Back from the Dead

A testimony to the fact that miracles happen today.

By Dr Philip Lyn

God warns us

August 26th 2002. This was the day the Lyn family’s life changed. At morning devotion, God dropped the words of Ps 118:17 into my wife Nancy’s heart and mine. It read: “I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord”. It was to prove a critical verse for prying open the doors of faith for us later in the day.

The call

At 3.50 pm, I was in my clinic and received an urgent call from my son, Andrew who virtually shrieked into the phone “Dad! Dad! Come quick, Sarah’s dying! She’s dying!” Sarah was our four-year old daughter. After quickly ascertaining from him where she was, I dashed out of the clinic and my nurse drove me to the house of Freida, the violin teacher. When I arrived Sarah was unconscious on the grass in the backyard of the house, a dark (rope) mark round her neck. Her face was dark bluish and she had dark spots round her eyes

Apparently Frieda had discovered Sarah lifeless and hanging from her neck by a nylon clothes line rope at the back of the house around 3.45pm. She had been playing with Freida’s 3 year old daughter Magdalene before and must have climbed up on a stool to play with a noosed-rope left dangling down from the clothes line. She probably got her head accidentally caught in the noose, and in panic toppled the stool and strangulated. Sarah has no memory of the event. Magdalene tried to alert her mum who was in the house tutoring our 11 year old son Andrew on the violin. The little girl had limited vocabulary and so was unable to communicate the crisis to her mother. She was shooed away by Frieda only to return and yank her mum’s hand hard again. Valuable time had ticked by, in all probably six to seven minutes… Frieda finally sensed something amiss and walked to the backyard to check. She found to her horror a lifeless Sarah hanging like a rag doll from a clothes line rope

She screamed in horror. When brought down, Sarah’s face was “dark blue. She was motionless, with no breath nor pulse nor heartbeat. The pupils of her eyes were fixed and dilated in the hot sun. Sarah was clinically dead. Frieda cried out to the Lord, shouted for her husband to come and help with CPR. That was when Andrew rang me. After many minutes of desperate resuscitation effort, when hope was almost gone, Sarah suddenly choked and began struggling with some breaths. There was life! When I arrived some fifteen minutes later, her face was still dark blue, her body was bathed in a cold sweat, and there was hardly any breath and discernible pulse. Worst of all, her contorted body and limb postures indicated to me that she had severe brain damage of her higher intellectual functions.

The Spirit of Death

For a moment, every bit of me wanted me to throw myself on her and weep. I cried out to God and spoke directly to Sarah: “Sarah, you shall live, you shall not die! Jesus heals you and gives you life!” Then I rebuked the spirit of death and continued further with CPR as best as I could. As she stabilised, I scooped her into my arms and ran to the car. The ambulance hadn’t arrived yet! Frieda’s husband drove us to the hospital. All along the seemingly unending journey to the Medical Center, I cried out to God for Sarah’s life speaking words of endearment to her. She was in a coma and totally unresponsive.

 His promise  

My medical colleagues were waiting in the emergency room when I carried Sarah’s frail body in. But I knew the damage to the brain had been done. Shortly afterwards Nancy arrived. As Nancy and I waited in the darkened CT scan room for her brain scan results we squeezed each other’s hands and whispered the words the Lord had given us that morning. They were now a promise of floodtide proportions to us: “I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord!” Sarah was still in a coma. But even at that stage we believed by faith that God would restore her to us whole. There was now little else that we could do except to pray as the doctors took over.

More prayer

Friends, church members, church leaders and pastors started pouring in to visit. The news had spread like wildfire. Many looked stunned, few knew what to say. They saw the pain on our faces and wept with us. We managed to thank everyone who came and asked them to pray. Many did, forming spontaneous prayer groups outside the ward and in the visitors’ area, holding hands and praying fervently. Many came and prayed over Sarah in her bed including a whole group of children (her friends) who came to lay hands on her. Pastors from other churches dropped by to comfort us and pray for Sarah. This helped to grow our faith so much.

The rest of the family came to visit later including my mum and dad. Both our eldest daughter Frances and our son Andrew were devastated but we told them to pray in faith with us at this critical time. Nancy had her head on the bed the whole time, crying to the Lord as she held Sarah’s still hand, pleading silently with tears. Later she had to drive home to collect some personal items for the night. In the car, she was barely able to see the road for her tears and the heavy rain. In that moment, the Lord spoke to her that He would heal Sarah not because we were pastors or more righteous than anyone else but because He loved us. As she wept, she began to worship as his presence flooded the car. It was turning point.

Alive but   

By midnight, everyone had left. It was just Nancy and I and our dear friend Pastor Lam. All over the city, prayer chains were started. We knew by then that Sarah would live but her brain damage was probably permanent. I was very concerned about this. The suddenly at midnight, Sarah broke out of her come, opened her eyes and cried for her mum. Nancy hugged her but her stare remained vacant. When asked to “kiss mummy” she had to feel for Nancy’s face. In that awful moment I realized she couldn’t see. I did a few quick medical tests and they indeed confirmed she was clinically blind. Oxygen deprivation had probably permanently damaged the visual part of her brain. We were devastated. Sarah then lapsed back into a deep sleep

At dawn

By 3 am I dropped off to sleep from tiredness. Nancy and Pastor Lam continued to intercede. In those few minutes God gave me a dream of Sarah. I saw her awake, holding up her hands and counting her fingers up to eleven. I awoke excited only to realize it had been a dream. But God was out to surprise me! Shortly after, an incredible sequence of events unfolded in rapid succession. Sarah awoke again at precisely 3.45 am, twelve hours after being found lifeless on the rope. Fully alert now she pointed to a clock on the wall. She could see! I told her it was four o’clock. “Four?” she asked and then held up her hands in exactly the same way I had seen in the dream as she counted: “1,2,3,4… continuing to eleven. I broke down and wept.

In that one moment God had restored everything: her sight, her intellect, her brain. She read a book to us. She talked animatedly. Then she sang: “Jesus loves me this I know” among a couple of other songs. It was a sacred moment. We were totally in awe. Pastor Lam who was the only other witness to the miracle, stole out of the room, went down to the car park and bawled his eyes out in thanksgiving. Such was the love of this dear friend for us.

 The Lord loves you

At exactly the same moment, God awakened another pastor in town from his sleep. Pastor Arthur sensed the Lord telling him to drive over to see us with a message from Him at 4 o’clock that morning! He had no idea what had happened. As he walked into the hospital room, he passed us the slip of paper on which he had written this verse: Deut 23:5 “the Lord your God has turned your curse into a blessing for you because the Lord your God loves you.” When we told him Sarah was healed, he was shocked. An awesome presence of God filled the room, we fell on our knees together with Ps Lam in worship and thanksgiving. As dawn broke, I began making calls to family, loved ones and friends with the good news that Sarah had come back from the dead and was now completely healed!


Sarah was totally healed at 3.45 am on her fourth birthday 27 August 2002. When dawn came and the news of her healing broke, visitors poured in with gifts and presents. It was an unforgettable morning of joy, laughter and tears of gratitude to God. She was discharged by lunchtime the same day to celebrate her birthday at home. She went back to school the following day with a dark rope mark round her neck. It drew considerable attention and queries from friends and teachers.

Today she is a bubbly, bright eighteen year old girl in her first year in medical school. She loves the Lord and is fully committed to serving Him in her local church in the worship ministry. She hopes that being a doctor will enable her to make a difference in helping other get a second chance at life.  end48

Dr Philip Lyn is a bi-vocational Senior Pastor of Skyline SIB Church in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and a medical specialist trained in internal medicine in Oxford. He and his wife Nancy have three children, Francis, Andrew and Sarah.

The Lyn family on Sarah’s hospital bed after the miracle. From L to R: Andrew (then 11), Frances (then 13) , Sarah (4), Nancy and Philip . Notice the rope mark around Sarah’s neck!

With friends visiting the morning after the miracle. It was Sarah’s fourth birthday and they all brought her presents!

Lyn family, Sarah on Left

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One Comment

  1. August 2016 Feedback from readers for: Issue 20 Articles about: Back from the Dead

    Dear Dr & Mrs Chong,

    Thank you for the newsletter. In this issue you published Sarah Lyn’s testimony. She is one of my daughter’s best friends. I thought I shared 2 photos with you. One was taken when my daughter travelled to KK, and Rev Lyn took them both and his son to climb the highest mountain at KK.

    The other one was taken at my house a couple of months ago. Sarah got into Medicine at Bond Uni, so my daughter held a surprised farewell party for her. Seventy youths rocked up, including FCC youths and St Hilda’s friends. She is so well loved. Praise God for fulfilling her dream of getting into medicine.

    I thought I gave you the above updates.

    April Chow

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