Raising the Dead

Written by Jordan Peacock : March 6, 2008

Hussam died just before Christmas in 2003.

I first met Hussam when he began to volunteer with the English-speaking youth group at the church in Kuwait. He and his friend David were high-energy, passionate Palestinian/Jordanian disciples of Christ who became staples of the group. When the pastor left for Canada, Hussam took over leadership of the youth for a couple years. He was a terrible leader, very hesitant to use the ‘authority stick’ over others who would pull aside the focus from Christ. He was daring, and I remember fearing for his life when he skateboarded down a concrete ramp with a stair jump at the end, having never skateboarded in his life, and wearing no protective padding whatsoever. We also joked that he would kill himself (and us as likely as not) when he would fall asleep driving on the roads in Hawalli late at night after an event amidst insane traffic.

He eventually found himself going up into Iraq after the initial American invasion and bringing food, medical supplies and other aid to the hurting areas of Southern Iraq. His trips had won him many friends, and I had hoped to join him before returning to college in January, with another friend. I had just arrived back in the country and met him briefly, but he was running somewhere and we agreed to talk over the ideas for the upcoming trip later. A few short days later I received the call; he had been hit by a car as he walked across the road and died.

His body was shipped to Jordan and to his family, and a memorial service was held in his honor in Kuwait. It was a hard hit to take, but I just shook it off as the gross injustice of the world. That night I got a call from a friend asking me to “come over tomorrow, we’re going to pray for Hussam”.

For the following 3 nights, and a good portion of the days, a group of us prayed like we had never prayed before. There were numerous occasions in the bible where the dead had been raised, and we were determined to see the miraculous happen again. The mood would rotate: first crying, then laughter, then sober conversation. Scripture reading gave us hope, and a self-proclaimed prophecy gave us the motivation to keep going.

Reluctantly, after 2 or 3 days of intense prayer and several days after his death, reality set in and we began to accept the fact that he was not coming back. Two months later I cried…a delayed response to a surreal situation that I still hadn’t completely processed.

If it all happened again, I would have tried to raise him again. I don’t pretend to understand God’s power or the ways in which it is used, but why not Hussam?

Actions belie beliefs. I had a surreal conversation with an old housemate of mine who argued passionately that “God could heal any condition” and that “God could not heal AIDS”. If God can heal, it’s a blank cheque my friend. Many people are afraid to take faith to the limits, and trust for the ‘more reasonable requests’. The bible is not terribly reasonable on a great many issues, and taking this type of pragmatic approach leaves one with a shrunken faith.

This all happened a few years ago. In that time I have since had a few shakeups where I doubt enough of the core tenants of the faith to not currently act in this sort of faith. But should those tenants hold, I would be in the same position; if God can do it, God can do it and there is no need to tremble in fear over the ‘big things’ that God has already been proven more than capable of.

For good or ill, how have you acted in faith despite feeling uncomfortable or ridiculous?

Author Bio:: Jordan Peacock lives and works in Minnesota with his beautiful wife and daughter. When not playing with technology or music, heĆ¢??s writing comic books and wrapping up a university education.

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5 Responses to “Raising the Dead”

  1. jason on March 6th, 2008 4:24 pm

    I had a situation some years ago involving my grandmother. She had just passed away from triple terminal cancer[meaning she had terminal cancer in three organs] and things got deep, back then I walked in a lot heavier faith then I do now. God had used me a good deal at the time as a prayer vessel for healing. My uncle was emotional and pleading for me to pray so God would bring her back….

    I did not as I felt I should not….bring her back to what…painful fight with cancer? take her away from the presence of Christ? How selfish would that be?

    Anyway….just some thoughts…..

  2. Mark Van Steenwyk on March 6th, 2008 4:39 pm

    My mother passed away 13 years ago. She was 50. I was 19. A lifelong smoker, she needed a lung transplant in her late 40s because of advanced emphysema. Well, she started smoking with her new lungs, got really bad pneumonia and eventually died.

    Her brain died first. Machines kept her body alive as my brothers and sisters said goodbye, one at a time. I remember standing in her room alone, with the machines hooked up to her. I could tell that she wasn’t “there” anymore.

    I commanded her, in the name of Jesus, to live again…to get up…to be well. My anguished prayers were in vain. My sadness was tinged with guilt because I knew that she had stubbornly fought against God her whole life. And as she lay there, brain dead, I couldn’t help but feel that if I had been a better son, a better witness for Jesus, her eternal destiny would have been assured. I struggled with guilt for a long time after that…

  3. Jordan Peacock on March 6th, 2008 6:15 pm

    It hasn’t all been despair. In college I gave $400 to an acquaintance when I needed it for rent, believing that God was leading me.

    The next few weeks were tight, but I made it, and it kept him from being expelled and deported.

    In all honesty though, I’m not 100% what to take away from either event.

  4. Maria Kirby on March 7th, 2008 10:09 am

    I’ve thought of this problem before. The two passages that have come to mind are Jesus healing the man born blind, and the three Hebrews before Nebucadnezzer. Jesus response to the disciples was that the blindness was there so that there was the opportunity to bring glory to God. The Hebrews’ response to the King was that even if God didn’t save them, they weren’t going to bow to the image. The theme I find in the Bible is that miracles happen to bring glory to God. I suspect that a lot of miracles we want wouldn’t do that or that we have ulterior motives for our requests. More often God takes a more subtle way of bringing himself glory. It seems he likes to transform what we consider bad into good. He seems to get more glory when we praise him in spite of difficult circumstances, than if the circumstances benefit us.

    It still leaves me in a quandry as to whether I should pray for a miracle. Generally, I figure I should at least ask, that way there’s a possibility it will happen. I don’t know if it’s a doubting attitude, but I want to accept that God may choose to bring glory to himself some other way.

  5. Jordan Peacock on March 7th, 2008 2:12 pm

    That’s an interesting idea Maria…that plays well into the evidence I see in the scriptures as well as personal experience.

    I may have to mull that over a little.

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