A Spiritual Story

By on May 18, 2015 in Pathways, Posts | 2 comments

This is a traditional story I first read years ago in Love, Medicine and Miracles, a book by the surgeon Bernie Segal.

A man is hospitalized with late stage, life threatening cancer. His physician is talking to him explaining that he requires major surgery the next morning if he is to have any chance of survival. He reluctantly agrees. The man was in great fear for his life and being a religious person with firm faith in God he begins to pray for healing. During this time of prayer a miracle occurs. God appears to the man and in his beautiful, deep, resonant voice says to him, “I have been listening to your prayers my son and I will grant your wish and provide the healing you ask for.” The man is obviously profoundly grateful lying in a blissful state in his bed thinking he will be able to remain with his family.

The bliss is disrupted as a lab tech enters his room who explains he is there to take a blood sample in preparation for tomorrow’s surgery. Our patient explains with deep faith and seriousness, “Oh no, that will not be necessary. God promised me this afternoon that he will heal me.” No blood was drawn. Then a nurse enters with new medications as part of the preparation which he also refuses. “God is saving me. Not medicine.” Throughout the afternoon he refuses the X-ray professional, surgeon, chief of surgeons, oncologist and even the hospital psychiatrist who was sent to assess the man’s mental stability.

Unfortunately the man’s condition deteriorates and he dies in forty-eight hours.

When he gets to heaven the man is shocked and much less grateful. He goes up to God and says, “What is going on here? You said you would save me and here I am, dead. What is the deal?”

God, sighs, smiles kindly and responds, “My son. I tried, you refused.”

The man responds, “What? I never refused anything from you.”

“But I sent the lab tech, nurse, surgeons, X-ray professional. Why I even reached out the psychiatrist as a last resort. I came to you in each of them.”

I actually love this little story because it illustrates the way the involvement of Spirit in our world often comes in human form. It comes in the midst of life not apart from it. We are all the miracle of the Divine when we bring our gifts in service to each other. The entire creation arises from the creator. The Divine often enters our lives walking human pathways.

As I share this story, I wonder what happened next. I think my next post will be a continuation of the story. I am open to suggestions from any of my readers.


  1. It would be interesting to hear the perspectives of the healthcare professionals who were turned away by the man. I wonder if, in retrospect, any of them realized a missed opportunity to try to help him see how God may have been working through them to bring about the healing he desired.


    May 27, 2015

  2. Kerri
    That is a terrific comment. I was thinking of what happens between the patient and God. But Your comment directs me/us toward the caregivers, the angels, who are around us every day. Lots of possibilities in every direction. So readers the floor is still open for comments.

    C. Graham Campbell

    May 29, 2015

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