TESTIMONY: IN the Shadow of Death

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Psalms 46, 1-2 say,
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though earth give way.”

Psalms 118, 1, 6-8 continue,
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper….
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”

One Sunday morning a few years back, my family and I came out from the Wesley Methodist Church after the morning service and decided to go for breakfast at the MacDonald’s just behind Pilita Sanyan.

All of my family members were in the restaurant, but I had to park my car across the RH Hotel and walked over alone to the restaurant.

I walked all the way from the car park then along the back of the Hotel when I approached the sidewalk of the Sanyan Building just across the MacDonald’s.

As I looked over across the street, I noticed all of my family members were all seated near a window inside the building.

I looked down to the sidewalk from above the pathway on the higher ground; I thought there must be a quicker way to get to the restaurant. Hence, I decided to take a short cut.
It was not very high I thought as I surveyed the height from the pathway down to the walkway. There must be some 4-5 feet in height.

I made my decision there then and I took a chance to jump down from the pathway.

What happened next was what nobody would want to know. At the least, I did not know what had happened after the jump.

I jumped!

Oh, No!

As my upper part of my body left the high ground, my feet got entangled by something on the ground. Instantaneously, my lower body and my hip hit the ground hard. It was cement ground with not a single blade of grass on it. My left arm almost broke.

I didn’t become unconscious, but thought my hipbone or my arm joint must have fractured or broken.

There was not much pain then.

I felt immediately there was someone there who had provided with me a lift—–an angel, God had sent an angel to provide me a good lift.

He had saved me!

When I recall this incident, in fact I have thought about it quite often, I have never forgotten to thank God for such an experience. I thought I could be totally lying there unconscious; my head fractured if I had fallen headlong, probably dead then. I could have paralyzed!

It was such a heavy fall! All my body weight of 72 kilograms plus was on!
The next morning when I got up from bed, I found myself in great pain, and could hardly move my limps and my left arm. My left hip and leg did not permit me to stand. My whole left hip, leg and arm were totally black and black brown. It took me over 2 whole weeks to recover.

Again, God works miracles. He saved my life from the shadow of death. It was a most dangerous fall. He sent an angel to save me.

Later on, I found out that my front parts of my shoes were caught in the heads of a few iron nails which were still visible along the pathway. Inadvertently, I had slid my feet in between the nail heads and tumbled down from the higher ground.

In the Shadow of Death

“I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me;
You have delivered me from the depths of the grave.”
(Psalm 86, 12-13)

It was early in the year 2003. My son was just about to leave for Hokkaido, Japan the next day to take up his short-term mission at the University of Hokkaido with the youth. He was supposed to go on his own.

Then, that morning at about 11.30 I had a sharp pain in the lower left of my abdomen. It was just unbearable. I suspected it was my appendix.

My very first such feeling was detected way back in l967 when I was a sophomore at Brevard College, USA. The college nurse confirmed with me that it wasn’t my appendix pain.

Then a few years later when I was back home taking up my job as a teacher, I was confirmed that I had suffered from a so called delayed type of appendicitis. The doctor did not advise me to go for any operation. It was not that serious and urgent. He only prescribed for me some medicine.

Now, at about noon, Dr Chen of Rejang Specialist Medical Centre checked my condition, and informed me that I had suffered from urgent and acute appendicitis and advised me to go for operation immediately that afternoon at about 1.30.

He said, “Tony, no waiting, please. It is an emergency case. You need to be operated on right away.”

Hence, I had to stay back that afternoon and wait for the operation.

My operation was not smooth; it took more than two hours for the entire process. Dr Chen who operated on me told me later that my lower left abdomen had to be cut open instead of just punching a few holes, and what was worst he could not locate my appendix.

Well, to cut the story short, I had to spend 3 nights at the clinic. (Nowadays you usually do not have to stay in for smooth operation of such.) I believe the doctor saw my condition and put me under observation. I was advised to rest and recuperate.

The following 3 days, my friends, colleagues, and family members came non- stop to visit me. I decided not to sit on the bed and talk all the time; instead I chose to sit on a separate chair and accompanied the visitors.

My son, as one of them, had to leave me in the Clinic and depart for Japan with a heavy heart and some anxiety. He was not able to accompany me.

Day in and day out I sat on the chair and talked and talked and listened to them to share my experience and my feelings.

Then, one afternoon at around 3.30, I collapsed abruptly from my chairs. I saw many, many stars circling above my head. My friends were still present when some nurses were called in. The doctor came in.

I lay unconscious on the floor.

Then, miraculously, I recuperated fast as I rested on my bed. Someone must have carried me and placed me on the bed. I made no heads or tails of what had happened.

“On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you;
Your right hand upholds me.” (Psalms 63, 6-8)

Later, I considered myself when I came to my senses as “dead” at that moment. I woke up and walked back from death if not from the shadow of death.

The doctor told me then that my blood pressure had shot up to 206. That was very high, and not for a normal person.

I recovered.

Today, I thank God; I continue to bear witness for Him and thank God for His mercy and grace and for His protection in keeping me safe and sound in His bosom.

What a way for not being able to die in that way!

What a way to have lived again!

It is never wrong to repeat the following, and you better believe it!

“……even though I walk through the valley of death, I feel no evil. Your rod and your rod, you protect me” (Psalm 23: 4)

How I have experienced the true faithfulness of God!

Psalms 121, 7-8 say,
“The Lord will keep you from all harm—
He will watch over your life;
The Lord will watch over your coming and going.
Both now and forever more.”

Let us together commit ourselves to the following as the Psalmist sings,
“Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, O my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praises to my God as long as I live.”
(Psalm 146, 1-2)

by Wong Siew Tung,
Lecturer at Methodist Theological School, Sibu

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