A Broken Arm and a Specialist

“True friends visit us in prosperity only when invited, but in adversity they come without invitation.” Theophrastus

It all began when Vernon our son was about five years old. We had rented a hall there in Rio with the purpose of planting a church; on that particular Sunday our boy after Sunday school was running down the aisle when he fell. He came to us crying holding out his arm that had acquired another elbow. What a terrible heart-rending sight.

I have pictures of the hall and Vernon there in Rio but for some strange reason, WordPress won’t won’t accept them. This was about his age when the accident happened.


Since we had brought a number of neighbour children to our Sunday school, we could not abandon them the long way from home across that suburb of Meier; we loaded them quickly into the VW van and took them home. Then as traffic would allow we headed towards the centre of the city to an emergency department. Vernon all the while was whimpering with the pain and I’ve always remarked to Doris how he kept from screaming. To look at that extra elbow would make most anyone weep.

The orthopedic specialist we met in the Rio de Janeiro emergency department was not a friend but I have always remembered him with deep appreciation. We had the most experienced doctor anyone might have found in the whole city of Rio to set our son’s broken arm. As I look back on that whole incident of confusion and pain I was encouraged to trust in a Power beyond human good luck; that experience led me believe more strongly in the divine intervention called “providence.”

The specialist I’ve mentioned just happened to be in Emergency pulling his few hours of duty. But I can’t believe it was happenstance. When he came to tend Vernon he explained that the best solution was to pull the lower part of the arm out and then put it back into its proper place. Since my stomach was not up to the occasion I did not want to add a further complication to the situation. I took my leave of the doctor, Doris my wife and Vernon and I headed down the hall till I was out of sight and earshot. Doris tells how she took my place comforting and holding our boy till the procedure was over. When I returned the arm was in a cast and we were ready to go home.

Before we left an x-ray had been done of the arm and it showed the bones were in place. The doctor then suggested that we return after a few weeks to have it x-rayed again just to be sure all was well. It was and that arm has been good all the rest of the years that followed. I believe we had not only the best doctor in Rio but the one we met was there by Divine appointment. You may believe in luck if you wish but I believe that at times the Great Creator intervenes in the lives of us all to give a helping hand. As I’ve listened to the stories of many people they too remark at how disastrous situations were avoided or turned out so much better than might be imagined.

This is Vernon on his grampa’s farm steering an old milk wagon down a hill for the excitement of the other children.


Of course I too try to understand and grapple with the pain and suffering that seems to be a constant around the world. But I focus on the other side of the coin, the wonderful good that we and others experience. When unbelievers state that pain and evil in this world rule out any idea of God, I refer to the good that we all experience every moment. At this very moment the sky is lit with a beauty that is hard to describe.

I assure myself and others that it could not happen all by itself. The good we know asks for a good Creator God. And if you wish I can share a coffee some day with you and tell other stories about those incidences in life that point to Divine providence, God’s wonderful intervention.


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