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Touched by God

The Big J and the Big G

When Kim Oliver heard her daughter Lauryl cry, she thought it might be just a scratch. Or maybe a disagreement. It wasn’t. Lauryl, who is 5, was playing with her 11-year-old sister, Karrah. Closing the door, Karrah didn’t know Lauryl’s hand was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The crush ripped off the top of her sister’s ring finger.

Joe and Kim took Lauryl, their youngest of four children, to the emergency room. The place was packed with patients. The Olivers were told there was no hope for saving the damaged portion of Lauryl’s finger.

Joe called a doctor friend who referred him to another doctor. As family and church members prayed, Joe contacted Dr. Robert Shure. Just about to leave his office, Dr. Shure agreed to see Lauryl. He took the risk of saving her whole finger with surgery.

How did the family feel as they waited? “I know Karrah felt guilty and responsible,” Joe says. “We both wished we could take their pain away. It rips a heart to see kids suffer. Our sons, Dejai and Gavin, were so concerned they were crying. Karrah was having such a rough time. All you think of is how this is going to affect her for the rest of her life. We prayed for God to heal her and comfort each of us.”

Many more were also praying. Family members, friends, strangers who heard about the story. One lady prayed for Lauryl, asking God to “save such an important finger on a girl’s hand.”

Dr. Shure reattached the tip of her finger. She lost her nail but it is expected to grow back. The amputated tissue has established a blood supply, meaning 100 percent of the tissue is expected to survive. Her nail bed is intact and the tip of her finger is expected to regenerate the nerves in time. The long process of healing took a miraculous start.

What conclusion does Joe reach as he sees his daughter’s hand? “I feel Dr. Robert Shure was there at his office for a reason,” he says. “God had work for him to do on Lauryl.”

Joe continues, “We want to thank everyone for their prayers during this time, and you really feel how much prayer can do for you. We just don’t need to wait for tragedy to hit before we go to our knees to speak with God.”

Lauryl doesn’t mind giving credit above. When Kim asked Lauryl how she felt knowing her hand was getting better, Lauryl said she was keeping her hand elevated and still. She planned to do everything like the doctor told her to do, a hard chore for an energetic young lady.

Then Kim said, “Lauryl, people have been praying for you.” Lauryl didn’t doubt it. She stared at her mom, saying, “I know that.”

Kim hoped to reinforce that fact, so she preached a little. She wanted her daughter to always know that God had worked out her miraculous healing.

Again Lauryl had to have the last word. She looked at Kim and said, “Yeah, the Big J and the Big G are taking care of it.” Joe and Kim had never heard Jesus and God described in those terms.

May more of us learn from Lauryl and the miracle finger. The Big J and the Big G are taking care of us all.

— Chris Maxwell

Joe and Kim Oliver and their children attend Evangel Assembly of God in Orlando, Fla., where their brother-in-law, Chris Maxwell, is pastor. Maxwell is also the author of Beggars Can Be Chosen. An article about the Oliver family and Joe’s years playing professional baseball, “Safe ... at Home!,” appeared in the June 18, 2000, issue of the Evangel.

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