There is an old song that says, “He knows our needs before we pray, and we can rest assured the answer’s on the way.” One could not find a more appropriate explanation of what happened to Petra Anderson on the night of July 20 of this year.
The young woman was attending the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, when an armed gunman burst through the exit door of the theater and opened fire on the theater goers. Five days later we are all too familiar with the events that followed James Holmes’ shooting rampage and with the carnage that followed. We have heard about acts of heroism in which several young men died shielding their girlfriends’ bodies from the bullets; we have heard from theater goers who escaped injury altogether, and we have been told about those who escaped death but remain in critical condition. No one knows why some people lived and others died in this senseless slaughter that shattered so many lives.
Today, however, I want to share Petra’s story about God’s provision for her that He set in motion at her birth twenty-two years earlier. Petra was born with a small “defect” in her brain that remained undiagnosed until she was shot in that Colorado theatre. Three shotgun pellets hit her arm, but the fourth went through her nose and traveled up the back of her cranium before hitting the back of her skull.
When Petra arrived at the hospital, she was in critical condition. Before she went into surgery the doctors were concerned because such a large portion of Petra’s brain had been traversed by the bullet, and they worried that her speech, motor skills, and cognitive abilities would be permanently impaired. During the five-hour surgery, however, the surgeons discovered that Petra’s brain had sustained almost no damage, and they were able to remove the bullet cleanly.
It seems that God had looked ahead and seen that awful day when Petra would be the victim of a madman bent on ending the lives of complete strangers, and He had prepared a path for that bullet to follow so that Petra’s life would be spared.
The surgeons discovered a tiny channel of fluid running through her brain that could have been detected only through a CAT scan and would have forever remained undetected if Petra had not been shot. According to the surgeon, the bullet entered her brain at the exact point of this small channel and traveled through it like a marble through a tube. The defect guided the bullet from Petra’s nose through her brain, turning slightly several times and stopping at the rear of her brain. As the bullet traveled, it missed every vital area of her brain.
At the time of this writing Petra is still in the hospital, but she is talking and walking, and the doctors expect her to make a full recovery.
Petra’s story is another reminder that God loves us so much that he looks ahead and makes provision for us years in advance. No one would ever imagine that a birth defect in one’s brain could be a blessing, but this particular abnormality was the means that God used to save a young woman’s life in such a way that she would be able to return to full health.
God works in wonderful and mysterious ways to intercede for his children. The next time you find yourself in desperate circumstances I hope that you will remember Petra Anderson and be reminded that even when we are called upon to go through difficult and frightening situations, God is always with us. He is the God who is there, and He has already made provision for us.
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Joyce Swann is a nationally-known author and speaker. Her own story of teaching her ten children from the first grade through master’s degrees before their seventeenth birthdays is retold in her book, Looking Backward: My Twenty-Five Years as a Homeschooling Mother. Her newest novel, The Warrior, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net/ or like her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/frontier2000mediagroup.