, not only for the flowers, but also for him.
My father’s crocuses bloomed each spring for the next four or five seasons, bringing that same assurance every time they arrived. Hard times almost over, light coming, hold on, hold on. Then, apparently, the bulbs could produce no more. A spring came with only half the usual blooms. The next spring, about 1979, there were none. I missed the crocuses, but my life was busier than ever, and I had never been much of a gardener. I will ask Dad to come over and plant new bulbs, I thought. But I never did.
Our father died suddenly, on one exquisitely beautiful day in October 1985. We grieved intensely, deeply, but cleanly, because there was no unfinished business, no regrets or lingering guilt. We had always been a faith-filled family, and we leaned on it now. Of course, Dad was in heaven. Where else would such a beloved person go? He was still a part of us; in fact, he could probably do even more for his family now that he was closer to God.
And if I wondered, just a little, in the quiet darkness of my room, if I unwillingly questioned what I had been taught because faith suddenly seemed to demand more bravery than I could muster, if I silently echoed the words of that long-ago centurion, “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” no one else ever knew. We suffered. We handled our pain. We laughed and cried together. Life went on.
Four years passed, and on a dismal day in spring 1989, I found myself running errands and feeling depressed. Winter blahs, I told myself. You get them every year. It’s chemistry. Perhaps. But it was something else, too. Once again I found myself thinking about my father. This was not unusual—we often talked about him, reminiscing and enjoying our memories. But now, in the car, my old concern surfaced. How was he? And, although I hated to wonder, where was he? I know that I know that I know, I told God in the familiar shorthand I often use. But do you think you could send a sign, just something little, that Dad is home safe with you?
Immediately I felt guilty. God had been very good to me, and he had a right to expect something in return. I had given him my heart long ago, and I needed to surrender this endless questioning, too. But sometimes, I thought as I turned in to our driveway, faith is so very hard.
Suddenly I slowed, stopped, and stared at the lawn. Small gray mounds of melting snow. Muddy grass. And there, bravely waving in the wind, one pink crocus.
Hold on, keep going, light is coming soon. There was no way, I knew, that a flower could bloom from a bulb more than eighteen years old, one that had not blossomed in over a decade. But there the crocus was, like a hug from heaven, and tears filled my eyes as I realized its significance. God had heard. And he loved me, so much that he had sent the reassurance I needed in a tenderly personal way, so there would be no doubt.
Moreover, I knew in a shining instant that this was but a taste. Eyes had not seen, minds could not comprehend, the wonders God had planned for his children, and was pouring out on his children—not only in eternity, but here, every day. We needed only to listen and look, and cling to him with all our strength, to be part of it all.
The pink crocus bloomed for only one day. April 4. My father’s birthday.
But it built my faith for a lifetime.IntroductionI will pour out
my spirit upon all mankind.
Your sons and daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
your [children] shall see visions;
Even upon the servants and the handmaids,
in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
And I will work wonders in the heavens and on the earth, . . . .
Then everyone shall be rescued
who calls on the name of the Lord.
—Joel 3:1–3, 5Signs and wonders—as intimate as a flower at one moment, at other moments majestic and powerful, but always providing outward evidence of the unseen reality: God is near. Although faith should never depend on such things, we are mystical as well as physical beings, and we need a touch of the sacred now and then to remind us of our eternal home.
However, many believe that signs and wonders are occurring more frequently today. They note a subtle undercurrent of heavenly awareness and activity, perhaps the seeds of a spiritual renaissance, being experienced not just by seers but by the rank and file. In a June 1992 report, the Princeton Religion Research Center found that “seven in ten Americans say their faith has changed significantly, with equal proportions saying it came about as a result of a lot of thought and discussion [or] as a result of a strong emotional experience.”
Of course, such things do go in cycles. If we trace the history of Christianity, for example, we see that the charismatic gifts, such as prophecy, visions, and speaking in tongues, faded after the first centuries, giving rise to a more structured church community. Gradually humankind shifted from a constant awareness of the divine to a more scientific emphasis, culminating in the eighteenth century’s Age of Reason. Eventually “the supernatural became folklore, relegated to the dustbin of superstition, and ridiculed,” explains Michael Brown, author of The Trumpet of Gabriel. “Who needed God’s light? When man wanted light, he now walked to a switch and turned on the electricity.”
But as we reached more recent times, there were indications that ignoring the “God-shaped hole within us” (which, as philosopher Blaise Pascal noted, cannot be filled with anything but God) was not working. Society, with its increase in crime and poverty, its lowering of moral standards, families at risk, promiscuity, racial divisions, and pervasive despair, seemed out of control, at some kind of critical threshold.
It was then, many believe, that a reappraisal began. What was missing? And was a concerned heavenly Father actually sending specific signals, wake-up calls to convince the oblivious and skeptical that our priorities had gotten skewed, that it was necessary to “seek first the Kingdom of God”? After a near-death experience (NDE), author Roberts Liardon described this view very specifically: “I was told that [in a period coming soon] God would pour out his spirit on everyone; we all would come into contact with the power of the Lord in some way. People would then be faced with a choice, as to what and whether to believe. A surge of manifestation of God’s power would come on the youth, both male and female. They would have visions, supernatural dreams, and prophecy.”1
It seems to be happening. “We live in an exceptional time,” said Dr. Peter Wagner, professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, in an April 10, 1995, interview with Time magazine. “In the Middle Ages in Europe, perhaps, there may have been something comparable. But certainly in the history of the United States we have never seen such a frequency of signs and wonders.” That Time and other major media outlets would be covering this topic at all is indicative of the truth of Wagner’s statement.
Of course, many people are hesitant about signs and wonders, miracles and other subjective experiences, fearing that they might be associated with serious spiritual error, fraud, or even occult practices. Such concern is necessary, and we should always pray to discern such manifestations correctly. But although there undoubtedly are false miracles—and false prophets—these should not negate the things of heaven. Supernatural signs and wonders do seem to be increasing. So what exactly are we seeing today?Life Hereafter
Consider the growing awareness and acknowledgment of NDEs, first chronicled by Drs. Raymond Moody and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in the 1970s. Although considered by some scientists as mere chemical changes in the brain, NDEs nonetheless gained validity as millions reported the death process as visiting a glorious place of light. Ultimately, instead of a final judgment, these witnesses say, God permitted them to return to earth because of work left undone or family responsibilities. “Then I knew. I had to go back. Someone who loved me still needed me,” wrote the late Catherine Marshall, depicting her mother’s near-death experience in the award-winning book Christy. “The light was not for me. Not yet. But sometime. Oh, sometime!”
Characteristically, those who have experienced NDEs undergo a spiritual renewal. Most also say they have lost their fear of death, because of a wonderful reassurance that this life is not all there is. And their accounts are particularly consoling for survivors who have lost loved ones, especially under difficult circumstances. Physician Ron Kennedy, attacked in his home after returning from a business trip, described an actual stopping of the material world (and his own pain and fear), replaced by a feeling of being surrounded by “a sea of enormous love. It has occurred to me that if this light could appear to me, then those people you love who have died, and maybe in the most extreme circumstances, did not die alone as you would fear that they did: they died with great love around, and peace as well.”2
An interesting offshoot of the NDE is a circumstance called nearing death awareness (NDA), when dying people seem to interact with heaven in a visionary way. Such episodes were once dismissed as hallucinations, but are now increasingly chronicled by both laypeople and medical personnel.
NDA occurs most typically when a dying person, often wearing a look of wonder and joy, begins to reach, smile, wave, or even talk with someone invisible to others. An elderly man described people sitting with him in quiet comfort, but explained that he was not permitted to tell his daughter who they were. “Do you recognize them?” she asked.
“Of course I do,” the father responded, “and the music is beautiful!”
“These [happenings] give us glimpses of whatever dimension exists beyond the life we know,” says Maggie Callanan, author of Final Gifts, a book about NDA, “and show us how we might take comfort from these reunions and messages.”
Angels around Us
In 1991, in my introduction to Where Angels Walk, I wrote, “Angels don’t get much attention today.” Was I wrong! Although I didn’t yet know it, a force was gathering and would soon explode into a huge international trend. From it have come television documentaries, stores specializing in angel items, countless books on the subject, and most encouraging, a growing army of witnesses testifying to personal angel encounters and resulting spiritual growth—in a secular, disbelieving world—just as biblical figures did. Hero pilot Scott O’Grady, rescued from enemy territory in Bosnia in April 1995, willingly told the media about a voice and a “protective presence” that kept him reassured during those difficult days. “An Angel Brings Rescuer to Victims” declared a no-longer unusual front-page headline in the Canton, Ohio, Repository on December 26, 1994. The most recent polls on this topic, done by Fox News and Gallup, each revealed that over 75 percent of Americans now believe in angels.
Why the interest? Perhaps more relevant: Why now? “The world is filled with spiritual warfare,” said Bishop Job, of the Midwest Russian Orthodox Church of America, in a recent video on angels.3 “We see it in every aspect of our society, of current affairs. . . . Life has become a complete tension between good and evil.” People are putting their trust in the natural world where they can easily be led astray, he believes, rather than in God and what God has revealed. Perhaps God is sending angels to remind us of these errors, and to draw our attention back to spiritual concerns.Clouds of Witnesses
In addition to angels, some people believe they have experienced unexpected contact with loved ones now in heaven. Events such as these were once considered grief-induced fantasies, and kept secret—it is one thing to believe, however tentatively, that God might send an angel to bring comfort or help someone in need. But to send those now living in eternity? Hardly.
However, with near-death and angel experiences gaining credibility, society seems to be awakening to other mystical possibilities. “Once we accept that a light can come to us when we die, and we can interact with that light, we must . . . [recognize] that that same light can interact with us at other times during our lives,” says Melvin Morse, MD, pediatrician and author of Final Visions. Because our culture rarely allows for the idea of heaven and earth intersecting, Morse claims that this is “in many ways . . . a harder concept to accept than life after death.”
And yet St. Paul referred to that great “cloud of witnesses” who, now in heaven, stand ready to help and reassure us as we complete our earthly mission. Why would God not occasionally permit us to be touched by them?Dreams and Visions
Our Father has always reached his people in this way; at least seventy passages or events in the Bible refer to dreams and visions, promised by God as early as the days of Moses. “Should there be a prophet among you, in visions will I reveal myself to him, in dreams will I speak to him” (Numbers 12:6). Those skilled in interpreting dreams and visions were revered, and church fathers paid serious attention to them. However, as faith became more ritualized, many leaders relegated dreams and visions to the world of superstition.
But “so far we haven’t found anything in nature that doesn’t have its function,” wrote John Sanford in Dreams: God’s Forgotten Language. “So why should we say that of all created things, the dream alone makes no sense?” Since dreams are not necessarily limited by time and space or barriers that humankind deliberately erects, Sanford points out, it’s a natural way for God to reach us.
Visions are another way. Who can overlook the dramatic increase in reported apparitions of Mary, the Mother of Jesus (almost two hundred reputed new sightings just in the past few years), and related phenomena, such as weeping or moving statues, spinning suns, and other occurrences? And “Catholics aren’t the only seers,” noted Robert Ellwood, professor of comparative religion at the University of Southern California, in the Los Angeles Times (July 13, 1994). “Protestants have visions of angels or Jesus, Hindus have visions of Krishna.” Since 1990, reports of similar happenings have come from Iraq, Syria, Israel, Korea, India, and Lebanon; accounts of apparitions involving former Muslims have surfaced in Kenya, while in Nepal, large numbers of Hindus reported seeing the image of a crucified man in the sky. A Greek Orthodox church in Chicago, typical of many such sites, contains a painting that shed tears for seven months in 1986, and attracted over four million visitors, including scientists and representatives from the Smithsonian Institute. Witnesses to the occurrence reported many physical and emotional healings.
Although a number of these happenings are ultimately found to be fraudulent or explainable by natural means—and church leaders maintain a healthy skepticism about most others—it’s obvious that the sheer number of such reports is increasing. Why? Messages (when provided) are remarkably similar: God is urging repentance, pouring out his mercy on the entire world, and calling his children to his side. It’s not the phenomenon itself that is important, say experts, but what it means and where it leads.Changes in Nature
Six of the ten costliest disasters in U.S. history have occurred since 1989 (four since 1992), including the Los Angeles earthquake, the 1993 Mississippi River floods, which inundated an area the size of Switzerland, and three years ago, Hurricane Katrina, which left thousands of people homeless. An estimated 1,167 tornadoes were reported in the U.S. in 1993; 1995 was the most active East Coast hurricane season in more than forty years. In early 1996, several areas of the country endured record snowfalls and floods. Droughts seem to be increasing in both number and intensity. Has this all some spiritual significance? Are such phenomena fulfilling prophecies from earlier times?
We know that a loving Father would not deliberately send such devastation, any more than human parents would intentionally inflict pain on their offspring. But wise adults do permit children to experience the consequences of their behavior, as learning tools. Might God now be simply lifting the protective hand that he has long held over us, as a demonstration of what could happen if we continue to ignore him? “When mankind rejects God, it is also rejecting the force that binds the universe and keeps everything from chaos,” believes author Michael Brown. “But as at Sodom and Gomorrah, God’s warnings are almost always conditional. They describe what will happen if present circumstances persist.”
It is easy to see the negative side of nature out of control. But consider an interesting aspect: in many recent disasters there has been destruction to property, but a less-than-expected death and injury toll. One homeowner, surveying the smoldering remains of the Oakland, California, fires, summed it up: “I suddenly realized that everything that man had made was gone. Yet everything that God had made—our faith, our spirit, the love and support all around us, even the little flowers bravely pushing through the ashes—all this was still here.” For this man, the fire had become a blessing that forced him to reevaluate his life and his priorities.
On other occasions, people have treated approaching storms or floods as faith builders, by praying fervently that God put a ring of protection around their home or farm. Stories abound of hurricanes suddenly changing course or crops remaining safe despite freezing temperatures. Coincidences? Perhaps. Or perhaps these, too, are just part of the wonders God is showing us today.The Power of Prayer
Years ago we might have assumed that miracles were possible but granted only at distant shrines or through an anointed few, surely not for ordinary folks like us. Today we are learning that such a philosophy is too limited. “I was ready to respond to those who asked me not,” God reminds us in the book of Isaiah (65:1). “I said: ‘Here I am, here I am,’ to a nation that did not call upon my name.” Our Father wants us to ask, even boldly, for what we need, because asking is a sign that we understand our relationship with him.
Over one hundred scientific experiments have already been done on this theme, showing that prayer does bring about significant changes, especially when used in physical and emotional healings. “If the technique being studied had been a new drug or a surgical procedure instead of prayer, it would have been heralded as some sort of breakthrough,” notes Dr. Larry Dossey, author of Healing Words.
“My sense is that the healing phenomenon is the next phase of Jewish spirituality,” adds Rabbi Michael Swarttz, executive director of Camp Ramah, a Jewish healing center in Palmer, Massachusetts. “It involves people who are seeking and looking for ways to connect to God.”
That’s why today people routinely pray over those who are ill, asking God for multiplication miracles, including taking command over nature. Why membership in praise communities, prayer groups, and other more active and dynamic forms of worship is growing. Why some children—in many cultures, considered to have a special link with the sacred—seem to have spiritual wisdom beyond their years, just as the Book of Joel predicted. Why miracles seem to be happening more frequently than ever before.
And that’s why people of many ages and faiths have been willing to share their own glimpses of heaven on the following pages.* Although some of these events happened years ago, the majority are recent occurrences, offering reassuring evidence that God has not abandoned his people. Instead, he continues to call us—with little signs or awesome wonders—every day of our lives.
*Note: An asterisk (*) after a name indicates the name has been changed. For Love of LoganJesus said to them, . . . “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised.”
—Matthew 11:4–5Tami Carroll grew up in a small Indiana town, married in 1986 shortly after her high school graduation, and had her first baby, Jaclyn, a few years later. “It was a routine pregnancy and delivery, no trouble at all,” Tami recalls. She and husband Todd settled into a peaceful life on their farm, enjoying parenthood and planning a larger family. There was no warning of what was to come.
Tami became pregnant again in 1993. Everything seemed normal until her sixth month, when an ultrasound revealed problems. Tami’s obstetrician, Dr. Diana Okon, gently broke the news. “The baby had chromosomal abnormalities, stemming from a condition that is always fatal,” Dr. Okon says. The child, a girl, would die either during the next few months, or shortly after birth.
Tami and Todd were heartbroken. They named their unborn daughter Megan, and hoped she knew how much they loved her. Eventually Tami gave birth, but there was little to celebrate, for baby Megan was stillborn. “My mother had died when I was twenty,” Tami said, “and at the time I thought there could be no greater pain than losing a parent. But now I had to admit that the pain of losing a child was even worse.” Also difficult was the seed of doubt that had been planted. Could this happen again—did the Carrolls have some kind of genetic defect? Worse, what if Megan was the last child they would ever conceive?
Tests on Tami and Todd showed nothing amiss, however, and eventually Tami became pregnant again. But now she was nervous, afraid to get her hopes up. In addition, although Tami had grown up as a Southern Baptist, she hadn’t been to church in years. “For many reasons, I had sort of given up on God,” she admits. “At times, I felt that even if he was listening to me, he probably didn’t care.” But gradually, as this pregnancy progressed, Tami found herself talking to her heavenly Father. “God, please give me a healthy baby,” she asked each day, Megan’s death still fresh in her mind. Even if she and God had not been close for a while, he surely wouldn’t ask her to go through another loss like that, would he?
Time passed, and despite her worry, Tami had no problems. Dr. Okon monitored her carefully, doing a chromosomal test as well as extra ultrasounds. The baby—a boy whom the Carrolls had already named Logan—looked vital and completely normal.
Tami was due on April 9, 1995. But when she went to the office for her scheduled checkup on April 5, Dr. Okon decided to hospitalize her early the next morning. “I think she knew I was worried and that it might be better for me to be induced in a controlled setting,” Tami explains.
The following morning, Todd and Tami drove to Clark Memorial Hospital in nearby Jeffersonville. Tami was admitted, labor began, and everything seemed fine. Baby Logan was closely monitored, and his heart was healthy and strong. Todd and Ruthie, Tami’s sister, were with her, and as things progressed, the grandparents assembled in the waiting room. It would be a joyous event—not like the last time, they all assured each other. New life was budding. Logan was almost here!
By late afternoon, Dr. Okon had delivered two other babies and was as ready as Tami to meet little Logan. Her contractions strong and healthy, Tami was taken to the delivery room. She was almost to the end now, and as the nurses cheered her on, she pushed and pushed. “One more!” a nurse shouted. “He’s almost here!” Tami pushed again. But Logan’s heart rate had suddenly slowed. And at 4:42, as Dr. Okon took him from the womb, there was no heartbeat at all. “There was a loose umbilical cord around the infant’s neck that slid off easily. [His] mouth and nose were bulb-suctioned on the perineum and the fluid was clear,” Dr. Okon wrote in a later report. But the baby’s Apgar score—the test that determines newborn health—was zero. He wasn’t breathing.
“Call code,” Dr. Okon quickly told a nurse as she carried the lifeless infant to the warmer on the other side of the room and gave him oxygen. “Come on, Logan!” she murmured. “Wake up!” Another nurse started chest compressions.
There was no cry, no heartbeat, no pulse. The baby’s eyes remained closed, his limbs limp, his color an unhealthy gray.
“Logan?” Tami asked. “Todd, why isn’t he crying?”
Todd stood in shock, watching nurses running here and there. No one was saying anything, and the silence was horrible. Logan, Logan, please cry. Ruthie realized something terrible was happening and hurriedly left the room.
Within seconds, it seemed, an emergency room physician raced in, followed by Tami’s pediatrician, who had been summoned from her nearby office. One of the nurses phoned Kosair Children’s Hospital in nearby Louisville, Kentucky, which has a neonatal unit and specialists on call. A respiratory therapist passed Tami, then an X-ray technician. “What is going on?” Tami screamed, beginning to sob. Tears streamed down Todd’s cheeks.
A nurse tried to comfort them. “We don’t know anything yet,” she whispered.
It couldn’t be happening, not again. She couldn’t lose another child. Logan, please breathe.
Dr. Okon came to Tami’s side, to finish the delivery process. The specialists, she explained softly, had intubated the baby and were forcing air into his lungs. Someone had injected medication, someone else was taking X-rays, everything possible was being done. To Tami, it was all a horrible nightmare. She had thought everything was under control, and now she realized that nothing was. Only God could help Logan now. “Dear God,” she whispered through her tears, “please don’t do this. I don’t think I can handle it. Please save Logan, please. I’ll take him in any condition.”
Medical personnel continued to work over the baby. “But Logan never showed any signs of life, nor did he respond to any of the advanced cardiac life-support efforts by the code team,” says Dr. Okon. At 5:15, thirty-five minutes after delivery, the neonatal specialists from Kosair and Clarke Hospital personnel agreed to discontinue all resuscitation efforts. Logan was pronounced dead.
Unobtrusively, a nurse baptized Logan. Another weighed him—eight pounds, three ounces—cleaned him, wrapped him in warm blankets, put a little stocking cap on his dark head, and laid him in Tami’s arms for a last good-bye. She held him close, searching his perfect little face. “Logan, don’t go—I need you,” she whispered. But her son’s eyes were closed, his body completely limp. Dear God, please. She had to let go, to accept the inevitable, but somehow, she couldn’t stop praying.
Dr. Okon and the pediatrician stood by Tami’s bed; the others had left the delivery room. “We don’t know what happened, Tami,” Dr. Okon said. “We won’t have any answers unless we do an autopsy.”
Tami blinked back tears. Perhaps an autopsy would save another family the suffering she was enduring. “All right,” she agreed. “But I want to hold him for a while.”
“Of course.” Someone brought a consent form, and still holding Logan, Tami reached over and signed it. Dr. Okon left the room to break the news to the Carroll relatives in the waiting room. Soon they streamed in, murmuring words of encouragement, mingling their tears with Tami’s and Todd’s.
Todd cuddled Logan, then passed him to Ruthie. The nurse took some photographs. Occasionally the baby’s body moved slightly, and the first time it happened, the nurse went out to the front desk and alerted Dr. Okon, who was talking to another physician on the phone. Dr. Okon explained that such a phenomenon was called “agonal breathing,” and was just a spasm or a reaction to the medication the baby had received. How unfortunate, she thought, that the Carrolls had seen it—it was almost like Logan dying twice.
At 5:55 p.m., mourning was coming to an end, at least for the moment. It was time, everyone knew, to turn Logan’s body over to the hospital. Tami’s stepmother was holding him, and she bent over him to say a last good-bye. Once again, his little body went into a spasm. Tami’s stepmother looked, and looked again. “Tami, he—he’s gasping!” she cried. “Look, his leg moved!”
“It’s just a spasm, like the nurse said,” Tami answered.
“I don’t think so—I think he’s breathing,” Grandma exclaimed. “Ruthie, get a nurse!”
Ruthie did. In an attempt to calm the family, the same nurse came quickly and put her fingertips on the baby’s chest. Then she reached for a stethoscope and listened. “Wait right here!” she shouted, as she ran out of the room.
Dr. Okon was still filling out forms when the excited nurse approached her. “She said, ‘The Carroll baby has a heartbeat,’ and I responded, ‘The next one to have a heart attack is going to be me if this doesn’t stop,’” Dr. Okon reports. But when she reached the now silent room and approached Tami’s stepmother, she could see that the baby was turning pink. “He’s alive?” she asked the older woman.
Tami’s stepmother could only nod, her arms trembling. Astonished, Dr. Okon took the baby from her. His little chest was rising and falling rapidly. “He is alive!” she cried. “Let’s take him to the nursery!” Nurse and physician ran with the infant out of the room.
Tami began to weep. She had been grieving for over an hour for her child, and now, it seemed, the cycle had started over. “Don’t do this again—I can’t lose him twice!” she wept, as Todd, still thunderstruck, tried to comfort her.
“We don’t know what’s going on, Tami,” he explained.
Tami did. It was just a cruel joke. For some reason Logan’s little body was still reacting to treatment, and everyone thought . . . But such things were impossible! Her son had been dead for an hour and eighteen minutes—no one could come back to life after all that time.
And yet, she had asked God for a miracle, hadn’t she?
Medical personnel began reappearing in the delivery room with bulletins for Tami and Todd. The neonatologists from Kosair Children’s Hospital had returned, dumbfounded. They were currently examining Logan in the nursery. His disbelieving pediatrician was also there, along with doctors from all over the hospital, responding to the quickly spreading news. Despite the impossibility of it, Logan was breathing on his own and appeared healthy. He had been placed in an oxygen tent, and tests were proceeding.
Of course, there were undertones that were not mentioned, at least not at this joyful, exultant moment. A baby clinically dead for over an hour would no doubt have severe brain damage, as well as nonfunctioning optic nerves, tissue damage, seizures—the list could be endless. But Tami was joyful. She had told God she would love Logan no matter what, and she intended to keep her promise. For now, everyone was in a state of awe. It was, as Dr. Okon described it later, like seeing the shadow of God passing by.
Baby Logan was transferred to Kosair Children’s Hospital and remained there for five weeks. He slept for the first two, due to medication reducing the possibility of seizures, and then gradually began to awaken. Although brain-damaged babies often don’t suck, he nursed immediately. Tests showed that his eyes and hearing were completely normal.
The story touched many. Medical personnel at Clarke Hospital dubbed him “Lazarus.” Strangers approached Tami on the street with tears in their eyes. Even an elderly lady wrote to tell the Carrolls that the same thing had happened to her at birth, and no one had ever believed her mother—until now.
What happened to this very special baby? No one really knows. One theory is that Logan might have experienced the same kind of situation as a drowning victim—when systems shut down for a time, then spontaneously revive. However, Logan had never actually been alive after birth, and Dr. Okon, who has seen nothing like it in her years of practice, is grateful that she was not the only specialist on the scene. “If I had been alone,” she told Tami, “I might have concluded that I had made a mistake, missed a tiny sign of life. But there were other physicians there, including neonatologists, and we all agreed.” Logan was dead, and then he was resurrected.
Today Logan, diagnosed with cerebral palsy several years ago, has a rich and satisfying life. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, he is bright and fun loving, attends a regular school, and is an inspiration to everyone who meets him. Onlookers might wonder why Logan was not completely healed. But those who know Tami and the unconditional love that she has always given her son understand that this is the best part of the miracle.
Why did it happen? “Maybe God wanted to show us that miracles do happen, to say, ‘I’m still here and I still raise people from the dead,’” Tami says. “And maybe it’s not my job to ask why, but just to keep telling others, and keep saying thank you.”
She is willing to carry out that heavenly assignment. What else can one do with such a wonder?