The Power of Prayer—Witnessing a Miracle Amidst Despair (Audio Essay)
By Zhao Zhihan
As we journey through life, every one of us will experience some extraordinary events which become inscribed on our memory and will never be forgotten. The experience that has left me with the deepest impression was the time my husband was involved in a car accident, when no one knew whether he would pull through or not, and the days that followed, during which I felt at a complete loss and was at the end of my tether. But what was different for me was that, because God was with me and I had His guidance, I thus had a support, and through praying to God and relying on Him, I witnessed a miracle in the midst of my despair. During that disastrous time, what I gained more was understanding of God’s authority and sovereignty, and a true appreciation of God’s love …
On the evening of August 13, 2014, I was on my way home after running some errands and it was almost midnight. Just as I got to the community gate, I was unexpectedly halted by my eldest sister and her husband and my second sister’s husband. I thought this was very odd: What are they all doing here so late? Before I could think anymore about it, my eldest sister rushed over to me and said, crying, “Zhihan, where on earth have you been? We’re going out of our minds with worry. Your husband has been in a car accident. Our brother called, he wants you to go to the hospital right away.” When I heard this sudden ill news, I simply couldn’t believe my ears and I just stood there. I thought to myself: “My husband was in a car accident? How could that be? He was on the phone to our son at dinner time….” My two brothers-in-law then told me how the car accident had happened and told me what the doctors had said, that my husband was in a serious condition and that even if he would be lucky to survive, there was a 99 percent chance he would be brain-dead…. I wept inconsolably as I listened and felt as though the sky would collapse. I had no idea how to face it all.
Because it was so late, it took some time to find a taxi that would take us to the city hospital. That made me even more frantic, worrying that I wouldn’t see my husband alive ever again. Just as I was feeling overwhelmed and panicked, I suddenly thought of the story of Job that is recorded in the Bible. When trials befell him, all his property was stolen away, his children came to unfortunate ends, and he himself became covered all over with terrible boils. Though this trial brought Job great pain and distress, he had God in his heart, and he chose rather to curse the day of his own birth than speak sinfully. He was absolutely obedient to God, whether God gave, or God took away. Job spoke not one word of complaint but extolled the name of Jehovah and bore resounding witness for God. And so, I hurriedly prayed to God: “O God! When I heard about my husband’s car accident, I was struck dumb and felt utterly bewildered, and I don’t know how he is right now. But when I think of how Job revered and obeyed You, I understand that I should try to be like him and have faith in You. O God! All things are in Your hands, and whether or not there is any hope that my husband will be healed, I ask that You keep my heart from blaming You. I wish to submit to Your orchestrations and arrangements, and entrust my husband into Your hands.” After I’d prayed, my heart gradually calmed down.
Afterward, my brother-in-law found a taxi and we sped to the hospital. By that time, it was already gone 5 am, and my husband had been admitted to intensive care. I quickly found a doctor and asked about my husband’s condition. The doctor said resignedly, “The patient’s injuries are too severe. If he is lucky enough to survive, there is a 99 percent chance that he will be brain-dead. You must prepare yourself for this possibility and find at least 200 thousand yuan in medical fees.” Hearing this, I nearly fainted. I felt very worried: “It’s uncertain that my husband will survive, and it will cost so much in medical fees. If it so happens that his treatment doesn’t work, then not only will I lose my husband, but I’ll also be spending all that money for nothing. Without a breadwinner in our family, how will my son and I manage? If my husband really does become brain-dead, how will I keep this family going?” Right then, I felt like a tremendous weight was pressing down on me, pressing down so hard that I couldn’t breathe. I felt totally helpless and at a loss as to what to do. Everything went black before my eyes, and I slumped feebly against the wall.
In my helpless state, I could only pour out my pain to God. And so, I prayed to God, saying, “O God! My stature is so small. I’m so weak now that this has befallen me, and I don’t know what to do. O God! Please enlighten and guide me.” After praying, I thought of God’s words, “Like all things, man quietly and unknowingly receives the nourishment of the sweetness and rain and dew from God. Like all things, man unknowingly lives under the orchestration of God’s hand. The heart and spirit of man are held in the hand of God, and all the life of man is beheld in the eyes of God. Regardless of whether or not you believe this, any and all things, living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear according to God’s thoughts. This is how God rules over all things” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life”). Yes, God created the heavens and the earth and all things, and He also gave us life. God provides us with everything we need, and He rules and arranges the destiny of each and every one of us. Life and death are even more so in His hands, for this is God’s authority. A created being such as I had no control over my future and my destiny, so I should place it all into God’s hands and submit to His sovereignty and arrangements. I then thought of the time Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. When they came to the wilderness and had nothing to eat, Jehovah let manna fall from heaven and provided them with quail to eat, and He promised them that He would give them sufficient to eat every day. Yet some had no faith in God and were afraid that they would have no food on the next day. And so, they saved some manna to eat the next day, but when the next day came, they found that the manna was no longer fit to eat. From this, I came to understand that God is the Creator who supplies and nourishes mankind, and as long as we sincerely believe in Him and obey Him, then His provision for us will never run dry. And yet people don’t have faith in God and are always worrying about their futures and scheming for their own interests. At this point, I realized through self-reflection that I did not have true faith in God and was always worrying and feeling anxious about my future life. Not only could this not solve my problems, but on the contrary it only added to the pressure and burden that I felt. Thinking of this, I prayed to God, entrusting the future life of my family into His hands. No matter what God did, I said in my prayer, I wished only to be able to submit to His sovereignty and arrangements. Just then, the oppressiveness and tension I felt were somewhat relieved.
I came to intensive care and saw my husband. Because he had a cranial fracture, blood kept leaking from both his ears. He also had three broken ribs, the femur in his right leg was broken, all the toes on his left foot were broken, both his lungs had been injured, and most of his body was black and blue with bruises. I thought of how my husband had been so happy yesterday morning, and how he had called our son yesterday evening, and now he was like this…. The more I thought of it, the more I felt pain piercing my heart.
On the third day since the accident, my husband’s condition suddenly worsened. His breathing became very shallow and his face became waxy, as though he was about to die. Looking at my husband, our family wept and said he may not last the day. Thinking that my husband was going to leave us, my heart was cloven with grief and I was in extreme pain. At the same time, I perceived how insignificant people are, and how helpless and powerless we are in the face of illness. All I could do was pray silently to God and look to Him and entrust Him with my husband. At that time, I thought of a hymn, “God’s Ways Cannot Be Fathomed,” which says, “You exist with the heavens and the earth. Who knows the compass of Your deeds? All we see is one grain on a sandy beach. Stilling our tongues, we await Your disposal.” I hummed this song silently in my heart and understood that God is the Creator, that He rules and administers all things, that God preordains life, death, sickness and old age, as well as the rules that govern change in all things, and that no human being can change them, much less break them. When the Lord Jesus performed His works, He spoke only one word of rebuke to the wind and sea, and they were calmed; with one word, the Lord Jesus summoned Lazarus from out of his tomb and he came alive again after being dead for 4 days. God keeps the keys to hell and controls the life and death of mankind. Only God can bring people back to life, turn nothing into something and something into nothing—the authority of God cannot be measured! As I contemplated God’s deeds, I found my faith in God and I came to believe that all things are in God’s hands. Whether or not my husband would wake up again and to what extent his injuries would develop was up to God. I then prayed to God, entrusting my husband to Him and willing to submit to all of God’s arrangements.
On the morning of the fourth day, my son and I came to intensive care and asked a nurse about my husband’s condition. She said that there had been no new developments, but that he was a little better than he had been. I cried tears of gratitude, and silently I offered up my thanks and my praise to God.
A week passed, and my husband had not yet woken up. The doctor said to me, “As your husband hasn’t yet woken up, we have to transfer him to another hospital to have an operation. You will need to find several hundred thousand more yuan to pay for the operation.” As he spoke, he pointed to another patient in the ward, and said, “Look at him. His injuries are not as severe as your husband’s, but he has been treated for over 10 days now and his swelling has not gone down and he has not regained consciousness. We have no choice other than to transfer him to another hospital.” Listening to the doctor speak, I didn’t know what to do for the best. I worried that my husband would become brain-dead, and I didn’t know where to go to find the money to pay for his operation. At that time, I was paying for my husband’s hospital fees by overdrawing on my credit card. If his treatment was delayed because I ran out of money, what would I do then? At that moment, worry, anxiety, pain and helplessness overcame me all at once. All I could do was pray to God, look to Him and entrust Him with it all, and ask for His help and guidance.
On the tenth day, the attending doctor said to me, “I’ll contact the other hospital for you. If your husband doesn’t regain consciousness in the next two days, then he’ll have to be transferred. This is because your husband’s femur must be operated on within a fortnight, otherwise he will be permanently disabled. You must quickly prepare around 400 thousand yuan to pay for the operation. It really cannot wait….” Hearing this, I became incredibly anxious, and I had no idea where I could go to borrow that kind of money. The family gave gifts to the traffic police so they could help us find the one who had crashed into my husband, but to no avail. Our relatives and friends saw our situation and knew that we would never be able to pay any money back, and so they just gave me words of comfort, and not one person was willing to lend us any money. The fickleness of the world and of human feelings caused me to despair. Crying, I prayed to God and said, “O God! All things are in Your hands. Though my husband has been unconscious for 10 days, he still lives, and in this I can see You protecting him. But today, the doctor wants us to transfer to another hospital and the operation will be so expensive. I really don’t know what to do. O God! I ask that You strengthen my faith and open up a way for me. No matter what You do, I wish to experience it with an obedient heart.” After praying, I felt a little calmer. Over these past few days, I had become closer to God through prayer and I had witnessed God’s wondrous deeds with my own eyes. Against all odds, my husband was still alive, and this was all down to God’s care and protection. I believed that, as long as I kept praying to God and relying on Him, God would surely guide me. I had to have faith in God and should not become disheartened and hopeless because of a little setback, for if I did, then how would I experience God’s work?
Later on, I returned home to try and raise some money. Unexpectedly, my uncle was willing to lend me some money and, even better than that, the one who caused the crash was found. Just then, my son called me and said excitedly, “Mom, dad has woken up. The doctor says he doesn’t need to be transferred to another hospital anymore, and is arranging a day for dad to have the operation. Hurry and come to the hospital….” As I listened to my son, I was so thrilled, tears poured from my eyes and my grief became mixed with joy. In my heart, I kept thanking God and praising His wondrous deeds.
Before my husband had the operation on his femur, the doctor had me sign a guarantee form and a notice of critical illness, and said to me, “Although your husband has regained consciousness, due to the serious nature of his injuries, his body is extremely weak. He now has to undergo a lengthy operation and if he can’t bear it then he will begin to move around on the operating table. Therefore, we have to give him a general anesthetic. But by doing this, we face the risk of him not regaining consciousness after the operation. We have seen this happen before in this hospital. As a relative of the patient, you must think carefully about whether you want to take this risk or just leave him in his current state.” After the doctor had finished speaking, I was left in a flurry of indecision. I was at a loss and, for a short while, I didn’t know how I could make this decision. Then I thought of how my husband had gotten through the last 10 days in hospital without being in too much danger. Not only had he not had to be transferred to another hospital, but instead had woken up before the operation—had these not been the wondrous deeds of God? Whereas the patient who had not been as seriously injured as my husband had not yet regained consciousness despite being treated for over 10 days. In the end, that patient had to be transferred to another hospital, and it was uncertain whether or not he would survive. I thought of how my husband had been protected by God all along, so whatever came next would also be ruled by God. Man’s life, death, fortune and misfortune are all held in God’s hands, and I had to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. And so I thought no more about the matter and, as I signed the forms, I said a silent prayer to God: “O God! I believe that my husband’s life and death are in Your hands, and it is not the doctors who have the final say. I wish to rely on You and look to You as I experience this situation. No matter what happens to my husband in the end, I believe that everything You do is for the best, and such a tiny created being as myself should obey the Creator.”
I hadn’t expected that my husband’s operation would go so well and, as I watched him move away from danger little by little, the stone in my heart finally gave way. The doctor said to me in amazement, “Your husband waking up is completely beyond what we imagined. It really is a miracle!” I knew deep inside that this was all God’s protection, and I thanked God’s kindness from the bottom of my heart. After the operation, however, my husband had completely lost all memory and he didn’t even recognize me. He lost his temper easily and had the IQ of an infant, and I was extremely worried. I consulted the doctor and asked whether my husband would ever be like he used to be, but the doctor said, “He is suffering from postoperative amnesia and it’s hard to say when he will recover. When your husband’s injuries have healed, he can go to the rehabilitation center to recuperate….” As I heard him say this, I began to languish in worry once again: “If my husband stays like this, he’ll be like a simpleton. What can I do?” With this worry, I couldn’t eat or sleep, and just as I was at my wits’ end, I thought of God’s words, “Which is to say, where a person goes after they die and are reincarnated, whether they are male or female, what their mission is, what they will go through in life, their setbacks, what blessings they enjoy, who they will meet, what will happen to them—no one can predict this, avoid it, or hide from it. Which is to say, after your life has been set, in what happens to you, however you try and avoid it, by whatever means you try and avoid it, you have no way of violating the life course set out for you by God in the spiritual world” (“God Himself, the Unique X”). God’s words brought me to understand that God long ago preordained all the things we are to experience in our lives. Whether it be hardship or good fortune, it is not up to us what happens, and we cannot predict it. But every stage we experience throughout the course of our lives is meticulously arranged by God and His good intentions are behind them all. God hopes that we will come to have true understanding of His disposition and what He has and is as we experience these environments, and He hopes that they will enable our lives to grow. Thinking back to my experiences over those past few days, just when my husband’s life was about to be extinguished because of that car accident and I was feeling helpless and in pain, it was the timely enlightenment and guidance of God’s words which made me understand His sovereignty and authority. Only then did I let go of the worry in my heart and I found the faith to rely on God; when I was facing the enormous cost of the operation and didn’t know what to do, I prayed sincerely to God and God opened up a way for me. Not only did He solve my lack of money, but He also caused my husband to regain consciousness. Afterward, I truly experienced God’s love and guidance. God never left me even for a moment, and every time I felt helpless and weak, God was there to guide me over the hurdles with His timely words. Without God’s guidance, I wouldn’t have known how to get through all that pain. Only now do I understand that, if I hadn’t experienced this situation, then I would never have been able to truly know God, my understanding of God’s authority would have remained forever theoretical, and my faith in God would not have increased. These situations bring the most benefit to my life and I no longer wish to avoid them, and I am willing to rely on God to follow the onward path, and I believe that God will guide me.
My husband stayed in the city hospital for 21 days before he was transferred. After that, I prayed to God every day and placed my husband in God’s hands, and I patiently taught him how to speak and to recognize all kinds of things and the people around him. Imperceptibly, he no longer lost his temper and was able to recognize relatives. Seeing my husband get better day by day, I was overjoyed, and the doctors all said to me in astonishment, “It’s inconceivable. No one would have thought that he could recover so quickly. It really is a miracle! The patient next to him was in a similar car accident and still hasn’t regained consciousness 6 months after the accident. It’s still in question whether or not he will survive. You have truly been lucky!” Hearing this, I kept thanking and praising God in my heart, for it was only God’s protection that had allowed my husband to survive.
After my husband was discharged from hospital, his recovery quickened. Not only could he walk on crutches, but his basic memory came back. I told him about all that had happened since he was admitted to hospital, how I had relied on God and how God had guided me through those days of extreme pain and weakness. His eyes brimmed with tears as he said to me, “When I’m better, I shall bear testimony that God saved me, so that more people will know of God’s almightiness and His wondrous deeds.” When I heard my husband say this, I felt real gratitude for God’s salvation.
Through this extraordinary experience, I truly saw God’s wondrous deeds, and I saw that God is the Ruler of all things. God does indeed control the life and death of every single person, and no created being can ever surpass His power and authority. As the word of God says, “Man’s life originates from God, the existence of the heaven is because of God, and the existence of the earth stems from the power of God’s life. No object possessed of vitality can transcend the sovereignty of God, and no thing with vigor can break away from the ambit of God’s authority. In this way, regardless of who they are, everyone must submit under the dominion of God, everyone must live under God’s command, and no one can escape from His control” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life”).