By Lee Strobel. Look for his new book, The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates the Evidence, 2018.
Duane Miller’s greatest enjoyment came from preaching at his small church and singing songs of worship. It wasn’t just his livelihood to lead a Baptist congregation in Brenham, Texas; it was his passion, his calling, and his source of joy and satisfaction.
When he awoke with the flu one Sunday morning, his throat was like sandpaper and his voice would “catch” on words. Each syllable was painful to speak. The flu soon disappeared, but his windpipe remained ablaze and his voice reduced to a raspy whisper. His throat felt constricted, as if someone were choking him.
For all practical purposes, Miller’s voice was gone. No longer able to preach, he resigned from his pastorate. He eventually landed a government job researching records—a position he then lost because his inability to speak meant he couldn’t testify in court about his findings. Insurance stopped covering his treatments, and he faced thousands of dollars in medical bills.
“For the first time in my life, I felt utterly useless. My income, my future, my health, my sense of well-being, all were suddenly beyond my control. It was a terrifying and humbling experience,” he said.
Over three years, he was examined by sixty-three physicians. His case was even scrutinized by a Swiss symposium of the world’s leading throat specialists. The diagnosis: the flu virus destroyed the nerves of his vocal cords, rendering them limp. When Miller asked about his prognosis for recovery, a doctor told him, “Zero.”
Despite Miller’s protestations, his former Sunday school class at First Baptist Church of Houston prevailed on him to speak. A special microphone was used to amplify Miller’s soft, hoarse, croaky voice—and the class agreed to endure the grating sound because of their love for him and his teaching.
Ironically, his text was Psalm 103, where the third verse reads, God “heals all your diseases.” Miller said later, “With my tongue, I was saying, ‘I still believe that God heals,’ but in my heart, I was screaming, ‘But why not me, Lord?’ ”
He went on to the next verse, which says the Lord “redeems your life from the pit.” He told the class, “I have had and you have had in times past pit experiences.”
As soon as he said the word pit, the choking sensation disappeared. “Now, for the first time in three years, I could breathe freely,” he recalled. “I heard a gasp from the crowd, and that’s when I, too, realized my voice had come back. I could hear myself!”
His stunned audience began to clap and cheer, shout and laugh; his wife, Joylene, broke down in tears. “I don’t understand this right now,” Miller stammered—with a fresh, new voice.
The dramatic moment of Miller’s recovery had been captured on audiotape, which went viral. Subsequent doctor examinations showed his throat looks like it never had any problems; in fact, against all odds, even the scar tissue has disappeared.
Said one physician, “Even if I could explain how you got your voice back by coincidence—which I can’t—I could never explain what happened to the scar tissue.”
Today, Miller is pastor of Pinnacle Church, serving the Cedar Creek Lake area of Texas. Ironically, he also hosts a daily program on a Dallas radio station—yes, using his voice to tell others about the God who he is convinced still performs miracles.
“You see, God didn’t just restore my life,” he said. “He amplified it.”
At his website (http://www.nuvoice.org/about-us.html), you can listen to the tape of when his voice came back. Then ask, “Is this a supernatural act of God? Or is it better explained as some sort of spontaneous remission that only coincidentally occurred while he was quoting the Bible on healing?”
Psalm 103:1-5 — Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 147:3 — He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
I Corinthians 15:43 — Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength.
Have compassion on me, LORD, for I am weak. Heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony.