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A whistle and the power of God

It was almost midnight, on March 26, 1998 when I joined the Tamura family in their living room with their beloved son, Akihisa, sitting in a wheelchair. The former outgoing, confident college student was nowhere to be seen. Akihisa had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor over a year earlier and now it felt like a stranger had taken his place.

Before us slumped a seemingly unknown intruder with a bloated, expressionless face, attached to lifeless legs and arms, possessing a voice that was all but silenced. Yet, despite these physical signs that Akihisa’s body was progressively shutting down, there was evidence of other signs of life that had started to flicker in recent weeks.

Mrs. Tamura kneeled directly in front of her son where he could hazily see her through the one eye not yet paralyzed and said, “Akihisa, when you are alone and want to call Mama, what do you do?”

Akihisa fumbled with what strength remained in one arm to grasp the whistle tied around his neck. After a struggle he put it to his mouth and feebly blew into it.

“That’s good Akihisa,” encouraged his mom. “But there are many things Mama can’t do for you that only Jesus can, as we’ve been reading about every day in the Bible. Do you want him to help you?” she asked.

Time almost seemed to stand still for all of us quietly observing this unfolding miracle as Akihisa slowly nodded his head in confirmation. Mrs. Tamura continued: “Can you show us how you would ask Jesus for help?”

Again, Akihisa awkwardly fumbled for the whistle and this time blew three distinctive blasts which sounded sweeter than any song a choir of angels could ever produce. Not a dry eye remained as we witnessed the power and mercy of God in those quiet moments.

Death and life were dramatically contrasted with each other that night as we celebrated the amazing, unconditional gift of life in the face of impending death. The following Sunday evening a small group of us gathered again in the Tamura home to witness Akihisa’s baptism and take communion with him. Akihisa was especially alert that evening, reaffirming his earlier profession of faith as he whispered a distinct “amen” and even hummed a hymn with us.

Just a few days later he slipped into unconsciousness and then entered into his Heavenly Father’s presence by the end of the week.

Although this event took place almost twenty years ago, I have never forgotten that the Gospel is indeed available to all and that God in his infinite mercy will respond to even a whistle.

By Mike McGinty

Will you pray for Japan?

  • Pray for those in Japan who are sick or disabled, that they too will hear the gospel.
  • Pray that all Christians would remember that the Gospel is open to all.
  • Pray for Christian parents in Japan, that they will be faithful in teaching their children about God and living a life of faith.

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