Near at Hand

PNG image 5Paul, Arrant, better known as Paul Harvey, told the following story:

The Missing Bullet

It was during the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, when they brought in the victim of a shooting. The victim, Bill, was fortunate that the Exposition had a large first-aid station, more like an emergency hospital. They even had an operating room. Bill was going to need it! He had taken two bullets at close range. It was about four-thirty in the afternoon when Bill, conscious yet in severe shock, was taken inside, hoisted on to the table, and undressed. The situation looked and was bad.

The doctors realized there was no time to waste and began to operate. Anesthesia was administered. Bill did not count backwards from ten, but instead began, “Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name . . .” Before he finished quoting the prayer, he was under. The doctors made an incision, Bills abdomen was opened. One bullet was of great concern. This bullet had slashed right through Bill’s stomach, front and rear walls. The lacerations were sutured – but where was the bullet? Lodged somewhere in the muscles of his back? It was as though the projectile had vanished. The doctors wanted to find the missing bullet, yet the patient might not survive prolonged probing. They closed him up – and hoped for the best. A week later Bill was dead.

Bill had a few things going against him. He was overweight and nearly sixty years old. Mainly it was the wound; insufficiently cleaned and a missing projectile. “IF” is a big question here. IF the doctors had been able to locate and remove the missing bullet, Bill might have lived.

An now the rest of the story.

Bill was shot at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York in 1901. On exhibit at the Exposition, possibly unknown to the doctors and not far from the scene of the shooting, was a relatively new invention. This revolutionary device could have helped. This X-ray machine, so near, yet so far, was operational and would most certainly have located the fatal bullet. Instead, Bill – President William Mckinley – died with an assassin’s bullet inside.

Help was near at hand, but apparently no one knew. For many it is that way with our lives. God (His power, His promise, His purpose) is near at hand. When we face the loss of a loved on, or a failure in business, a problem in marriage, or a broken friendship why do we give up so easily?  When we face the future, why do we face it with fear? You and I are not alone in the universe. We do not have to rely on our own weak abilities and resources. God is at hand! “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalms 145:18)


(adapted from D. F. Parsons Family Matters, the Levy Church, March 8, 1987)

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