When it looked and felt like a death sentence coming true

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Close encounter with death

The injunction to believe for life in the face of medical facts was put to the test within days of talking to the pulmonary doctor who believed I would die if I got a respiratory infection.

I did get sick, and as usual started a ten-day round of antibiotics immediately. I had just gone to bed after taking the last antibiotic, noting with pleasure that there was no infection and I had lived through it all. I was quite pleased, maybe a little smug.

Suddenly it happened.

I couldn’t breathe.

What happened next may seem rather odd for someone who could not breathe. But please take in consideration that I functioned day to day on 11% functional capacity and that is when I am not sick. Although I am now certain I was having an asthma attack, at the time I just thought the medical facts had won after all and I was on my way out.

I rolled out of bed, headed to the bathroom and popped down extra of the herbal formulas I took for breathing. When I saw my reflection in a mirror—my head held back, teeth clenched, neck tendons popping out from the strain and struggle to breathe, and a wild look in my eyes—I laughed within. There was no fear within, instead I found the situation humorous. I thought to myself, a little sarcastically as I figured I was on my way out, “I’ll fix myself a cup of tea, and my God and I will have us a tea party.”

The tea party.

I went to the kitchen to put on the water for tea. My body was fighting to breathe, and my inner man was struggling with my situation. I was in constant communion with God, as I questioned who was going to win after all, medical facts or the Words He had spoken to me over the years which had to do with living, not dying.

Looking back, I believe two things were imperative during this situation. No. 1 — Keeping my focus toward the Lord, and No. 2 — staying calm. With my personality, a cry for help would have negated both of these. Any panic would have closed up my bronchi and been the end of me for certain. The Tea Party was necessary.

And then His Spirit dealt with me severely. I had been saying that my body was a body of death, basically agreeing with medical fact. Talk about disobedience! It was very clear to me at that moment that I was to change my words, my confession.

My attitude was dealt with strongly in those moments and I agreed to call my body a body of life out of sheer obedience... and literally croaked it out. I thanked my Father God that He had given me a body of life, as instructed. By the time the tea was ready, my sarcasm was replaced with peace and much joy.

I went to my bedroom, sat cross legged on my bed, and continued in fellowship with my Father God. I knew He wanted me to sing praises to Him. It was easy for my inner man to obey, though harder physically.

The entire time my body was making all sorts of racket from the struggle to survive, and now I was going to sing praise songs! “This should be fun Lord,” I said to Him silently. I began, able only to croak out one to three words at a time; but by the time I had finished with the third song... my breathing was back to normal. My normal.

The struggle of belief

In my life, belief has been a process. I know absolutely that I was told on June 28, 1992 while standing by my maple tree, that I was to live. I thought that would come about by having the scolio surgery to open my chest cavity so I could breathe. But then it turned out there could be no surgery, and instead I was given another death sentence.

Even so, I knew in my heart I would still live, and I wrote a letter to the pulmonary doctor stating that fact. Nevertheless, there was still the struggle between what I knew in my mind and heart, and what the physical facts raged at me. I was guilty of sarcastically joking around that my body was a body of death, because somewhere deep inside the struggle of physical reality and faith had not yet come together.

But we, brethren beloved by the Lord, ought and are obligated [as those who are in debt] to give thanks always to God for you, because God chose you from the beginning [to be the first converts] for salvation through the sanctifying work of the (Holy) Spirit and [your] belief in — adherence to, trust in and reliance on — the Truth (2 Thessalonians 2:13 Amplified Bible).

And so it was that when the above encounter occurred, when I thought I would certainly die within minutes, I was forced to allow one or the other to reign and thus determine my fate. Why does it sometimes take a dire circumstance to force us into compliance to the heart of God?

Help my unbelief.

The Lord Jesus dealt with a man whose son was demon possessed in Mark 9:14-29. The man was telling Jesus the horrible things that happened to his son because of this demon. Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes” (Mark 9:23).

The father then said, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

Mark 9:24 is a scripture I pray often because I know from my experience that I may not be believing as much as I think. There are times when I know in my mind and in my heart and I speak it, but nevertheless, the knowing has not yet hooked up deep inside to become life experience.

Today I always ask the Lord Jesus to help my unbelief so that what I know to be true will be turned into a belief which has action.


Smack dab in the middle of everything that went on—the struggle with belief and the physcial facts, the second death sentence, the close encounter with death—joy abounded. I talk about that joy in different places on this site. I wrote articles about it for my church bulletin, and was asked to write a mini-booklet along the lines of the articles. The title is Called To Joy and can be found in the articles section of this website.


Probably the greatest gift given to me by the doctors in Texas is the knowledge of the grace I have walked in since I was 16 years old. The grace of the Lord Jesus at times can be so strong it is as if an energy vortex is wrapped around us. I believe that those who experience martyrdom have a vortex of grace enveloping them, and hence enabling them to endure the unthinkable with joy in their hearts. I have also written a mini-booklet about grace, opening with the conversation between the doctor and me when he told me he could not help me. Hooked On Grace can be found in the articles section of this website.

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