A Testimony

by Assistant Prof. Pakorn Chandanamattha (MD)

Cardiologist (Electrophysiology and Cardiac Pacing),

Ramathibodi Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand

I am the only Christian in my family, a lone Christian both at home and at work.  I have been Christian for about 10 years.  It was not really exciting how I came to know God, but after I had known him I realized that He was the God I had long been searching for.

My search stemmed from two main reasons.  First, as a cardiologist I had often come close to those who were dying.  It made me aware that death was the most exact executioner, most patient and most unexpected, from whom none could ever escape.  Then, when a few of my close friends suddenly and unexpectedly died an untimely death one after another, I had a feeling that death was close at hand, under everyone’s feet, with no guarantee that there would be tomorrow for any of us.

I have looked after near-death patients from all walks of life: commoners and royalty, paupers and millionaires.  None seems to accept the fact of life.  On the contrary, those who are more successful in life are usually more afraid of death.  I know very well that some day I will be near death too, glued to respirator, all sorts of cords and life-savers.  I ask myself what I shall hold on to when my final days come, to enable me to face death peacefully, to spend my last days contentedly and to enter the next world with confidence.

Second, despite the fact that I have been quite successful in life, having good work, reputation and financial status, almost everything anyone could wish for, still I have a feeling that something is missing from my life, something that will fill up my life.  I look for it and keep wondering whether I will have to struggle in my search till the last day of my life and still not finding it.

To find what I look for, I try my own way by being good both in deeds and in thoughts.  Then, one day I happened to see a friend of mine, a Christian, bow her head to thank God before meal, I was amused at her behavior.  However, after we talked about her faith, I asked myself why such a well-educated person could come to believe in God so firmly.  At the same time I reminded myself that one should not decide what was right or wrong before one could prove it.  And, I thought, this might be the answer to what I had long been after.  For the first time I decided to go to church. That was four years ago.   

I remember very well the first time I went to church.  My parents did not disapprove.  They even told me to dress well for the occasion.  Both of them were university students in England for several years and used to tell us how people in those days dressed in their best clothes to go to church on Sunday.  On that day, besides me there was another new comer, a meat-ball vendor.  The two of us dressed very differently.  But, Pastor Kachorn who was in charge of the Bible teaching on that day gave us the same warm welcome as well as seated us together.  That was my first impression, that God’s follower treats all men alike regardless of their social status.

The scripture taught on that day was, “I am the vine, you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”.  I was not at all convinced by this scripture.  I thought, at 30, I had been quite successful in life without having to know God.  I concluded that Pastor Kachorn and those at church might have some misunderstanding that needed to be corrected.  Pastor Kachorn was a very good man and I wanted to save him from his futile belief.  I intended to change his belief by proving to him that the Bible was false.  So, I began to study the Bible seriously, looking for faults.  At the same time, I also read relevant books written by both believers and non-believers.  Startlingly, I discovered that the miracle Bible that had escaped being destroyed time after time had revealed to me the truth I had long been searching for.

Historically, the Bible records a number of ancient cities.  Before the year 1850, Assyria exists only in the Bible.  Thanks to two archeologists, Austin Henry Layard and Hormuzd Rasson, we have learned about the Assyrians and their bygone days.  The ancient city of Ur was discovered in 1912 after having disappeared for nearly more than 6,500 years.  Its existence appears only in the Bible.  The excavation of the city of Jericho in 1930 reveals the remains of a very thick and strong city wall, as stated in the Bible. Containers filled with grains almost to the rims were found, showing that the city was at war for only a short period, again in accord with the Bible.  Jericho, records the Bible, was besieged for only 7 days and the Israelites who conquered did not take away any treasure.  At that time, grains were considered very precious treasures because they were both food and seeds to sow in the following years.  Besides, discoveries of the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Nineveh and others have also been made.  I think the Bible is one of the most reliable historical documents.

When I was a medical student, I used to be amazed at the human body, the only species that stands upright on two legs.  The structure of a human body is a miracle.  The pelvis is designed to support body weight as well as to enable females to deliver babies. Part of the brain that controls one’s balance has to be highly efficient.  The nerve system has to be highly exact to control the constant flow of blood to the brain no matter in what position a human being is- sitting, standing, lying, walking or running.  The ability to stand on two legs alone is already very complicating, not mentioning the use of hands and languages, the ability to reason, the show of emotion, etc.  I always think how clever nature is to create such a complicated living thing.  The Bible says that God creates man.  I did not believe this till I read a book written by a professor who was an unbeliever.  The author tried to build up basic genetic code from inorganic materials under most suitable conditions concerning temperature, compress, acid-base balance, humidity and electrical charge.  After 20 years of experiments, he failed to change inorganic to organic materials.  He concluded that we could possibly say that man was born naturally, but that it would be much easier to say that he was created by someone. For example, he said, if we found a red ball in our backyard and were told that the ball came to be there itself, it would be just like the story of a coconut with a hole eaten through its shell by insects.  The coconut rolled under a rubber tree whose branch happened to break and drip latex into the hole.  Then, covered with red dust, the coconut rolled down the cliff, broke its shell, and a red ball popped out of it.  A bird picked the ball up with its beak and dropped it in our backyard.  Surely, no one would believe this story.  Anyone would have said that someone left the ball in the backyard.  Likewise, human genetic code consists of only 4 basic chemical base: A,T,G,C but sequencing more than 3,000 million chemical letters without a single mistake cannot be something that just happens on its own.  There must be someone, some ablest person, who has created man.

Prophecies that have proved true are another reason why I gave in to the Lord.  The old Testament is correct in foretelling the coming of Jesus Christ.  At first I did not believe the prophecy, thinking that it was written afterwards.  But the old Testament found by a shepherd boy in Cave Qumran in 1947 and tested by carbon 14 proves that the old Testament existed before the coming of Christ.  This shows that the prophecy is true.  The most exciting is the founding of new Israel, exactly as foretold by the prophecy.  In the year 70 AD, after their last stronghold at Fort Masada was destroyed by the Romans, the Jews scattered all over the world.  They are exterminated again and again.  In the Middle Age when plaque swept across Europe and killed two-thirds of the people, the Jews were blamed for the disaster and a great number of them were put to death.  Also, during the reign of Queen Juana and the Second World War, more than six million Jews were exterminated in Nazis’ concentration camps.  Yet, in spite of all aforesaid, on 15 May 1948, the Jews returned to found their new Israel in Canaan, the land believed to be given by God to Jewish descendants, thus fulfilling the prophecy made 2000 years ago.  There remains only one more prophecy to be proved, that is, the return of Jesus Christ.

Besides, the Bible contains many other miracles, for instance, the remains of the huge object on Mount Ararat that is believed to be Noah’s ark and has been photographed by satellite, the Hebrew Code hidden in Torah, the miracle of number 7.  After 8 months of my studying the Bible, I gave in and accepted Jesus Christ as my savior.  That was three years ago.

When I first became Christian, I must admit that I was ashamed to tell anyone out of fear of being ridiculed.  Then, one day I had a chance to testify about Him.  At a doctors conference I heard about a dying patient, an 18-year-old girl, who tried to commit suicide by drinking Paraquat, a deadly weed killer, in such a quantity that it was impossible to save her life.  On her arrival at the hospital, her liver and kidneys were already severely damaged. I always believe, both before and after I have been converted, that committing suicide is a great sin.  I knew very well that the young patient would definitely die except that Jesus Christ forgave her for her sin.  I decided to have a talk with her and testify about the Lord.  Her life story was heartbreaking.  Had I been in her place, I might have committed the same sin.  The girl was well aware that she was dying.  Yet, we prayed together that night asking God to give her another chance to live.  With little confidence did I pray because I well knew the deadly effect of the Paraquat.  Almost all the patients who had taken more than 15 cc. of Paraquat lost their lives within 2 weeks.  This girl had taken 50 cc. three days before she was brought to hospital with liver and kidneys no longer functioning.  At the doctors’ conference, all agreed that she would not survive any treatment.

But, miracle occurred.  The next day, the patient’s kidneys appeared to be in good repair.  I could not believe it, so I had her blood test again.  The result confirmed the good condition of the kidneys.  Two days later, the liver became normal.  Nevertheless, Paraquate still continued to damage her lungs.  Oxygen in her blood kept decreasing so much so that I no longer hoped for her recovery.  In the meantime 3 colleagues of mine came to see her and turned to be interested in God.  I realized afterwards that God must have held back time in order to bring some souls to know Him as Saviour. After spending more than 40 days in hospital with oxygen in blood at too low a level for her to survive, the patient received lungs donated by a person killed in an accident.  She had her lungs replaced and survived.

God is God.  He saved her life.  She miraculously recovered.  As a doctor, I knew fully well that she could not have been cured by modern medicine.  That was the first time that I had witnessed His power.  I became more confident to lead my life with Him, to testify about Him, to pray.  And again and again, I have seen Him do to the patients what is beyond human understanding.  I owe Him endless thanks.

Nevertheless, one day when I prayed for something and He did not answer my prayer, I was so sad and disappointed that I intended not to follow Him any longer.  The following day, however, I received a little note with this scripture, “Do not be worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own”.  The writer of the note told me that she just felt like leaving me this particular scripture although she knew that I was normally a happy and cheerful sort of person.  Then friends from another church came to visit me at work and had been great encouragement to me.  At that time none of those close to me were Christians.  I picked up the Bible to read and found a passage exactly coinciding with my feeling then.  And when turned on the radio, I heard the song “His love is mine”.   How came it that within 24 hours four similar happenings occurred almost simultaneously?  Surely, it must be a signal for me to return to Him.  God is forever faithful.  A sudden surge of love for Him overwhelmed me.  I was so happy that God loved me although I did not deserve to be loved.  After all, among 6,000 million people in the world, I was only a nobody and hard to please.  Yet, God came after me to tell me that even the humblest one was valuable in His eyes.  I realized that though I was not loveless, I felt so happy to be loved by God.  I wonder how happy those will be, who are seldom loved.

I have learned a great lesson then.  Before that, I always thought God had answered so many of my prayers because I was after Him.  But what happened showed that it was not I who was after Him, but it was He who was after me.  Jesus Christ on the Cross 2,000 years ago is the best proof that He is after all living beings who humbly listen to Him and believe in His sacrifice. No matter whether they are clever or stupid, rich or poor, royal or common, normal or disabled, sick or strong, all can be His followers and be saved by Him.  This is the gift of love from God, the just One.

Three months later, I understood why God did not answer my prayer that day.  Had He answered my prayer then, I would have been in great trouble.  I am certain that sometimes we think it right to ask Him for something, but He knows better and will give us only good things.  I am now determined to follow Him for the rest of my life no matter whether He answers my prayers or not, because I feel that I owe Him endless thanks for His love and forgiveness given to me despite my not deserving them.

Nowadays, I still live among unbelievers, but I have changed my attitude.  I no longer feel ashamed of my faith.  On the contrary, I am concerned about those who do not know God.  They do not realize that wealth, praise, honor, and all the worldly things cannot make them really happy.  There is God only who can fulfill us with His love.  Those who do not know Him have to keep looking for something or other till the last day of their lives, and still unfulfilled.  We, Christians, have the most precious treasure that can never be taken away from us, that is, Jesus Christ the Savior and His love.

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