24 July 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
A fearless man, Liew Ah Onn was a resolute and dictatorial man who built an aggressive construction and development firm that claimed many glorious days. Spending many late nights smoking, drinking, and entertaining clients (much to his wife’s distress), Liew was enjoying the peak of his career.
So, who would have thought that death would come knocking on his door?
In the year 1998, Liew died in a diving accident in Pulau Tioman.
Descending 70-feet with 13 other people, he noticed his dive meter was flickering. This could only mean that it was unstable. But when he called the dive master to look at his meter, it was stable and did not flicker!
Unsure and confused why the meter didn’t flicker, he intently stared at it to check for flickering-signs. Meanwhile, his whole group including his dive buddy descended another 10 feet, leaving him all alone.
Suddenly, when Liew took his next breath, there was no air and he sucked in water instead. Attempting the second breath, it was water again. Liew began to panic and he turned to search for his group frantically but they were very far away, at a deeper end.
Time was running out and Liew had to decide…
He had to decide whether to swim towards his group or head up to the surface. The latter option is dangerous because the sudden change in pressure during a quick ascend may puncture his lungs.
But in a state of panic and confusion, Liew decided to release his weights from his belt and headed up to the surface.
Pushing his way upward while attempting to breathe in vain, he knew he was going to die. At that moment, a ‘video’ played in his mind. This video did not show his car, properties, and business but it was a video about his relationships. He saw the time he had together with his wife, his children, his siblings…
He knew he was going to die.
When he broke into the surface, Liew still could not breathe because his lungs were already filled with water.
While staying afloat, Liew looked out for the dive boat but it was nowhere to be seen. He was in total confusion! But moments before he passed out, he heard his diving buddy who just broke into the surface calling out for him.
The boat stayed for a while to gather all the divers into the boat, while Liew lied on the boat like a dead fish. As the boat sped to the shore, the two doctors who were diving with him in that dive trip did whatever they could to resuscitate him.
But it was too late. Twenty minutes before the boat reached the shore, the doctors gave up and pronounced Liew dead, unknown to his wife who was still waiting for him in the chalet.
Everyone in the boat was solemn, devoid of hope. No Christians were onboard on that day, but a couple who were Liew’s close friends in the neighborhood did a remarkable thing.
The wife of this couple, a staunch person of another faith and a vegetarian could not imagine telling Liew’s wife that her husband was dead. She knelt down and prayed intensively for Liew in his ears in her ways then. Guess what happened? Nothing.
She suddenly remembered her mother with Christian faith who has always invited her to church, but she never went as her other faith was very strong. However, she remembered her mother telling her to pray to Jesus when in desperation and when all else fails.
Minutes before the boat docked, out of sheer desperation, she decided to take her mother’s advice. She went down on her knees and prayed into Liew’s ears “Jesus, my mother said you are the real God. Show me that you are God, bring this man back to life. I pray this in Jesus’ name.” She tried her best to pray according to what she heard from her mother who said grace before meals.
Just when the boat was about to touch the beach, her husband (who was assigned to inform Liew’s wife in the chalet) could not hold himself any longer and he quickly jumped out of the boat and ran to the chalet to inform Liew’s wife. But a miracle happened before everyone’s eyes! Liew came back to life!
Though his eyes were close, Liew could hear a ruckus from the boat. Everyone was shocked to see him coming back to life.
Hence, with three doctors—the two doctors onboard and a Singaporean doctor who was awaiting him at the beach—Liew was rushed to the local island clinic with the three doctors attending to him with the very basic facilities there. In a semi-conscious state, Liew could hear from the doctors that his blood pressure and pulse rate were dropping. That was a dangerous sign of a potential second heart attack. The doctors decided that Liew should be sent to the mainland hospital in Mersing, in case there was a second attack.
After a one-hour boat ride, Liew was checked into the Mersing Hospital ICU at 8 PM, and by 10:30 PM, he was already stable and the doctors moved him into a normal ward. The next morning, he recovered so well that he even went for an early morning walk. There were no scratches on his body. He was in fact, abnormally normal.
Liew went to chat with the doctor who attended to him. He asked the doctor how many of the divers in his condition survived the accident. The doctor replied that most of the divers unfortunately died. And personally, he had never seen any diver surviving an accident like Liew.
Suddenly, revelations started coming into Liew. He recalled floating through a dark tunnel towards a light source. It was a different realm altogether and eerily quiet. He did not see anyone there. This happened before he came back to life in the boat.
After that, Liew began his quest to seek who God is in different faiths.
In that same year of the accident as well, Liew was facing a huge economic crisis, which affected his company. Hence, to keep his company afloat, he invited an investor who happened to be a Christian to be his partner. His partner then invited Liew to church.
Thinking that no harm could come from visiting another house of faith, Liew agreed to go with his partner.
On that Sunday morning, when he stepped into the church during worship, Liew began to weep uncontrollably. He did not understand why but he could feel a tangible presence of peace.
Hence, week after week, Liew kept returning and attending the church service without invitation. Revelations kept coming from God. Liew knew that the feeling he experienced in the church is not a feeling he experienced in other places. He knew in his heart that he was very close to God, the Father.
And so, after three to four months of attending church, Liew accepted Christ who touched his heart.
His friend’s wife who prayed for him came to know about his acceptance. She began to ask him whether he heard her praying for him on the boat. After all, she was a strong believer of another faith.
Putting her in his heart to share the gospel, Liew invited her friend and husband to visit his home who was hosting a Nigerian pastor, three months after he accepted Christ.
The Lord touched her heart and she cried throughout the worship. At the end of the worship, the pastor shared with her about the gospel, in which she cried as well as when she heard the gospel.
Hence, on that night itself, she gave her life to Jesus Christ! And some years later, her husband also followed to accept Christ, moving from running a conglomerate to becoming a pastor in Auckland, New Zealand. Praise the Lord!
Today, Liew is a different man altogether. Although he is still very firm, Liew values and considers other people’s input and compromises himself for the sake of fulfilling other people’s needs. Also, Liew no longer smokes, drinks, and indulges in unnecessary entertainment but he is spending more time with his family now earned by joining venture with other shareholders. Spending time with his family and serving God are his top priorities now. What a different man!
Although Liew’s rising from the death is a miracle, what makes his experience more amazing is how he transformed from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive. Before Liew accepted Christ, Liew was dead in his transgressions (Col 2:13). But after he knew and accepted Christ, all of his sins are cancelled at the cross. Because of that, Liew became spiritually alive in Christ! (Col 2:13-15) Hallelujah! Not only Liew was raised physically from the dead, his spirit was also made alive in Christ so that he would receive eternal life in Heaven. Now, that is a double miracle!
When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He (Jesus Christ) made you alive together with Him (Jesus Christ), having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He (Jesus Christ) has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He (Jesus Christ) had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He (Jesus Christ) made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him (Jesus Christ). (Col 2:13-15)
“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:24)
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Cor 5:17)
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