My Daughter at Death’s Door: I Witness a Miracle by Praying to God (Audio Essay)
By Wang Yue, China
Comfort Me After My Daughter Is Involved in a Sudden Car Accident
It was gone 11 a.m. on the morning of October 8, 2011 and I was just preparing lunch at home, when suddenly the phone rang. As soon as I answered it, the person calling said anxiously, “Your Lanlan has been in a car accident and they’re trying to save her at the county hospital. You’d best get here as soon as you can!” Hearing this, I felt a loud buzzing in my head, and before I’d said anything, the other person hung up. After I’d put the phone down, I just stood there for a while, thinking: “My daughter went out on her bicycle this morning to run some errands. How could she have been in a car accident? It’s just a prank call, isn’t it? But their tone didn’t sound like they were trying to trick me….” I didn’t have time to think any more, so I stopped what I was doing and left the house. I hurriedly waved down a cab and rushed to the county hospital. I was so worried as I sat in the cab that I clenched my fists tightly together, and I just kept looking out the window. I felt totally confused and upset and I couldn’t stop thinking: “How badly hurt is my daughter? Where has she been hurt? Is her life in danger? She’s only 17. She must be really scared being in the hospital on her own….” The more I thought about it, the more panicky I got, and I couldn’t calm down. I wanted to be there instantly by my daughter’s side to see what exactly the situation was. In my helplessness, I thought of God, and then quickly I called on God in my heart: “O God! I hear that my daughter has been in a car accident. My heart is in turmoil and I’m really worried, and I don’t know how my daughter is right now or how bad her injuries are. O God! I ask that You protect my heart so that I may keep calm before You. However serious my daughter’s injuries are, give me the courage to face it all.” After praying, I thought of these words of God: “[F]or I am your Father; I am your strong tower, I am your shelter, and I am your backup. Moreover, I am your Almighty One; I am your all!” (“Chapter 109” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning). Yes, God is almighty, and He holds sovereignty over everything and administers all things. God is our strong backup and He is our greatest support. I should entrust my daughter to God and rely on God as I experience this situation. As I thought this, my panicked heart gradually began to calm down.
God’s Wondrous Protection at the Time of the Car Accident
When I arrived at the county hospital, I rushed into the emergency room and saw lying on a hospital bed my daughter streaked all over with blood. Her face had turned purple and her breathing was very labored. Seeing her with such severe injuries, my heart leapt into my throat and I didn’t know what to do for the best. My daughter then said in a weak voice, “Mommy.” I grasped her hand and lightly stroked her face. My lips trembled, my heart was in such inexpressible pain and tears blurred my eyes. Just then, standing to the side, the female driver who had hit my daughter kept apologizing to me, and from her I learned how the accident had come about. It turned out that, after she had been hit, my daughter had been rolled and crushed underneath the car. Because the undercarriage of the woman’s car was so low, my daughter had become pinned underneath, and the people around had been unable to drag her out. The situation was critical and, just as people were feeling like they could do nothing more for her, my daughter unexpectedly crawled out from under the car. When I heard this, I just kept thanking God in my heart for protecting my daughter. At that moment, the doctor came in and said anxiously, “I see you are a family member. When your daughter was crushed under the car, her lungs were severely compressed. Now her breathing is very labored and there is persistent bleeding from the lower part of her body. I recommend that you go to the provincial hospital, otherwise your daughter may not survive!” When I heard the doctor say this, my heart almost broke. So that my daughter’s injuries could be treated in time, I decided to transfer her to the provincial hospital immediately, and I called my husband and my family to tell them what had happened.
As the ambulance raced along the highway, the air inside was very stagnant and I felt so anxious that my heart was clenched like a fist. I dared not take my eyes off my daughter even for a moment. Just then, my daughter opened her eyes and said again in a weak voice, “Mommy. I can’t catch my breath….” Seeing her in such pain and suffering, I became even more nervous, and I was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to endure what was happening to her. I gripped her hand tightly and lay down next to her, and quietly spoke comforting words in her ear, “Don’t be afraid, Lanlan. Let’s pray and rely on God and believe that He is our backup. Just hold on a little while longer. We’ll soon be at the provincial hospital.” My daughter blinked her eyes, signaling to me that she had understood. At that time, seeing her injured all over and at death’s door, I felt greatly pained and couldn’t help but weaken a little. I thought: “What will I do if my daughter really doesn’t pull through?” I couldn’t bring myself to think about it anymore. I just kept calling on God to give me faith and strength, and asking God to lead me in facing whatever would come next.
God Comes to the Rescue in the Face of Man’s Indifference
Two and a half hours later we had arrived at the emergency room of the Provincial People’s Hospital. We waited for the doctor to come and treat her, but when the doctor did come, he took one look at my daughter’s injuries and said in an unconcerned manner, “This patient is in a serious condition. We have no room in the inpatient department, and there are no beds in the emergency room. You’d best contact another hospital quickly.” Then he turned about and walked off. My husband and some relatives who’d come along quickly made calls to some large hospitals nearby, but they all turned out to be full and there was simply no room for my daughter. Moreover, if we went to another hospital, her treatment would be delayed again and I was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to hold on that long. Seeing my daughter’s breathing so weak and in such distress that she could hardly breathe at all, I felt torn with anxiety: “Aren’t doctors supposed to help people? How can they see her in such a condition and not try to save her? If my daughter doesn’t get treatment in time, then she will be in danger of dying at any minute!” I was so worried, and I wished so much that a kindhearted doctor would come and save my daughter, but none were willing to show their face and try to help. I was going out of my mind with worry, and despair and fear were taking over my heart. In my helplessness, once again I called urgently on God: “O God! My daughter’s condition is so critical, and this hospital won’t take her. I just don’t know what to do. O God! All things are in Your hands, and I ask You to open a way for us!” After praying, God’s words came clearly into my mind: “Man’s heart and spirit are held in the hand of God, everything of his life is beheld in the eyes of God. Regardless of whether or not you believe this, any and all things, whether living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear in accordance with God’s thoughts. Such is the way in which God presides over all things” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life”). Yes! God is the sovereign of all things and the thoughts and ideas of every single person are in His hands. Whether doctors treated my daughter or not, when they treated her and whether or not my daughter was in mortal danger were all up to God. I should believe in and obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and look to God and entrust my daughter to Him. With the enlightenment and guidance of God’s words, I didn’t feel so anxious anymore, and I became willing to rely on God and await His arrangements.
Half an hour later, the doctor who had come before came again and, seeing that we were still there, he asked us what was going on. After hearing that every other hospital around was full, he stood there for a moment, and then suddenly he said to us, “Come on, hurry and push your daughter into the corridor. I’ll give her some basic treatment.” At that moment, tears of emotion blurred my eyes. I knew that it wasn’t that the doctor had any medical ethics, but that God had heard my prayer and had moved the doctor to treat my daughter. It was God’s deed! I kept thanking God in my heart, and I truly came to appreciate that God is always by our side as our constant support!
God’s Words Give Me Faith as My Daughter’s Life Hangs in the Balance
After the doctor had given my daughter a rudimentary checkup, he saw that she kept bleeding from her lower body and asked us to hurry to the gynecology department. After the doctor there had checked her over, he immediately arranged for her to have an operation. After the operation, they called the orthopedics department and told them to prepare a bed for her as soon as possible. When my daughter got to the orthopedics department, it was gone 11 p.m. The attending physician of the orthopedics department consulted with a thoracic specialist and an internal medicine specialist, and then called my husband and me into his office. He said that our daughter was in a critical condition. Her bones had not been too seriously damaged, but her lungs had been severely compressed, which had caused them to swell and become inflamed, which was the reason why she was having difficulty breathing. Because inflammation and swelling takes time to go down, he said, the next three days would be the most dangerous time for our daughter. She could pass away at any time, and the doctor asked us to prepare for the worst. Hearing the doctor say that my daughter could die at any time, my heart was cloven with pain and I didn’t want to hear anymore. With eyes filled with tears, I turned and ran back to the ward. I gripped my daughter’s hand so tightly, afraid that she could leave me at any moment. Seeing her lying in the hospital bed unconscious and hardly breathing, I thought of every twinkle and every smile she had ever had since she was small, and it was agony. As I tightly held onto her hand, I was wracked with sobs, and fear flooded every nerve in my body. I thought to myself, “Is there really no hope? Am I really to see my child die before me?” In despair, I called out to God over and over in my heart, saying: “O God! The doctor says my daughter could die at any time and I’m so afraid! O God! I ask You to lead me to face this situation….”
After praying, some words from aof God’s words floated clearly into my mind: “Faith is like a single log bridge: Those who cling abjectly to life will have difficulty in crossing it, but those who are ready to sacrifice themselves can pass over, sure of foot and worry-free. If man harbors timid and fearful thoughts, it is because Satan has fooled them, afraid that we will cross the bridge of faith to enter into God” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). The enlightenment and guidance of God’s words enabled me to understand that I was feeling all this fear and pain because I had no , and that I did not truly believe that God administers everything to do with man, including life and death. I was therefore unwittingly living in terror and fear, I had fallen for Satan’s trickery and been played for a fool by Satan. Although I knew that God holds sovereignty over all things, I understood and acknowledged this fact only theoretically, and I had not come to understand God’s sovereignty through real experience. When I heard the doctor say, therefore, that my daughter could die at any time, I became incredibly fearful, believing that it was up to the doctor whether my daughter lived or not. If he said that my daughter could lose her life, I had thought, then there was no way my daughter could escape this misfortune. But when I thought about it carefully, when my daughter was hit by the car and had been rolled underneath it, and the people around were at their wits’ end as to what to do, it was God’s protection of my daughter that had allowed her to miraculously crawl out from under the car; when the doctor had been unwilling to treat my daughter, through praying and calling on God, God had changed the doctor’s mind and made him treat my daughter. Through these deeds, God had shown me His authority and power, thus enabling me to see His almightiness and sovereignty and wonderful deeds. All things are orchestrated and arranged by God, and He holds in His hands man’s destiny, life and death. God has the final say on all things, not the doctors. How could my faith have been so small as to believe what the doctor had said and to have been fooled by Satan? I had been so ignorant! Right then I realized that God had permitted this to happen in order to perfect my faith in Him, to make me believe that God rules all things no matter what situation I experience, and to make me truly obedient to God. Only in this way would I be able to see through and fight back against Satan’s trickeries, and not be fooled by Satan and live in pain and fear. Once I’d understood God’s will, I said a prayer of obedience to God: No matter what became of my daughter, I wished to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and approach them correctly. Gradually, my heart felt much more at ease.
My Daughter’s Condition Worsens and I Sink Into Despair
At about 4 in the afternoon, my daughter suddenly began struggling to breathe and she was looking worse and worse. My husband quickly notified the doctor. When the doctor and a specialist rushed over, they said my daughter would soon stop breathing. They had to make an incision and open her airway immediately, they said, and use a respirator to help her breathe, otherwise she would die. I felt so nervous when I heard this, and I worried that, if she didn’t recover well after her airway had been opened, then she would have to have a breathing tube inserted for the rest of her life. In order for my daughter to have any hope of surviving, however, my husband and I agreed to the procedure. Over half an hour later, the procedure was over. The doctor said, “This is our last chance. If she can’t breathe with the respirator, then there is nothing else we can do for her.” My anxiety returned when the doctor said this, afraid that my daughter would have another turn for the worse. That day, my husband and I kept watch over our daughter and carefully observed her breathing, daring not to relax our vigilance even for a moment.
At about 11 p.m. that evening, our daughter’s breathing became more and more rapid. She opened her eyes and reached out her hand, motioning to me to give her paper and a pen. Then on the paper she wrote: “Mommy, I can’t catch my breath. I think I may die.” After writing this, her hand slid feebly down, and she fell into unconsciousness. We couldn’t wake her no matter how we tried, and my husband hurried to fetch the doctor. Crying, I kept calling to my daughter. After a short while, specialists from orthopedics, and from the E.N.T. and thoracic departments all came. They surrounded my daughter and examined her, and then went to an office to consult with each other. My husband went with them. I laid my head next to my daughter’s and I grieved. At that moment, I wished that it was me lying in that hospital bed, so that I didn’t have to see my daughter in such great suffering.
20 minutes later, my husband returned, and his eyes were red. Lifelessly, he said, “The doctors say our daughter won’t make it, and they say we should go home.” Seeing my husband feeling so weak and powerless, and then looking at my unconscious daughter, my heart was suddenly filled with a strong conviction: Our daughter will not die—God will save her! I then said strongly to my husband, “We can’t go home now!” Later on, the attending physician had a talk with me, and advised me, saying, “We’ve all consulted, and we really cannot think of any way to save her. Your daughter cannot be saved. You should go home!” Hearing the doctor say this, suddenly these words of God came to mind: “So long as you still have one breath, God will not let you die” (“Chapter 6” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning). I believed that God possesses this kind of authority and power and He administers the fate of mankind, as well as our lives and deaths. It was up to God whether our daughter would live or die, and the doctor’s words did not matter. I believed that God would surely save our daughter. Therefore, no matter how the doctor advised me, I steadfastly replied, “We’re not yet at the very end. We cannot go home.” And I demanded that the doctors try to save her again. At my insistence, the doctor had no choice but to take up a sputum aspiration tube that was about 40 cm long, and he inserted it into my daughter’s airway through the incision. Using an electric machine, the doctor sucked sputum out four times and, unexpectedly, my daughter’s breathing eased, and she slowly opened her eyes. In joy, I gripped her hand and kept thanking God. But the doctor said, “In your daughter’s current state, although her breathing has eased, she won’t live past tonight. I think you should go home before that happens.” Upon saying this, he shook his head and left. I took no notice of what he’d said. Seeing my daughter breathing, my heart was filled with faith for God, and then I softly sang a couple of hymns to her, “Song of Loving God Without Regrets” and “With True Faith Comes Witness.” Listening to me sing, she fell quietly into sleep and she passed the night in peace.
Unexpectedly, the next morning at 7 a.m., my daughter’s breathing once again became rapid and she looked to be in a lot of pain and distress. She stretched out her hand, motioning that she wanted a pen and paper. Holding the pen, she wrote with difficulty: “Daddy, mommy, it’s hard to breathe. I feel I won’t pull through. I don’t think I’ll last past this morning.” Reading what she’d written, I felt a heartrending pain and despair once again filled my heart. I tightly gripped her hand and I kept calling on God in my heart: “O God! My daughter is in such pain and it seems that she really won’t make it. O God! I don’t know how I’m supposed to face what will happen next. I beg You to help me.” These words of God then came to my mind: “Since you believe in and follow God, you should offer everything to Him, and should not make personal choices or demands, and you should achieve the fulfillment of God’s desire. Since you were created, you should obey the Lord that created you, for you are inherently without dominion over yourself, and have no ability to control your own destiny. Since you are a person who believes in God, you should seek holiness and change” (“Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks”). As I contemplated God’s words, I came to understand that I was a created being and that I should stand in a created being’s place and submit to the Creator’s orchestrations and arrangements. I should not be making all kinds of demands on God to satisfy my own wild desires, for that was unreasonable behavior. Thinking back over the days since I’d learned of my daughter’s car accident, whenever I’d prayed to God I was always asking Him to save my daughter and not to let her die. I saw how deeply corrupted by Satan I was; I believed in God and followed God and yet I had no shred of reverence or obedience toward Him and had not stood in the right place for a created being. Instead, I had made unreasonable demands of God and had blindly asked God for His blessings and grace—I really was so arrogant, conceited, selfish and contemptible! God is the Creator and all things are in His hands. When someone is born and when they die has all been preordained by God long ago and He arranges it all. My daughter’s life was also in God’s hands, and no matter what God did, His good will was behind it. I should obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements and not make my own decisions—only this was the attitude and sense a created being should have. And so, I said a silent prayer to God and made a resolution: “O God! I wish truly to give my daughter to You. Whether You take her or You leave her, I will not complain. I wish only to obey Your sovereignty and arrangements and stand firm in my testimony to You.” After I’d prayed, I began to prepare for the worst. Once I’d gotten my feelings under control, I held my daughter’s hand and, holding back my tears, I said to her, “Lanlan, God gives us our lives. Whether we live or die, we must always submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. Although we haven’t believed in God for very long, compared with unbelievers, we are very fortunate. We haven’t come into this world in vain, because we have heard God’s voice and we know that there is one Creator in all the universe, and we know that we shouldas living people. So no matter what happens in the end, we must always thank God and we absolutely must not blame Him. OK?” My daughter seemed to hear and understand what I was saying, and she nodded her head and blinked her eyes, and two lines of tears slid down from the corners of her eyes. Afterward, her breathing became more and more labored and she fell unconscious again. I watched my daughter as I sat feebly beside her, tears falling from my eyes.
When Things Looked Hopeless, God’s Love Did Not Leave Us
Just then, the attending physician came over and looked at the ventilator and electrocardiogram, then shined his small hand torch in my daughter’s eyes and pinched her arms and shook his head. In a cold voice, he said, “I told you your daughter would not survive the night. Now you see that she won’t survive! Her pupils are dilated, and her face is turning purple. There is no way to save her.” The doctor then turned and instructed a nurse to see what the situation was with my daughter’s infusion, and he told her to remove the tube if it was no longer dripping. Then he walked off without looking back. Hearing the doctor say this, my husband laid his head next to our daughter’s and cried in grief, and the other people in the ward wept tears of sympathy. Though I’d prepared my mind for this, hearing the doctor say those words caused me great pain and at once I felt like my heart had been hollowed out. I lay next to my daughter and called on God, asking Him to protect my heart. At that moment, God’s words flashed through my mind: “The utmost faith and love are required from us in this stage of work. We may stumble from the slightest carelessness, for this stage of work is different from all the previous ones: What God is perfecting is mankind’s faith, which is both invisible and intangible. What God does is convert words to faith, to love, and to life. People must reach a point where they have endured hundreds of refinements and possess faith greater than Job’s. They must endure incredible suffering and all manner of torture without ever leaving God. When they are obedient unto death, and have great faith in God, then this stage of God’s work is complete” (“The Path … (8)”). God’s words gave me faith and strength, and I felt as though God were right beside me, telling me that I must have great faith in Him, that I must be like Job. When trials befell Job, he lost all his wealth and property and all his beautiful children, and he himself developed terrible boils all over his body. But although he suffered a lot of pain, he believed that everything happens by God’s permission. Whether one receives blessings or meets with disaster, as created beings we must stand in our place and, no matter what God does, we must extol His holy name, obey and accept His sovereignty unconditionally, and speak no word of complaint. This is the sense a human being should have. Because Job understood these things, Job ultimately relied on His faith, obedience and reverence for God and stood firm in his testimony. I was now being comforted and encouraged by God’s words, so I knelt next to my daughter’s bed and prayed to God: “O God! Facing death, I see how insignificant and pitiful we humans are. I see the fragility of human life and even more so I see the immaturity of my own stature. Faced with the trial of my daughter’s imminent death, my desire to obey You is so weak. O God! I ask that You keep me from complaining and give me the courage to face my daughter’s death. When Job was undergoing trials, he said ‘Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah’ (Job 1:21). I wish to imitate Job, and truly obey You….” After praying, I held my daughter’s hand and silently looked at her. My heart felt much calmer, and I felt able to calmly face whatever may happen next.
Obedience Ushers in New Hope
It was over 10 minutes later when I noticed that the liquid was still dripping drop by drop and entering my daughter’s body. This showed that my daughter still lived! A new hope was then ignited in my heart: My daughter still lives, and we cannot give up like this. I quickly asked the nurse to call the doctor, and when he came, he said very impatiently, “I told you she won’t survive. Why are you still here?” After making repeated requests, the doctor reluctantly took up the breathing tube and inserted it into my daughter’s airway and, using the machine again, used it to suck liquid from my daughter’s lungs. Three times the tube sucked up some sputum and watery blood, and my daughter suddenly opened her eyes and her face gradually turned pink again. In great excitement, I held my daughter’s hand and I kept thanking God in my heart. The doctor then leaned over and looked at the electrocardiogram, then at the ventilator, and said in amazement, “How come everything has normalized all of a sudden? It’s inconceivable!” He then looked at my daughter’s face and confirmed that she had a good complexion once again. He raised both his hands and danced in the ward, saying joyfully, “I’ve saved Lanlan! I’ve saved Lanlan!” Hearing the doctor say this, Lanlan reached out her hand, motioning that she wanted to write something. I handed her a pen and paper, and she wrote: “God won’t let me die so long as I have one breath left. It was predestined in heaven that I should still live, and I thank God!” After the doctor had read what she had written, he left without a word. I cried just then, not knowing how to express my gratitude to God. I could only keep thanking God in my heart: “O God! Thank You for Your love for me and thank You for saving my daughter. I’ve gained so much over these 3 short days. When I was grieving and helpless, You were with me all the time, comforting and encouraging me with Your words, giving me faith, correcting my wrong views on belief in God, enabling me to truly be obedient before You and to see Your almightiness and sovereignty and wondrous deeds! May all glory be unto You, the one true God! Amen!”
From that day on, my daughter’s condition got better and better each day, and her airway made an excellent recovery. As she was about to be discharged from the hospital, the doctor and a nurse asked me and my daughter to write a letter of thanks to the doctor, but we refused, for I knew that it had been God who had given my daughter life, and so we gave our thanks only to God!
After more than a month recuperating at home, my daughter was able to live normally again and, later, she began to perform her duty in the church.
My Heart Was Moved to Understanding
It has already been several years since these events unfolded, but every time I think of my daughter’s experience of being saved from the brink of death, I feel a deep sense of gratitude to the wonderful: Not only did God give my daughter a new lease of life but, even more importantly, through these events I have come to truly understand the truth that mankind’s fate is in God’s hands. At the same time, I also understand that, no matter what situation may befall us, we should always sincerely rely on and look to God, take our proper place as created beings, obey the sovereignty and arrangements of the Creator, let go of our intentions and desires, and not make unreasonable demands of God. Only this is the wisest choice to make! Thanks be to God!