Let me pose a question. Do you believe in divine intervention, or attribute significantly related events to coincidence? Let me phrase that differently. When the simultaneous occurrence of events appears significantly related, do you believe that they have no causal connection, or do you believe they have a divine purpose? Many of us who tend to doubt and deny aspects of experience that aren’t measurable and verifiable, might say, “Oh, that’s just coincidence.” But what if that coincidence occurs multiple times for the same event?
It was at the end of October 2012 that Storm Sandy caused much damage to the Northeast. It was the second most catastrophic and costliest natural disaster in US history, just behind Hurricane Katrina. The storm was not just an atmospheric storm but a personal storm for me. It was a time that I could have relinquished to despair and blamed God for my misfortune, but something miraculous happened. It would be life-changing.
The day before Storm Sandy came ashore and wreaked havoc with much devastation, I fell in my driveway and fractured my wrist in two places and crushed it. I was at the time, preparing for the coming storm. I would need to secure all items that could potentially fly and cause damage by Hurricane Sandy’s wind speeds and torrential rains.
Although the driveway was dry, it was that time of year when it became treacherous, as a fine layer of pine needles blanketed it. Every breeze and rain that caused these pine needles to fall from the five white pines that lined my driveway, accumulated causing the surface to become as slippery as a cold wintry snow and ice mix. I had learned to walk across patches of snow and ice, but apparently, I had not learned to traverse pine needles without falling. That’s when catastrophe struck.
“Lexi! Go fetch, girl,” I yelled to my dog, and threw a ball at her. Normally, she would always fetch the ball, but this time she didn’t. Was it because she could sense bad weather coming? Dogs who perceive low-pressure systems coming, it is believed, can cause them to become agitated and or less active. As the ball began to roll down the long, inclined driveway, I got this brilliant idea to run after it myself. And as I did so, my feet went out from under me and up into the air I went. As I began my descent, I instinctively braced for the impact by stopping the fall with my right hand. Crash! I lay there for a short while, the wind knocked out of me, and in excruciating pain. When I got up, my hand appeared to be bent to the right, and out of alignment with the rest of my arm. I desperately wanted to believe that it was just a bad sprain.
I perceived my condition as a view from the valley floor between two mountains instead of from God’s perspective at the top. But then how could I think otherwise from the place where God saw my affliction when fear and doubt prevented me from seeing any possibility that good could come of my suffering? My mind was a relentless barrage of negative thoughts and what-if scenarios. What if my wrist is broken? What if it doesn’t heal properly? What if there is permanent damage? Will it affect my ability to perform again? This last question weighed the most heavily on me as I am a professional flutist. It just didn’t look good. I couldn’t squeeze my hand or move it and my wrist appeared severely swollen. Yet, God would hear my heart cry despite myself, and he would answer it.
No one was around to help me, so I got myself up off the ground and then one-armed drove myself to the hospital. After checking in to the emergency unit, I was led to a curtained waiting room where I would be examined, and X-rays ordered. I would not get the results for another lonely couple of hours which seemed like an eternity of waiting. When the surgeon finally arrived, he pulled back the curtain and entered holding his clipboard and the results of my X-rays. “Mr. Hutzel?” he asked as if to confirm that I was he. “Yes,” I answered apprehensively. “From the results of your x-rays, Mr. Hutzel,” and he paused momentarily. My heart also stopped momentarily, figuratively speaking. “I am sorry, but I have bad news for you. My worst fears were realized. Your wrist is fractured badly and will require a plate and 3 pins. We will have to operate tonight. I will have someone come and get you prepped. I will see you in the operating room in just a little while.” My heart sank. But, for some reason, and without careful thought, I declined the surgery and asked the surgeon to set my broken wrist the old-fashioned way.
On whose authority was I speaking? Who the heck was I to tell the doctor how to proceed? The surgeon wasn’t amused in the slightest and strongly objected, giving me all the reasons why I should have the surgery. “No, Mr. Hutzel, I don’t think you understand. Due to the severity of the break, we must operate tonight.” Still, I insisted. If I was wrong, what would the worst-case scenario be anyway, that I would have to return a couple of days later for the surgery? Decided then! I would not have the surgery. He set my broken wrist and wrapped it in a temporary splint supported by a sling over the shoulder, expecting to see me a couple of days later after Storm Sandy passed. “See you Monday,” he said, although I would not see him until a week later because a state of emergency was declared in New Jersey. For days, no one would be allowed to travel except for emergency vehicles due to power outages, trees down, and roads impassable.
Miracles Still Happen Today
The next morning, I asked my friend John to drive me to the first of two services that I usually attended on Sunday mornings. I was scheduled to play flute with the worship team, but of course, that would be impossible. Have you ever seen a one-handed flutist? Well, except perhaps for Jethro Tull. So, I sat out the service. Afterward, I asked John if he would drive me to the 11:00 a.m. service at Zarephath Christian Church of which I was also a member. I invited John to just drop me off as I didn’t want to inconvenience him, but he stayed.
We found seats at the front of the auditorium in the 3rd row on the right and sat down until we were invited to stand for worship. As the singers, guitars, and drums played, I could feel God’s presence. It was during this time that I called out to the Lord in my anguish and pain and prayed. “Lord, in my place of weakness and need, won’t you turn your heart toward me and hurry to help me? For you are my Savior, and I’m always in your thoughts. So don’t delay to deliver me now, for you are my God.” (Psalm 70:5, TPT).
With my one good arm outstretched to God in worship, I then heard what I thought was an audible voice. In the Bible, God spoke directly to Abraham; He spoke directly to Moses; He spoke directly to Job. But, of over 8 billion people in the world today, why would God speak to little ol’ me? Try to make logical sense of that. You just can’t!
Then I heard it. “Bill, you are healed!” It was so clear, that I turned around to see who said it in the row behind me. No one made eye contact with me or spoke, so I thought I was hearing things. I returned to singing praise and worship, and then I heard it again. “Bill, you are healed!”
Was I delusional? Had I really heard God or was I certifiably crazy? Most people who read the Bible understand that these biblical accounts of hearing God’s voice really did happen but no longer today. I believe that is a lie. If Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and if he lives in me and I live in him, then miracles and healing are very much alive today.
Instead of becoming overly analytical and doubtful, as was my nature, I spontaneously got a check in my spirit that this was a Word of Truth. Forgive the cliché, but I took that check and ran to the bank and cashed it.
“Your faith has made you well, now go in peace, and be healed” (Mark 5:24).
Immediately following the service, I approached the pastor and asked him to pray for me. From his pocket, he pulled a bottle of prayer oil and anointed me with it. He, then, gently placed his hand on my right arm. “In the name of Jesus, be healed,” he commanded. As he did this, I felt heat travel through my entire arm. Warmth or heat felt from someone’s touch is often a confirmation that one’s prayer has been answered in the heavens and all one must do is wait for the manifestation in the physical. I have witnessed physical manifestations in others who have been prayed for. Answering prayers in this physical manner is one of the ways that God shares with us that He heard our prayers.
Afterward, my friend drove me home. I then waited for the destructive winds of Superstorm Sandy to come. For many, Hurricane Storm Sandy caused widespread electricity outages for days and weeks in some places. It was the most destructive, and strongest hurricane of the 2012 season, inflicting $70 billion in damages. Now all I could do was wait the storm out and stand strong in my faith and hope. God would remind me, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).
“You are responsible to be faithful. God is responsible for outcomes.” –
Quote by Jenni Catron
God’s Voice is Guaranteed
God speaks in various ways; all we need to do is listen because His voice is guaranteed. It can be an audible voice, a small still voice, dreams and visions, natural manifestations, circumstances, or in my case, God spoke specifically to me through the Bible, by randomly bringing a particular passage to my attention because His Word is living and active. “For we have the living Word of God, which is full of energy, like a two-mouthed sword. It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where soul and spirit, bone and marrow meet! It interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts” (Heb. 4:12). It was how God chose to reaffirm that I had been miraculously healed.
After Storm Sandy passed, I went outside to look at the devastation to my property and found five “trees uprooted,” one of which was my favorite, a weeping willow tree. I wept for it as it lay on its side. No longer would birds perch in it nor would it grace my property with its long slender branches that reached towards the ground. Depression overcame me like a ton of bricks hit me.
Returning indoors, I sat down and randomly opened my Bible directly to a passage in Job, chapter 19 verse 10, that said “He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone, and he UPROOTED MY HOPE LIKE A TREE”. WOW!, that got my attention in a big way! I don’t believe that this was coincidental. A day later, again I randomly opened my Bible directly to a passage in Isaiah 58:11 that said … “and the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and GIVE STRENGTH TO YOUR BONES”. This was the second attention grabber. Several days later, again, God showed me Proverbs 3:5-6 which said “trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.” If you continue reading on in Proverbs 3 verses 7 and 8, it says “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your BONES.” Although the word bones got my attention again in this verse, I don’t believe God was only speaking to me here of physical healing. Verse 8 speaks of healing the body. The Hebrew translation for the body is the navel. Adam Clarke’s commentary speaks of the umbilical cord (of which the navel is part) as the only source of life and growth for the unborn child. So also, is the wisdom that comes from God, the only umbilical source of life and growth for His children.
Some weeks later I returned to the passage in Isaiah 58:11. It was not a coincidence that God wanted me to read it again. I recalled it was that which my pastor prayed for me. It not only spoke of physical healing but of spiritual awakening and healing. “And you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of waters whose waters do not fail.” A watered garden denotes continued prosperity and blessedness. Fruit is only desirable if it is sufficiently watered, otherwise, it withers and dies, and the fruit cannot be eaten. It is therefore God’s desire for me (us) to be “like a spring of water whose waters do not fail”. It is not only a promise of eternal life, but of something living in me now (and forever), and that is God’s living water. As a spring gushes up from the ground, so shall my life be a fountain of inspiration, encouragement, and blessing to others; an unending spring of “living water” that is refreshment and satisfying.
What’s the Verdict, Doc?
When I finally returned to see the doctor more than a week after Storm Sandy, he took a set of X-rays. “So, what’s the verdict, Doc?” “It is remarkable!” he exclaimed. But I could tell he had reservations and was completely ignoring God’s healing miracle. “Let’s wait and see.” He was understandably cautious. Apparently, he didn’t trust that the wrist was healed and wanted to see me again just to make sure, or, had he released me too soon he could have been liable for malpractice if he was wrong. After all, what would you have done if you were the doctor? Would you walk away scratching your head, or would you trust your years of experience as a surgeon? Never had he seen anything like this before. Yet, out of caution, he still wanted to see me again and then once more before placing me in a hard cast. As he explained, even after reduction (which is the repositioning of bones after a fracture) and immobilization with a cast or splint, your bones can shift and will not heal properly. He wanted to continue monitoring my progress with X-rays.
Before leaving his office, he gave me final instructions for the care of my wrist, “and don’t drive,” he said. “But Doc, I am conducting a flute exhibit in Ohio that I must attend.” “No, driving! he emphatically stated. “Do you hear me?” “Uh-huh,” I replied.
There was no way I was going to back out of my commitment. So, I arranged for another flutist to accompany me to the event with the understanding that she would be the featured artist on the program. So with one arm in a sling and the other on the steering wheel, I drove one-armed for 9 hours to the event in Ohio. I would be chided by the doctor for disobeying his instructions when I returned for my next visit.
After I returned from my trip, the doctor put me in a cast. “What color do you want?” he asked. “Blue,” I said sounding disappointed. “This is standard procedure,” he said. “You can expect to wear it for approximately 6 to 8 weeks with a recovery period of up to 3 months for a person your age.” “Although everything looks fine from the X-rays, it still may be fragile. I want to ensure that your wrist is completely healed.” I was disappointed I didn’t get a thumbs up from him and that I would still need to see him again. Yet I knew that I knew that God had miraculously healed me.
Next visit, the doctor seemed genuinely perplexed. My wrist looked good as new. There was no denying it this time and no indication that I had ever broken it. “It is remarkable; SIMPLY AMAZING!” “How would you like to take this thing off?” “SURE!”, I replied, equally surprised, as initially, he said I would be in it for 6 to 8 weeks. “Do you believe in miracles, Doc?” He answered back with a big “AMEN!”
And remarkably, it was one week later that I played a concert with members of the NJ Flute Society. Another miracle attesting to God’s divine intervention.
Coincidence, stranger than fiction, or divinely orchestrated? What do you think?
Copyright 2014 by Bill Hutzel
Last Updated: January 2023