Unworthy of God’s Grace
ILLNESS AND TRIALS
I attended the 2009 World Delegate
Conference (WDC) in Malaysia. I was scheduled to be there for ten days, from
March 24 to April 2, taking part in meetings and the conference, but I don’t
recall anything that happened during that time. Afterward, people told me that
my behavior during the conference was strange: I had trouble walking, spent a
lot of time resting, and did not greet others.
I woke up on April 1 in the
hospital, with two holes drilled in my head. That’s when I realized that I had
been operated on. I didn’t recall giving authorization for surgery, but the
members who had rushed me to the hospital told me that I had signed all the
They told me that they had taken
me to the hospital for a full examination because of my odd behavior. When the
hospital took a brain scan, they realized that one-fifth of my skull had filled
with blood, displacing my brain so that it was pushed over to one side. This hospital
was not equipped for brain surgery, so they had to send me to Malacca Hospital
an hour away.
My situation was critical and it
was possible that I would pass away en route to Malacca Hospital. Church
members notified my siblings in Taiwan of my condition, and they rushed to
Malaysia that day. My sister told me that they had been prepared to take my
I’m very thankful for all the
brothers and sisters who prayed for me during this time, especially the WDC
attendees who stayed up late to pray for me. The two holes in my skull were
drilled so that the blood in my brain could be drained. I had to stay in the
hospital until I recovered from the surgery, but I didn’t know the full extent
of my condition because the doctor was too busy to talk to me.
On the fourth night of my
hospitalization, I started to reflect on my illness. Pastors often encourage us
to reflect on anything that may have caused difficulties and problems in our
life, and we were taught in theological school to be careful of greed, pride,
and lust. So I thought about whether or not I had done something wrong.
But after examining and
reflecting, I still could not figure out a reason for my illness, so I just
accepted the fact that I got sick. All of a sudden I heard loud noises that
seemed to be coming from the next room.
Normally, I am not that disturbed
by loud sounds. For example, if someone near me snores very loudly, I just try
to breathe along with him instead of becoming angry, and I’m soon asleep. But I
wanted to find out where the sound was coming from because the noise made me
From my reaction to the noise, I
knew that it was a spiritual disturbance, possibly from Satan. I had witnessed
the work of Satan and cast him out before, but I had never personally experienced
disturbance by him.
I wanted to go look around and see
if there was anything causing the noise, in case it was mice or something else.
I needed to make sure that it was the work of Satan.
It was around 8 pm, and I had an
intravenous (IV) line and a urine bag, so I had to bring them all with me as I
walked slowly to the next room. It took me thirty minutes to get there, and,
when I opened the door, I saw that it was an empty shower room. I didn’t know
what was in that room because I hadn’t been allowed out of bed after the
I turned each tap closed, very
tightly, even though none of them were leaking. After I got back to my room, I
could still hear loud noises and still felt nauseous. I knew that it was a
demon that was disturbing me. I decided that it wasn’t worthy to be cast out by
Jesus’ name because His name is precious and shouldn’t be carelessly used. So I
said, “Cowardly demon, I’m ignoring you.” And the noise went away.
The next day, at around 8 pm, I
felt a presence, a power in the room, but I wasn’t afraid. I said, “What do you
want?” And I felt it run quickly to my feet.
Suddenly this demon was tugging on
my blankets, trying to pull them off of me. I held onto the blankets tightly so
that they wouldn’t get pulled away. I wasn’t about to let this demon take away
the four blankets that I had especially requested from the nurses, so I cast
him out in the name of Jesus. And he left.
After this second visit from the
demon, I knew that it was my turn to go through trials and personally
experience the work of Satan, but I wasn’t afraid.
GOD’S GRACE AND PROTECTION
I was discharged from the hospital
on Friday, April 10, nine days after my surgery. The next day was Sabbath, and
the local church asked me to give a sermon. I went up to the pulpit and told
everyone not to worry about me while I testified about my experiences over the
past few days.
My head was still wrapped in
bandages when I went up to speak because the two holes drilled in my head had
not yet completely healed. The deacon who invited me to speak was afraid that I
would faint, so he sat in the first pew in case anything happened.
A brother who had ear surgery a
year earlier was worried for me when I went up to speak and started to get a
headache. He later testified that he saw a vision while I spoke. He saw five
angels, as tall as the chapel, surrounding the pulpit where I was standing. Two
angels stood in the front of the pulpit, one on each side, each holding a large
book. Two angels stood in the back, one on each side, each holding a staff. And
one angel stood behind me, in the middle, holding a sword.
After he saw this vision, his
headache disappeared and he wasn’t worried anymore because the angels were
watching after me. Nothing happened to me that day or the next day when I spoke
during a special seminar. I believed, as everyone else did, that I was fine and
there would be no more problems.
The two weeks I spent in Malaysia
after my operation were truly because of God’s grace. I could not fly back home
to Germany after I was discharged because the left hemisphere of my brain
needed time to recover its normal shape. The blood that had built up in that
part of my brain had pushed my brain out of place, and I was left with an empty
space where the blood had been. There would be pressure problems if I went on a
plane with a partially empty skull.
My wife came to take care of me,
and we stayed at the unoccupied house of a church sister after I was discharged
from the hospital. Thank God, my wife and I were able to experience a second
honeymoon while I recovered.
We rarely had time for long
conversations, but for two weeks we had a lot of time to talk, and we talked
about everything—about our youth, the present, even our future and how to take
care of our affairs once we passed away. We would sit and talk for many hours
at a time, and I still think about this time fondly.
After two weeks, the doctors
allowed me to fly home. I left Malaysia believing that my illness was behind me
and that I had made a full recovery.
UNEXPECTED RECURRENCE AND DOWNTURN
I went for a checkup at Heidelberg
University Hospital on May 15, one month after I returned to Germany. After a
computed tomography (CT) scan, the doctor told me that I couldn’t go home
because my brain was again filled with blood and they had to operate that day.
Two more holes were drilled in my
head to drain the blood. Unlike my first hospitalization, I remembered
everything clearly: I dressed myself before going in for surgery, I shook hands
with the anesthesiologist and the surgeon, and I was able to remember
everything after I woke up.
The surgery went well, and my
recovery went smoothly as well. On May 18, the third day after surgery, the
doctor told me that I would be discharged the next day. That night, around 8
pm, I was getting ready to sleep when I suddenly felt a force behind me.
This was the third time I felt
this presence, but it didn’t say or do anything other than watch me. I felt it
staring at my back. I ignored it, but it wouldn’t leave, and the feeling of
being watched for a long time started to annoy me. I got angry and cast it out
in the name of Jesus.
I was lying down in bed and saw it
run away through the corner. It was the first time I had seen a demon, but I
can still picture it very clearly. It had a small pointed head and a tail like
a broom, and I was surprised at the color because it wasn’t dark like it’s usually depicted but more of an olive green color.
After it left, I slept very well
that night. When I woke up the next morning, I thought that everything was well
and that I would be going home that day.
The doctor came in at 11 am to
remove the drainage tubes in my head. The doctor told me to prepare for pain,
and I steadied myself for pain of a level of ten, but it was at a level of
eight. He finished removing the tubes at 11:30 am and left.
After the doctor left the room, I
suddenly felt great pain in my head. It was many times more painful than the
level of ten that I had prepared for earlier. It felt like someone was
squeezing my brain in his hand. I had never felt pain of this scale.
I turned in bed to try to get rid
of the pain, and then I felt my brain being squeezed two more times. Then I
When the nurse brought my lunch at
noon she found me lying in bed unresponsive. They took another CT scan of my
brain and found that there was a mixture of brain matter, blood, and other
brain fluid in my skull, which the doctor later described to me as a “blood
cake.” I was taken in for surgery.
The doctors were unable to figure
out what had happened because I was cleared for discharge that day, but then I
suddenly lost consciousness and had a “blood cake” in my brain. The surgeon had
to cut part of my scalp and lift it off like a flap, then cut through my skull
and take off part of the skull to look at my brain.
When I woke up after this
operation, I had some difficulty moving the right side of my body and could not
speak clearly. Even though I went through physical therapy over the next couple
of days, my condition didn’t improve and actually deteriorated until I was
completely paralyzed on my right side and unable to speak intelligibly.
The doctors decided to operate on
me one more time to see if they could find out what was wrong.
UNABLE TO SPEAK
Before my second major brain
surgery, the doctor told me that, if I was lucky, I would be able to speak my
native language after the operation. He explained that the mother tongue is
deeply ingrained in the brain, and subsequent languages are copied into the
brain. The languages learned later would be lost, but I would still be able to
speak my mother tongue after surgery if I was lucky.
My second surgery took place on
May 22. When I woke up afterward, I was completely paralyzed on my right side.
My wife, eldest son, and daughter came to see me in the intensive care unit
(ICU) after the surgery. I decided to see if I was lucky, like the doctor said,
and I tried to speak.
My mother tongue is Taiwanese, and
only my wife and eldest son understood it. But when I spoke to them, they
couldn’t understand me. I wasn’t lucky. I was like most people, unable to speak
I remembered at that moment that a
church member once said that determination is very important after a stroke or
brain injury. So I was very determined to speak and kept trying, but no one
could understand. So my wife suggested that I try to write what I wanted to say
since I was trying so hard to speak. She gave me a piece of paper and a pen,
and I told myself that this was the time to rely on my determination.
I tried very hard to write, using
my left hand since my right hand was paralyzed. When I looked at my wife after
I finished writing, I saw that there were tears in her eyes. I knew that
something was wrong. Yet my wife told me, “You wrote very well.”
The part of my brain that
controlled speech and language was damaged, so I couldn’t speak or write, and
my right side was completely paralyzed. But I could still understand what
people said to me.
I was very happy despite not being
able to speak or move the right side of my body. I was happy because I wouldn’t
be able to carry out my responsibilities as a preacher anymore, and, therefore,
the chance that I would lose my salvation was greatly diminished.
Don’t get me wrong; I have always
wanted to be a preacher—even as early as junior high. And receiving the Holy
Spirit at that young age strengthened my hope of serving God in this capacity.
After I became a preacher,
however, I started to worry that I would not be able to complete my work as a
preacher. I heard stories of elders and preachers encountering many trials and
temptations, and I learned that some were not able to continue being ministers.
I worried that I would lose my salvation in the course of my work as a preacher
because of trials or temptations.
Even so, I enjoyed being a
preacher and thanked God for allowing my life to go so smoothly. But now, I
believed that I had completed the work that had been entrusted to me as a
preacher, and I felt a great freedom in this.
During my family’s visit, I
continued to pray in the spirit, which concerned the nurse. My wife reassured
her that I was just praying.
Since I was in the ICU, my family
couldn’t stay long. My wife later told me that when they prayed with me before
they left, I was able to say “hallelujah,” but, no matter how much they tried
to teach me and help me, I could not properly say “amen.” After thirty minutes,
they went home.
TALKING TO THE HEAVENLY FATHER
After my family left at 6 pm, I
prayed in tongues and spoke to my heavenly Father in the spirit. Even though I
couldn’t speak, I could still say “hallelujah” and my tongue was unchanged when
I prayed in the spirit.
I had never been so happy before
in my life—I felt free, like I had been released, and also because I could now
pray and speak to the heavenly Father.
I talked to the heavenly Father
from 6 pm to 9 pm. I didn’t see God or hear an actual voice, but I experienced
everything in the spirit. I spoke to Him in tongues, and it felt like He was
right next to me. I was so happy that I shed many tears while I was praying.
As I continued to pray and speak
to God, I suddenly felt very small, like I had become a child. I said, “Abba,
Father, can I sing a song for you?” He said, “Yes.” I told Him, “Abba, I can’t
speak, but I can say ‘hallelujah,’ so I will sing hymn number 3 [“Hallelujah,
Praise the True God”]. I can’t say the other words, but at least I can say
So I sang this hymn to God and
spoke to Him at the same time. I sang and shed tears because I was so moved by
the experience, it was so beautiful. I did not ask God to heal me because I
forgot at the time that I was partially paralyzed and could not speak.
Furthermore, I felt that I was actually doing pretty well and was happy that I
had completed my duty as a preacher.
I continued to pray and sing from
9 pm to 12 am. Then I told God, “Abba, I keep singing the same hymn, one that I
learned as a child. Do you feel bored?” And He said, “Well, why don’t you sing
another one, then?” I thought of all the songs that I could remember learning
in church and started singing all of them, whether in Mandarin, Taiwanese,
English, or German. I sang until 3 am.
At 3 am the nurse came into my
room again, and, since I needed to ask her for something, I thought, “I’ve been
singing for a long time, maybe I can speak now.” So I tried to talk to her. She
was shocked. I could tell from her expression that she was more surprised than
I was that I could speak.
The nurse had been in and out of
my room the entire night, during which I had been praying in tongues, singing,
and crying. She knew that I had been unable to speak for several days already.
And then suddenly, I was able to speak to her and she could understand me.
From that moment on, I was
completely healed and was back to my normal self, just as I am now. When I
realized that I had recovered, I was mischievous and said, “Abba, can I really
speak now? How about I try memorizing Revelation 1:1?” I taught Greek at the
theological seminary in Taiwan, so I tried reciting the verse in Greek. I could
do it. And then I tried memorizing Genesis 1:1 in Hebrew, and I was able to do
it as well. Then, I fell asleep.
BACK AT HOME
I stayed in the hospital for over
a week after the surgery. During this time, I did not undergo any type of
therapy because I was completely healed—I could walk, talk, and write. Due to
an infection I acquired at the hospital, I was isolated in my own room and all
visitors had to wear gowns, masks, and gloves. My wife and I got to spend a lot
of time together and experience another honeymoon because of this.
On Friday, May 29, a week after my
last surgery, I had another CT scan on my brain. I was discharged two days
later, on Sunday, May 31. Strangely, the doctor didn’t come by to see me or speak
to me. He had taken a lot of time to explain my condition after my initial
surgery on May 15. However, on Sunday the nurse just told me that I could go
home, so I left.
The first thing I did at home was
to call my family in Taiwan and let them know that I was back home and
completely healed. When I spoke to my mother and my brother, I could tell that
something was wrong. They told me that my father had gone missing.
I prayed for my father and felt a
lot of pain because he had been in good health and we didn’t know what happened
to him. Three days later, they found my father; he had been called back to the
Lord. He was eighty years old. Thank God, my mother received a lot of comfort
during this time through miracles and God’s guidance.
My father’s memorial service was
scheduled to be held two weeks later. I told my wife that we had to take time
off and go back to Taiwan. My wife didn’t oppose me and just said, “Yes, we
should all go back. But why don’t we ask the doctor first?”
When the doctor spoke to us on the
phone, he was quite stern. He said, “I understand how you feel. My father also
passed away recently. But don’t forget, if you get on the plane, you won’t be
able to get off. You may not be afraid to die, but don’t affect the other
passengers. If you die during the flight, it causes trouble because the plane
will have to make an emergency landing or fly for several hours with a dead
body. No one will be able to save you on the plane.”
After hearing this, I came to a
realization and decided not to go. I sent my wife and my oldest son to attend
the memorial service in Taiwan and represent me and my children.
On July 6, a few days after my
wife and son returned from Taiwan, I went for my first checkup after my
discharge from the hospital. They took a CT scan of my brain, and it showed no
abnormalities or damage. The doctor told me that I was completely healed.
He gave me copies of all of the
scans taken during my hospitalization, and, after seeing them, I understood why
he hadn’t come to see me when I was discharged on May 31. The scans taken on
May 29 showed that my brain was still damaged, that the “blood cake” was still
there. Yet, I appeared to be completely healed—I could talk, and my right side
was no longer paralyzed. I was discharged from the hospital without a visit
from the doctor because he wasn’t able to explain what happened.
My wife had collected and
organized a list of questions to ask the doctor at this checkup. There were
three major categories of questions: 1) How did this
illness occur? 2) How did you treat the illness? 3) How can we prevent this
from happening again? There were many other questions under each category.
As we went through the list of
questions, the doctor didn’t really listen. Afterward, he told us three things:
1. Accept the illness as a fact. I told him that I enjoyed my
illness because it gave me the opportunity to be close to my wife and my
Creator. On earth, there is nothing better than this, so I was very thankful
that I became ill.
2. We don’t know the cause of your illness. The doctor told me that
he saw many patients every year with similar cases of brain hemorrhage,
typically caused by traumatic head injuries in car crashes. When he saw me
initially in May, he had assumed that I had also sustained such an injury.
However, I had recovered and was cleared to go home on May 19 when 25% of my
brain was suddenly damaged, so it wasn’t possible that I had sustained a traumatic
head injury. The doctors did not know what had happened.
3. We didn’t do anything to cure you. He said, “Your head gave us
many headaches. Within seven days you had three operations. We removed part of
your skull and looked at the brain in the last two operations. This was a last
resort because there was nothing we could do. Your brain was still damaged when
you were discharged, so we did nothing to cure you. From April to May, your
condition deteriorated, but it was suddenly and mysteriously cured. We didn’t
The doctor hadn’t addressed our
questions about prevention, and my wife was unwilling to leave without getting
his advice. So she asked him what we should do to prevent this from happening
He became angry, stood up behind
his desk, and said, “Mrs. Ko, I already told you. We
admit that we don’t know how the illness came about. Furthermore, we admit that
we didn’t do anything to heal your husband. How would I know what you should do
to prevent it?”
I whispered to my wife, “Let’s go home,
he’s angry now, we don’t need to ask him anymore.” I thought that if I were the
doctor, I would have said, “You should get plenty of rest and drink plenty of
water. Don’t lift anything heavy but take some walks. Eat nutritious food,
nothing salty or oily.” But the doctor was very frank in his response.
The doctor asked if I needed to
take medical leave, so my wife asked when I could start working again. He said
I could go back to work in four weeks, on August 9. My wife was surprised that
it was so soon, thinking that I would need to take six months to recover. The
doctor said, “He’s only flying to Taiwan, that’s no problem; he could even fly
to the North or South Pole.”
August 9 was the first day of the
new semester of the theological school in Taiwan. My wife and brother didn’t
think I was ready to go back to work, but, since the doctor said I was fine, I
went back to Taiwan in August. I resumed my full-time duties, and I’ve been
working ever since.
I really thank God for all that has happened.
But now I need the intercession of brothers and sisters even more. Why? Because
the rough period has passed. In less developed areas, Satan will use less
sophisticated methods to disturb and tempt people, such as demon possession.
In the western world, Satan works
on us from the inside, not the outside. He uses civilized methods and illnesses
to control our thoughts and actions. Therefore, we need to pray even more and
be watchful. The rough period has passed, but there will be more trials to
Ever since 3 am on May 23, 2009,
after I prayed and sang hymns all night to the heavenly Father, I have been
completely cured. When I was sick, I thought that I had completed my
responsibilities, but, after I was healed, I restarted my work. I thank God for
His grace, but I need continual prayer in my life of worship and service to
I thank God, and I thank all of
you for your intercession and concern.