By Lee Strobel
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Duane Miller’s greatest enjoyment came from preaching at his small church and singing songs of worship. It wasn’t just his livelihood to lead a Baptist congregation in Brenham, Texas; it was his passion, his calling, and his source of joy and satisfaction.
When he awoke with the flu one Sunday morning, his throat was like sandpaper and his voice would “catch” on words. Each syllable was painful to speak. The flu soon disappeared, but his windpipe remained ablaze and his voice reduced to a raspy whisper. His throat felt constricted, as if someone were choking him.
For all practical purposes, Miller’s voice was gone. No longer able to preach, he resigned from his pastorate. He eventually landed a government job researching records—a position he then lost because his inability to speak meant he couldn’t testify in court about his findings. Insurance stopped covering his treatments, and he faced thousands of dollars in medical bills.
“For the first time in my life, I felt utterly useless. My income, my future, my health, my sense of well-being, all were suddenly beyond my control. It was a terrifying and humbling experience,” he said.
Over three years, he was examined by 63 physicians. His case was even scrutinized by a Swiss symposium of the world’s leading throat specialists. The diagnosis: the flu virus destroyed the nerves of his vocal cords, rendering them limp. When Miller asked about his prognosis for recovery, a doctor told him, “Zero.”
Despite Miller’s protestations, his former Sunday school class at First Baptist Church of Houston prevailed on him to speak. A special microphone was used to amplify Miller’s soft, hoarse, croaky voice—and the class agreed to endure the grating sound because of their love for him and his teaching.
Ironically, his text was Psalm 103, where the third verse reads, God “heals all your diseases.” Miller said later, “With my tongue, I was saying, ‘I still believe that God heals,’ but in my heart, I was screaming, ‘But why not me, Lord?’”
He went on to the next verse, which says the Lord “redeems your life from the pit.” He told the class, “I have had, and you have had, in times past, pit experiences.”
As soon as he said the word pit, the choking sensation disappeared. “Now, for the first time in three years, I could breathe freely,” he recalled. “I heard a gasp from the crowd, and that’s when I, too, realized my voice had come back. I could hear myself!”
His stunned audience began to clap and cheer, shout and laugh; his wife, Joylene, broke down in tears. “I don’t understand this right now,” Miller stammered—with a fresh, new voice.
The dramatic moment of Miller’s recovery had been captured on audiotape, which went viral. Subsequent doctor examinations showed his throat looks like it never had any problems; in fact, against all odds, even the scar tissue has disappeared.
Said one physician, “Even if I could explain how you got your voice back by coincidence—which I can’t—I could never explain what happened to the scar tissue.”
Today, Miller is pastor of Pinnacle Church, serving the Cedar Creek Lake area of Texas. Ironically, he also hosts a daily program on a Dallas radio station—yes, using his voice to tell others about the God who he is convinced still performs miracles.
“You see, God didn’t just restore my life,” he said. “He amplified it.”
At his website, you can listen to the tape of when his voice came back. Then ask, “Is this a supernatural act of God? Or is it better explained as some sort of spontaneous remission that only coincidentally occurred while he was quoting the Bible on healing?”
It’s clear where Miller stands. He is as perplexed as anyone why he was selected for such dramatic supernatural action. “I can’t give you ‘ten principles to prepare for God’s healing,’” he said. “It wasn’t my faith, it wasn’t my response, it wasn’t my obedience, I didn’t earn a thing. I just received His unearned favor.”
And he is not alone when it comes to believing in miracles, according to a 2004 survey, which showed that 55 percent of US physicians have seen results in their patients that they would consider miraculous. Furthermore, three-quarters of the 1,100 doctors surveyed are convinced that miracles can occur today—a percentage that’s actually higher than that of the US population in general. So maybe it’s not surprising that six out of ten physicians said they pray for their patients individually.
The big issue, however, is whether belief in supernatural occurrences is based on mistake, misunderstanding, fraud, legend, rumor, wishful thinking, confirmation bias, the placebo effect—or reality.
In other words, does a miracle-performing God actually exist, and has he left his fingerprints all over supernatural events throughout history down to the present age? Is he even available to intervene in your life today?
That’s what I set out to determine in writing The Case for Miracles. I’ve done the investigation; I’ve made the case; I’ve rendered my verdict. Now’s your opportunity to explore the evidence and render yours.
Adapted from The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural by Lee Strobel. Click here to learn more about this title.
In The Case for Miracles, New York Times bestselling author Lee Strobel trains his investigative sights on the hot-button issue of whether it’s credible to believe God intervenes supernaturally in people’s lives today.
The book starts with a provocative interview in which America’s foremost skeptic builds a seemingly persuasive case against the miraculous. But then Strobel travels the country to quiz scholars to see whether they can offer solid answers to atheist objections. Along the way, he encounters astounding accounts of healings and other phenomena that simply cannot be explained away by naturalistic causes. The book features the results of exclusive new scientific polling that shows miracle accounts are much more common than people think.
What’s more, Strobel delves into the most controversial question of all: what about miracles that don’t happen? If God can intervene in the world, why doesn’t he do it more often to relieve suffering? Many American Christians are embarrassed by the supernatural, not wanting to look odd or extreme to their neighbors. Yet, The Case for Miracles shows not only that the miraculous is possible, but that God still does intervene in our world in awe-inspiring ways. Here’s a unique book that examines all sides of this issue and comes away with a passionate defense for God’s divine action in lives today. Learn more about this book at CaseForMiracles.com.
Lee Strobel was the award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune and is the bestselling author of The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, The Case for a Creator, and The Case for Grace. With a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale, Lee has won four Gold Medallions for publishing excellence and coauthored the Christian Book of the Year. He serves as Professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University. For more information, visit LeeStrobel.com.