At Hand


1901, the Pan-American Exposition was in Buffalo, New York. Exhibitions and visitors came from all over. One visitor was Bill. Unfortunately for Bill, he became the victim of a shooting.  Fortunately for this man the first aid station at the Pan-American Exposition was large, it was the equivalent of an emergency hospital. There was even a fully functional operating room – the very room Bill needed! He had taken two bullets at close range. At 4:30 in the afternoon, Bill, conscious but in severe shock, was taken inside and hoisted on the operating table and undressed.  It looked bad for Bill.

Knowing there was no time to waste, the doctors quickly began to operate. As the anesthesia was administered, Bill did not count backward from one hindered, Instead he quoted, “Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name . . .” In moments he was under. An incision was made, the abdomen opened. One bullet had grazed a rib and exited obviously deflected.  The other slashed through the front and rear walls of his stomach but there was no exit wound. Where was the bullet? Lodged somewhere in the muscles of the back? It seemed to the doctors that the projectile had simply vanished. They wanted to find the missing bullet, yet the patient might not survive prolonged probing. They closed him up, hoping for the best.  Sadly, a week later Bill was dead.

Bill had a few things going against him. He was overweight, nearly sixty. Mainly it was the result of the shooting. The wound was insufficiently cleansed and the one bullet was left untraced Bill died as a result of gangrene. “If” is a big question here. What if the doctors had been able to locate and remove the missing bullet? Bill might have lived.

“And now the rest of the story” Remember Bill was shot at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.  On exhibition at the exposition not far from the scene of the shooting, was a new invention.  A revolutionary device that could have helped.  You know this device as a portable X-ray machine. The machine – so near yet so far – was operable and would most certainly have located the fatal bullet. Instead, Bill (President William McKinley) died with an assassin’s bullet still lodged inside. (adapted from Paul Harvey, The Rest of the Story)

Help for President McKinley was at hand, near by, but few knew.  And some that did know were leery of using it. Sometimes that is the way it is with our loves.  God, His power, His promise, His purpose is at hand. Yet we live our own way and take things into our own hands.  We try to handle our marital problems, disease, disaster, or death on our own or with the tools of society in hand so we fail and we give up.  But we are not on our own in this world.  We do not have to rely on our own or simple human resources.  God is at hand! “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). – Mat 1:23. And “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6). And “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zep 3:17).

Will you take advantage of the resources God offers? “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phi 4:19).

  • Scott

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