But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
(Luke 18:27, NKJV)
A miracle occurred at the Okinawa Adventist Medical Center in Okinawa, Japan. On February 16, 1993, the Magleby Maersk, a Danish merchant ship, was streaming between Okinawa and Taiwan when its captain suddenly became severely ill. He was rushed to our “American” hospital in Okinawa, where he arrived in shock, delirious, and with severe abdominal pain. His pulse was barely palpable; blood pressure registered 60/0. Tests revealed significant problems, including fluid in the abdominal cavity and a 5 cm tear in the lower bowel. His condition appeared to be caused by fecal spillage, foul discharge, and severe infection.
The captain was rushed into surgery, where the bowel was repaired and the abdominal cavity was copiously irrigated and closed. But postoperatively, the patient developed additional complications– including a spiking fever and low blood pressure– despite the large amounts of intravenous fluid replacement.
Within a day or two, his condition worsened. He had multiple organ failures. His blood platelet count dropped to 14,000/µl (normal: 120,000-350,000/µl). He also developed adult respiratory distress syndrome. Chest x-rays revealed the rapid spread of splotches on his lungs. Even on 100 percent oxygen administration, his blood-oxygen saturation was low. (A patient with his combination of symptoms presents less than a 50-50 chance of living.) Several times his heart stopped; he had to be resuscitated.
Men’s extremity is God’s opportunity. I called our hospital staff together, and we had a solemn season of prayer for Captain Henrick Solmer. We pleaded with God for His divine intervention. Our Great Physician heard our prayers and took over the case. The patient’s condition began to improve. His platelet count rose. His blood-oxygen saturation improved. He regained some consciousness and his fever began to subside. Day by day, he got better. Truly God was performing a miracle before our eyes! His wife, who had flown in, and the ship owner’s wife who accompanied her, both rejoiced.
As Captain Solmer began to improve, I had several opportunities to talk to him about God and His miraculous healing power. The captain mentioned that when he was young, his grandfather had read to him from the Bible; but for the past twenty-five years he had not given much thought to things spiritual. As he learned of the miracle God had performed in saving him from death, he resolved to know God better.
The doctor, nurses, and the entire staff of the hospital showered Captain Solmer with tender, loving care and followed his progress with deep interest. When it was time for his discharge, a farewell party was given on his behalf with speeches, good food, and gifts. And, as he departed down the hospital stairs, there were many hugs and tears of joy. It was a marvel to see what God had wrought. Here was a man brought to our hospital near death, and that glorious morning he was walking out on his own!
After a month or two of recuperation at his home in Denmark, he was once again on the high seas, captaining the world’s largest sailing vessel, a completely computerized ship. Then, a year later, we had the privilege of meeting him again on my annual leave, when his ship docked at Long Beach, California. We rejoiced to see him looking so robust–a testimony to God’s miraculous power to save!
– James S. Miyashiro, LLUSM class of 1961