When you meet John Chandra for the first time, you will see a jovial and muscular young man who is in the prime of health. But life sometimes has an inclination to throw left curves at you, sometimes good, sometimes bad, and many of the people around us may have depths of experience that you wouldn’t know if they did not share their story.
In John’s case (which he shared with Christianity Malaysia and as an encouragement and blessing to our readers) what could have been a tragedy was transformed by God’s grace into a miraculous series of events.
Prior to 2012 and 2013, in which the happenings in this testimony took place, John was an athletic young man who never had much of a problem with health, one of the healthiest among his circle. Never would he have thought that he would undergo two near-fatal heart attacks. These heart attacks would however change his life in ways that he would never envision.
“It all happened approximately 8pm on the Tuesday, 21st February 2012,’ he shared about how the incidence started. “I was showering after going through a normal hectic day at work and play just like any other day. Suddenly, a massive shock of pain went through my heart. It felt like a thousand billion blades were tearing my flesh.
‘A cramp was also developing at the same time until I realised that the whole of my left chest from the sternum all the way to the upper back scapula, the shoulders all the way down my arms to my fingers were paralyzed. I couldn’t feel or move my fingers. I was alarmed at what was happening to me. But it did not dawn to me that I was going through man’s final enemy, a life wrenching heart attack.”
The shower was still pouring down his face as his vision blurred and he blacked out. He didn’t know how long he was unconscious, but when he came to, he just had barely enough strength to grope his way up onto the toilet seat.
Making a desperate prayer for help, the Lord in His mercy poured His energy into John’s body and 15 minutes later, the squeezing chest cramp and paralysis was gone. ‘It was like a fresh river of water, and I could feel my heart beating again.’ But now he could feel the pain as he felt his heart beating feebly like a thinly scrapped, air-punctured plastic bag trying to pump even though it was damaged.
‘The pain was excruciating and it came with every breath. I was fearful to even breathe. I prayed once more and the Lord lent me His strength to make my way to my bedroom and at least get partly dressed. I felt a pressure in my head as if someone was pressing and squeezing it in. I hardly dared to talk for fear the pain would get worse.’
As both John and his family had not encountered such a thing in their family life, John tried to conceal what had happened from his wife and his children. As he made his way downstairs into the living room, he could see his wife cooking in the kitchen and his children playing with their toy trucks. This time he had to decline his children’s call to carry them on his shoulder as it would cause him pain to even turn his head to the side.
‘I asked my wife for a heart rate monitor device to measure my heart rate and to my surprise it was 126 bpm in a seated state. My heart rate would rise to 145bpm just by turning my head to my right or my left. No wonder I felt as if my heart was bursting out so much. For the next 3 days, I did not reveal what was happening to me to my family because at this point it did not occur to me that I was going through a life threatening heart attack. But Praise be to GOD my SAVIOR who preserve me even in my stupidity,’ he related.
John only told his mother what had happened on the following Friday, 24th February and she immediately recognized the symptoms as that of myocardial infarction. At the urging of his mother and younger brother, he agreed to go to the hospital emergency.
‘I slowly went out on my motorbike amid the severe symptoms that I was undergoing.
‘By the Glorious Grace of GOD, somehow I made it to the hospital emergency in one piece. At the hospital, I was greeted by brother, friends and colleagues, who immediately raced me to the doctor there. It was 11am when the doctor came and took my vitals.
‘The results came in by 4.30pm which showed that my heart was slightly enlarged than normal on the X-RAY, the my CK hormone was on the high range on the blood test and blood pressure was high 145/86 on the Electrocardiogram ECG. My VO2 came out at 26 ml/kg/min which meant I had 10 fold risks of cardiovascular disease or heart attack.’
The doctor’s diagnosis was that the myocardial infarction was now going through a sustained angina. The doctors advised John to check in as early as possible as this was a dangerous condition and a coming heart attack could be fatal. He was advised to rest from all work and to come in for further health testing on the following Monday, 27th of February.
‘As what had actually transpired hit home, I could only give thanks to God for preserving me.’ Fatigue set in and he returned home riding pillion on his brother’s motorcycle, and went straight to bed, hoping to regain strength through a good night’s rest. ‘What happened next was not expected but I rejoiced that The LORD our GOD was always by my side during this crucial time.’ Early the next morning, Saturday 25th February 2012, the second heart attack would hit.
‘I still remembered it as clearly as the noonday. It was in the wee hours of the morning, 2am that was when I awoke suddenly with a second heart attack in progress. All the symptoms were already there. The only extra symptom was that the little strength I had earlier was quickly failing and I was fast slipping into unconsciousness.’
Exactly before he blacked out, John heard a voice as clear as day and gentle as a stream. ‘It was the LORD asking me “If you died now, how?”’
Immediately a heavy burden came upon him as he thought of all of the loved ones left behind and who was going to care for them, payments for the housing loans, car loans and all that came flooding in. He couldn’t answer and almost as immediate as the question was asked, the Lord replied and assured him that He would carry John out of this critical situation.
John shared that what happened next was something that could not be described adequately with words. ‘In a twinkling of an eye, a sudden bright light illuminated the atmosphere I was in. It was like I was outside my body, kneeling before the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. In that instant I knew all my sins that I have ever done and I asked the LORD my GOD to forgive me and HE said “I forgive you” and immediately I was forgiven and a flood of the love, joy and peace that surpasses any understanding overwhelmed me.’
He could only respond with gratitude. ‘It was beyond any earthly positive feelings that we can ever experience. I was beyond blissful with no worries or sin in HIS presence. Just pure and holy! Praise the LORD for such justification and purification.’ And then Jesus explained why he was going through this experience. It was a lesson on his dependence upon the Lord Christ.
The Lord Christ told John that He wanted this story to be shared with others as a testimony unto God’s grace and mercy unto him. This testimony was to focus on the two heart attacks and the encounter with Jesus.
‘It was to save me! I had sinned! Plain and simple. To GOD sinning by not forgiving someone or telling a little white lie is punishable by death just as the death penalty pronounced on a hard core killer criminal. There is no difference! All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of GOD! There is no one righteous! NO! Not ONE! But the Gift of GOD is Eternal LIFE through JESUS CHRIST our LORD. Amen!’
John relates that among the sin he had committed was to make a promise unto God and not to keep it. ‘If we dare to promise GOD we must do it. “Let your yes be and your no be no.” Any other than this is not from GOD. Immediately I confessed and said, “I’m sorry LORD JESUS” and HE said “I have forgiven you and I AM giving you a second chance.” Then my LORD told me certain things and events that will happen in my own family and relatives and gave me a new set of instruction that to do and I said, “YES LORD, I’ll do it.”
‘And just like that I was healed by The LORD instantly! I then opened my physical eyes and look at the wall clock which showed 4am. It felt like 10 to 15 minutes tops in GOD’s presence but in reality it was 2 hours earth time! I had died and went to heaven and met with GOD my Saviour and came back alive and healed completely! All the symptoms were gone! For the first time in 3 days I could breathe in and out without any pain at all. I was so happy that I GLORIFIED THE LORD MY GOD for HIS MERCY and GRACE upon an ungodly sinner like me.’
Immediately after the healing came, John proceeded to breathe in and out and there was no pain. Tears came streaming down his face. He started taking deeper breaths and again there was no pain. He could feel Jesus encouraging him to get up and walk and fuelling his faith. Mustering his faith wholly in Christ, John started to sit up, squat, and then stand upright, all with no pain. Taking baby steps, he started to walk.
‘I was rejoicing in the LORD and took another step, and another, and another until I was walking around the room more times than I can remember. I was overcome with so much joy in the LORD that I did not notice it was already 8am. Praising the LORD for four hours felt like and instant. Praise be to the LORD GOD again and again and forevermore. Amen and Amen! Hallelujah! GLORY TO GOD ONLY FOREVER! JESUS MY LORD GOD THANK YOU LORD!’ The Lord had healed him!
In the weeks and months to come, the Lord took John through a remarkable progress in his health rehabilitation process, and taught him further lessons on dependence on God and humility. Today John shares his testimony with all that he meets in the purpose that more would come to know of the grace, love, and power of a mighty and merciful God.
John 3:16New International Version (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,
NOTE: This article was transcribed with the help of a written testimony by John Chandra. John’s testimony is entitled ‘“Two Heart Attacks’ and Jesus’.
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