Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Are You Living a Miracle?

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I had a patient tell me recently that he felt like he was the recipient of a miracle.

At first I viewed him with skepticism. Miracle? Maybe the recipient of a normal biological process. Perhaps incredibly fortunate at most.

If he had credited his recovery to his highly skilled surgeon, then maybe I would have believed him. But he didn’t.

But the more I thought about it, though, I realized he is right.

Miracles do happen.

The Broken Leg

My patient had fallen from the 2nd floor of his barn. Eighty-five years old and still farming. Perhaps the first miracle in the story.

He had fractured his femur, the thigh bone. When the femur breaks, life becomes incredibly difficult. Some use the world miserable.

Before having surgery, there is little that can be done to ease the pain. If you break your wrist or your ankle, it is easy to apply a splint to temporary stabilize the broken bone. If you break your femur, a splint doesn’t work.

photo by tedeytan (creative commons)

The Remedy and The Rehab

I fixed his broken leg the next day. To me, it wasn’t a miracle. It was just the standard of care. A procedure done in this country hundreds of times a day.

I placed a large titanium rod down the center of the bone. Screws go through the rod at the top and the bottom holding the broken bone in place. Giving the stability it needs to heal.

The surgery helps with the pain immediately. The bone ends are no longer free to move. No longer free to grate against each other or to stab the muscle. The pain isn’t completely gone, but it is significantly better. It changed to a healing pain.

The surgery is done, but the healing process is only beginning. My patient needed to rehab his leg. With the rod holding the bone in place he could start moving again. He could sit up in bed. He could get to a chair. With time, he was able to walk again.

Walking was painful. His muscles had weakened with inactivity. With time and work, the muscles grew strong. But it didn’t happen all at once.

At first he used a walker, and gradually a cane. With time, his body healed enough and he is able to put weight on the leg again. Eventually he carried the cane just in case. A security blanket.

Today my patients walks without a limp or a cane. He is back in his barn throwing hay. Feeding animals. Perhaps the second miracle.

My Broken Heart

The most important reason to put the rod in the mans leg ‘s to allow it to heal. The rod helps his broken pieces to grow back together. To become whole again, over time.

The entire process reminds me of what Jesus does for us. We are a broken people, our hearts shattered to pieces. Sometimes the brokenness seems to happen suddenly, like falling out of the barn. Sometimes it happens a little bit at a time.

How broken bones heal makes sense. There are cells and blood vessels and osteoblasts and the metal rod. But Jesus heals our brokenness in a way that titanium and screws can’t. I don’t completely understand what Jesus does to us, but it is good.

Some say we have a broken heart, a dead one. But I think it’s more like having a broken femur. We talk about God taking out the dead heart and giving us a new one that is alive. I understand the analogy, but the picture suggests that in an instant our hearts are as good as new. They are healthy and disease free. Healed.

My heart is anything but new. It is better, but I still feel the brokenness.

I don’t understand broken souls. But I do feel the results. I feel the pain of betrayal and loss. I feel the pain of sickness and sadness. I feel anger and revenge.

I felt it yesterday and I feel it today.

Perhaps our sins are forgiven, and we becomes sons and daughters of God in an instant, but the pain I feel from my own brokenness isn’t completely gone.

The Remedy and Rehab for Our Souls

To me, what Jesus does to us seems more like this man’s healing bone. There is the initial event, the surgery to hold the pieces in place to allow healing. But the actual healing takes time.

The pain is better, but not gone. The brokenness stabilized, but not completely healed. There is the need for a walker because we still limp. There is the need for exercise and therapy because we are weak.

There is pain, but it has become a healing pain.

It has been 2 months since I put the rod in my patient’s leg. He is better, but not whole. He tells me about how hard his therapist makes him work. How much he dreads the days she stops by the house, but at the same time how much he loves her for helping him get better.

He tells me with tears in his eyes. Tear of pain and tears of gratitude all mixed together.

When he was lying in the stretcher in the emergency room the day of his injury, he never imagined he would walk again. With these tears he tells me about his perspective on the miracle.

And perhaps our therapy is the difficult moments God sends in our lives. The times when we can do nothing else but ask him why. The parts of our stories that hurt. The moments when he asks us to simply trust him, to believe in his goodness and his love, without any explanation as to why we should. Except that he is.

Maybe my patient is right, that anytime something that was broken is given the chance to heal, an unexplained miracle is taking place.

Are you living a miracle?

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About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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26 Replies

  1. clp

    In some ways, this hurts just reading this…because I am in the healing place, but I KNOW that already I see gratitude to my heavenly Father who is making all things new…It just takes time!

  2. I’m losing track on what I have written here vs written over at Jeff Goins site, so please forgive me if this is a duplicate! 😉

    My miracle is my family of six! (click my name for details)

    After 8 years of infertility and two adoptions, (one was a nightmare) we got pregnant with two daughters resulting in 4 daughters with only 5 years separating the oldest and youngest.

    There were so many little miracles during our 10 year journey I can hardly recount them all.

    Family is our miracle, and we love it!

  3. Wow! This was awesome! I really enjoyed reading this post! Thanks for sharing!

  4. God always has the best timing too!

  5. I’m telling my story in a series of posts on my blog. God is healing me of various psychological probs. Some happened very quickly – still working through a lot of other stuff. In my most recent post I explain some of God’s answers to the why question. It’s at

  6. Amazing post Jeremy! Your insights and perspective are so powerful! Another thing I thought about is that as we heal we have the power to help others heal, in some way becoming a participant in the healing process, another miracle!

  7. Heather

    A very timely read for me after a few months of frustration at something I should have “gotten over” by now. I think all the spiritual rehab is getting me down; I need to learn to be happy to crawl before I can walk. Considering I was paralysed by the problem before, crawling is a miracle in itself. Great stuff Jeremy.

  8. Janet

    Yes I am a miracle…. Jesus came into my life at the right moment (He is always on time) Like your patient with fractured femur could not wait too long for surgery, I could not have waited too much longer for God to take over. I would have ended up as an overdose victim or some such thing. YES I am a miracle alright.

  9. The part about the hurt in our life being part of the process really hit home. During times of trouble, we never see the outcome of it. It’s only after that we see how it fits into our story. Great post Jeremy!

  10. And when it does hurt we want it to end right away. But looking back, the pain is what we needed to grow and get better and we wouldn’t trade it for the world. Thanks, Tessa.

  11. Sounds like an incredible story, Janet. Thanks for sharing it.

  12. Crawling can be a miracle. We feel this way about our daughter often. She doesn’t walk normally, but she walks so much better than she did before. Sometimes we have to compare ourselves to where we have come from instead of where we think we are supposed to be.

  13. Helping others heal can be very therapeutic itself.

  14. Thanks for sharing, Sandra.

  15. I don’t remember either, but thanks for sharing it anyways. 6 kids! You must be crazy. : )

  16. I’m glad to hear that there is healing happening.

  17. I want very clear on family totals. Four daughters and two parents. 😉

  18. Of course I meant that as a joke since I have 6 kids. Now it’s even funnier.

  19. I’m slow but it’s early! (ish) 😛

  20. Ouch! You hit home there, Jeremy. It gets even worse when the devil whacks you real good where you’re still the most vulnerable. I guess a reasonable comparison would be for your farmer patient to develop an infection in one of the screw holes, or a further injury that would break along one of the screws. I’ve experienced the total loss of hope in Christ over something most people would consider trivial, but for me was just that major … something that I didn’t think I could do that, according to one trusted pastor, was a “command” from God. I didn’t see “willful disobedience” as anything that would continue to provide much hope.

    My wife has suffered similar spiritual abuse, damage that occurs during the healing process. Being raised in a Christian (though slightly off-balance) home, she had some additional support structure in place. I didn’t. I thought I was secure, just like that farmer, but once the damage is done, it’s amazing how long it can take for the healing to work.

  21. Good point, Heather. I needed to hear that, too.

  22. Like in medicine, though, you have to get direction from the Great Physician, lest you add to the damage.

  23. I’m going to check this out, Sandra. I’ve thought of doing something similar, but I know that family and “friends” will jump in and tell me to “get over it” or that I’m “wrong,” which just increases the pain (and not the healing).

  24. Sometimes it takes almost stubborn trust to see the healing., or to accept that it just might be there. I know Jeremy’s post has helped me in that area.

  25. Amen to that: helping others is great self-therapy.

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