Carl Erskine’s Amazing Near-God Experience

The former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher shares a spiritual story with a Peale family member.

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Posted in , Aug 7, 2018

Carl Erskine

When it came to baseball, the Norman Vincent Peale family were great fans of the Dodgers back when the Dodgers played in Brooklyn. As Liz Peale Allen says, “We often went to games and got acquainted with a number of the players.”

One of those players was All Star pitcher Carl Erskine. Carl has stayed in touch with Liz over the years and recently sent her a letter about a “spiritual experience” he had.

He’d been hospitalized with a fractured hip plus some abdominal pains. “I had every test known to modern medicine,” he wrote. But they wanted to do one more: an MRI. “Oh, no,” Carl exclaimed, “I’m claustrophobic. No MRI.”

“We’ll sedate you,” came the response.

Carl couldn’t sleep that night. “Anxiety was my bed partner.” He prayed for the will to get through the MRI and finally drifted off. At 5:30 that morning, a nurse in training came by to give him his prep. “Good morning, Mr. Erskine,” she said, “my name is Blessing.”

Blessing!  “Wow, really!” he wrote. “What an impact.” He made it through the MRI and ended up having a good night’s sleep.

At 5:30 the next morning, another voice greeted him, a person he hadn’t met. “Good morning Mr. Erskine,” she said, “My name is Faith.” 

Faith. That was a good sign. “Another spiritual zap,” he said, describing it.

Soon after the hospital administrator came by to cheer him on. “Hi, Mike,” he said to the man. And then remembered something: “How is your wife? I remember that she just had surgery…What’s her name?”

“Joy,” the man said. Blessing, Faith and Joy. All in the space of two days.

He was released the next day and on Sunday he and his wife, Betty, attended their church, First Baptist Church, Anderson, Indiana.

“I opened my church bulletin,” he said, and there was that week’s memory verse: “Casting all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

As Carl declared, “There’s no excuse not to see and feel God’s presence. It’s all around us all the time.”  As for his pains, he said, “After that near-God experience, I don’t remember my stomach ache.”

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