For What It’s Worth

Despite diagnosis, patient not dead

Recently, a 91-year-old woman in Poland awoke from the dead—presumed dead, that is.

A doctor was called to the woman’s house on the morning of Nov. 6 after relatives noticed she was not breathing. In a television interview a week later, the doctor said she had checked the woman for a pulse on a forearm and neck arteries, listened for a heartbeat and the sound of breathing, and had checked the pupils for reaction to light, but found none.

“If I had had doubts, I would have called the ambulance, done an electrocardiogram,” the doctor said. “But I was sure the patient was dead.” The physician said she found “no basic life functions” and pronounced the woman dead. Two hours later, the woman was taken to the morgue.

Shortly before midnight, an undertaker who brought in another body noticed that there was movement in the bag in which the woman had been placed. When the bag was opened, the woman complained of being cold and asked for hot tea, the media report said. She was taken home. The doctor said she has been in “deep shock” since learning that the woman awoke in the morgue.

Reading the story made me wonder how many of us as Christians could have our spiritual life checked for a pulse and heartbeat and be pronounced spiritually dead.

The woman was deemed dead from sometime in the morning until discovered alive close to midnight. If we had a spiritual check-up and were declared dead, would we be found alive in just over half a day or might it be determined that we have been spiritually dead for an extended period of time?

In the woman’s case, her relatives noticed she was not breathing. In our case, perhaps we should be asking ourselves if our relatives, friends, and fellow Christians and church members have noticed if we are breathing spiritually.

The truth is we probably don’t have to depend on others to know if we are spiritually dead; that’s a diagnosis we can make ourselves. Let’s hope that we find the patient is just in need of some resuscitation and take appropriate action before, figuratively speaking, someone has to find us coming alive at the morgue.

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