In his book, The Case for Miracles, evangelist Lee Strobel cites the miraculous healing of Barbara Snyder that took place nearly 30 years ago.
Strobel, 66, is a former investigative journalist with the Chicago Tribune. He became a Christian in 1981 shortly after he decided to investigate Jesus and the Christian faith after his wife became a Christian. After his conversion, Lee worked briefly as a pastor before moving into an apologetic’s ministry focusing on writing and video productions.
In his most recent book, Strobel decided to look at miracles. Though he believed the Biblical stories of Christ’s miracles, Strobel was less convinced miracles were happening today.
However, after analyzing several miracles Strobel is convinced they are.
One miracle in particular stands out. It involves Barbara Snyder and took place nearly 30 years ago.
The Mayo Clinic had diagnosed Barbara with multiple sclerosis. Despite several operations and treatments, Barbara continued to deteriorate to the point that she was put into respite with doctor’s orders not to resuscitate.
By this point, she was almost blind and needed tubes both for breathing and nourishment. Her body was constricting and her hands and feet were withering and curling. Death was imminent.
One of Snyder’s friends phoned a Christian radio station in Chicago operated by Moody Bible Institute. She explained Barbara’s condition and asked the listeners to pray for Barbara. Strobel says that they know that at least 450 people prayed for her because that is how many people who wrote Barbara saying they were.
Then on one Sunday afternoon as Snyder’s friends were reading the letters to Barbara, they witnessed an incredible miracle.
According to Barbara, she heard a voice coming from a corner of the room saying “Get up, My child and walk.” Since there was no one in that corner, Strobel concluded it must have been the voice of Christ.
It would have been the same voice that confronted Saul as he was on the road to Damascus hunting Christians. Temporarily blinded by the light, Saul fell to the ground and the voice asked him, “Why are you persecuting Me.” Saul understood this to be the voice of Christ. He continued to Damascus where God sent a Christian to disciple Saul, who became the renowned Apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-9).
After hearing the voice, Barbara ripped off the tubing. Her atrophied legs suddenly filled out, her eyes could see, her curled feet and hands straightened. She stood instantly healed.
Much the same thing happened to Peter and John while they were were on their way to the Temple. When a lame man asked for alms, Peter said he did not have silver and gold, but in the name of Jesus commanded the lame man to stand up and walk.
Not only was the beggar instantly healed, Luke, the author of Acts, notes that his legs were strengthened, suggesting they were atrophied as well:
7 And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. 8 With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. (Acts 3:7-8 NASV)
Prior to Barbara’s healing a doctor described her case as one of the most hopeless he had seen and the miracle that followed was so conclusive that Barbara’s doctors actually wrote articles on what had happened.
It reminds me of another case of a pastor’s wife, Sharyn Mackay of Newcastle, Northern Ireland who was diagnosed with cancer in 2004. It had gotten so bad, the doctors stopped all treatment and sent her home to die. They gave her only weeks to live.
But after Sharyn read how Jesus healed the sick and that healing was in the atonement, she along with members of her congregation began praying for healing:
But He (JESUS) was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 NASV)
When she returned to the doctor for more tests to find out how long she had to live, they discovered the cancer was completely gone.
In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Sharyn said the night before the test she wrote in her journal, “Thank you God for healing me. I know I will get clear results tomorrow.”
When the reporter for the Belfast Telegraph asked Sharyn’s doctors what had happened, they suggested her immune system caused a spontaneous healing.
The Bible calls it a miracle.