By Kellie Van Gilder

Just days after a tiger shark amputated her lower right arm, Tiffany Johnson was in her Concord, North Carolina, home settling in for her daily devotion.

A portion of Psalm 18 was the featured verse, but she wanted to see the entire text, so she grabbed her Bible.

As she read, tears filled her eyes. Gratitude washed over her. Nearly the entire passage paralleled her recent testimony.

I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

The pangs of death surrounded me…

The Scripture transported her back to Friday, June 2. That’s when the shark attacked her while she snorkeled with her husband James in the Bahamas. Snorkeling is something the couple first started doing eight years ago. They fell in love with it during their honeymoon in Maui, and they’ve always dreamed of one day seeing Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

This time, as part of a cruise excursion, they were exploring one of Nassau’s popular coral reefs. Tiffany was captivated by the beauty of God’s creation when she felt something bump into her.

Still underwater and breathing through her snorkel tube, she calmly turned her head to the right and locked eyes with the shark. The massive steel-gray creature floated quietly. His black beady eyes occasionally darted; his unflinching jaws clamped tightly around her arm.

Tiffany didn’t feel pain, and she didn’t panic, a response she now attributes to God giving her a “sound mind” in the midst of peril 〈 2 Timothy 1:7). A reel of her life began to flash before her eyes. Quickly the mother of three pushed those memories back down and turned her thoughts to survival. The shark thrashed, attempting to pull Tiffany further underwater.

The snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the LORD,
And cried out to my God.

Tiffany snapped the remainder of her arm loose, ditched her snorkel gear and started swimming with her left hand back toward the small boat. “Help me Jesus,” she screamed as a massive blood trail followed her. She swam and prayed and swam and prayed.

He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.
…He parted the heavens and came down;
…He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe

The Peace of the Lord

Looking back, Tiffany firmly believes God intervened, restraining her attacker as well as any predators likely lingering nearby. Experts told her these sharks hang out together. She is especially grateful when she considers her husband, detained briefly by sea sickness, jumped back in the water to help her to safety.

基督教今日報譯文

一次悠閒浪漫的珊瑚礁浮潛因鯊魚攻擊,瞬間變成悲劇。若非出於神的幫助,失去的可能不只一條手臂。在海中,她非常清楚,那是一股來自神的力量,從她裡面出來,使這個年輕媽媽有勇氣,與兇猛的惡鯊搏鬥,為自己的生命戰鬥!

只剩左臂的蒂芬妮‧強森(Tiffany Johnson)拿起聖經讀著詩篇18篇:

耶和華我的力量啊,我愛你!

耶和華是我的巖石,我的山寨,我的救主,我的神,我的磐石,我所投靠的。他是我的盾牌,是拯救我的角,是我的高臺。

我要求告當讚美的耶和華,這樣我必從仇敵手中被救出來。

曾有死亡的繩索纏繞我….

這段經文道出了蒂芬妮在2017年6月所遭遇的事。那是他與丈夫詹姆士在婚後8 年的二度蜜月,當他們的郵輪停在巴哈馬當地有著名珊瑚礁的拿騷(Nassau)浮潛,由於當時詹姆士因暈船不適,上船休息片刻,留下蒂芬妮一人獨自優游,欣賞上帝的美麗創造。

蒂芬妮說即使可以從頭來過,她也不想改變任何事情。(照片來源/Tiffany Johnson FB )

突然間,在水中的蒂芬妮感覺好像撞到甚麼東西,她轉頭查看,沒想到一頭鯊魚正咬住她的整條手臂,她仍清晰記得當時自己的尖叫聲,從呼吸管所發出的吼叫。

不過當下她並不感到疼痛,也不慌張,往事如電影快轉一樣,一幕幕映過眼簾,但是沒多久,這個3個小孩的媽瞬間從回憶中把自己拉出來,她說:「 我感到一股來自神的力量,從我的裡面爆發出來,讓我為自己的生命搏鬥。鯊魚試圖把我往下拖,我開始用力猛拉,終於牠打開嘴巴,我拉出了手背,但我的手臂一大截都不見了!」

蒂芬妮馬上丟掉她的呼吸設備,開始用左臂試圖游向郵輪。「幫助我啊,主耶穌!」她一面呼求禱告神,一面奮力游過去,在她身後拖著一片長長的血跡。

詹姆士先聽到妻子的驚叫聲,然後是求救聲,他說:「我看見她的手臂不見了,一片血肉模糊,在她四周的海水都被血染紅。我立刻跳下去,只聽見她不斷禱告。」

神賜下平安

蒂芬妮回想,她深信神絕對有介入動工,讓鯊魚或其牠掠食者不再繼續於周遭逗留,因為專家表示,鯊魚有群聚的習性。她尤其特別感恩神讓詹姆士暈船,而因此躲過危險,幫助她立刻能遠離水中的威脅。

「當我一上船,我感到有出於神,非常強烈的平安。」蒂芬妮說:「這個平安像雲一樣的感覺,緊緊包覆我,我從來未曾有過這麼具體的同在的感覺。」

遊艇上躁動慌亂不已,但是當事人蒂芬妮卻非常鎮定要求詹姆士為她取來一條毛巾,將斷肢傷口纏裹起來,她閉上雙眼,躺在丈夫腿上,口中不斷禱告,經過半小時候船終於抵達陸地。

「我不斷對聖靈禱告,求賜給我丈夫力量與勇氣,也為我的3個孩子禱告,為榮耀神而禱告。」

蒂芬妮被送進當地醫院,手術進行了4個小時,醫生告訴詹姆士,雖然血已順利止住,目前情況穩定,但是仍須儘快由美國醫療接手,因為當地醫療設備的缺乏,若不儘快處理,很可能連殘肢也留不住,或可能因感染致命。

由於醫療資源的缺乏,蒂芬妮的傷口正劇烈疼痛著,但是,回家之路在眼前看來似乎更加漫長….

因為他們這次是跟著遊輪旅行,並沒有帶著護照同行,而大使館必須等待3日後才開。另外,醫療飛行運輸的費用龐大,需要美金16,000元(約等於台幣48萬),對於他們來說非常負擔。他們已預備支付費用,夫妻仍不斷禱告,希望神能帶他們走出此次難關,並有奇蹟降臨。

禁食40天後的蒂芬妮在臉書分享詩篇34:5「凡仰望祂的便有光榮,他們的臉必不蒙羞。」(照片來源/Tiffany Johnson FB )

聽禱告的神

帶著信心的強森夫婦相信神在他們身上有特別計畫,他們再度經歷神的另一個奇蹟,他們獲得醫療空運的全額資助,24小時之內將可平安抵達北加州,且有一醫療團隊在美國醫院正等待為蒂芬妮馬上動手術。

「真的難以置信,神在我們身上行了奇妙的事,祂為我們移山,幫助我們平安回到家,我們從來未曾動搖過信念,堅信神必會幫助我們。」

整個治療與康復過程,蒂芬妮沒有任何感染,2次手術非常成功,並成功置換一條神經,使她可以使用控制義肢。

用全新的眼光看人生

蒂芬妮說即使可以從頭來過,她也不想改變任何事情。她正努力重新學習當一個「左撇子」媽媽。對於仍在學齡前的3個孩子,她只是告訴孩子因意外而失去手臂,等到孩子們更加成熟時,蒂芬妮會讓他們知道「上帝在媽媽身上所做的奇妙大事。」

蒂芬妮與詹姆士‧強森在教會認識,事奉神一直是他們最喜樂的事。(照片來源/Billy Graham Evangelist Association

神所賜下的平安也是蒂芬妮所感到神同在的一個最大確據,因為從事發起她從未有過噩夢、或有任何災後的心裡創傷。

當蒂芬妮回想這一切,深深感激神給的保護,並改變了她的生命,有機會可以榮耀神。蒂芬妮說:「我看事情的角度完全不一樣,一些雞毛蒜皮的事現在完全不會困擾我,我會抓住神給我的第二個生命,不會再浪費這個機會。」

蒂芬妮目前在教會開始帶領敬拜,並努力將神在她身上的奇妙作為分享給更多人,她說:「神完全回應我的禱告,已超過我的所求所想。」

(文章來源/Billy Graham Evangelist Association, CBN)基督教今日報