This article was written by Emmy Duddles, the managing editor of Alliance Life, and was originally published on The Alliance website.
“Do you want to hear a miracle story?” Di Ullrich asked me as we sat down to talk about her ministry with CAMA Services in the Balkans. I leaned forward, eager to hear what she would tell me next.
In 2021, Di was hospitalized with COVID. The hospitals were so overrun that each room was packed full of patients, and Di was so close to the women on either side of her that she could easily reach out and touch them.
At the same time, the room was crowded with friends and family members. Nurses don’t take care of the day to day needs of their patients, so family members are expected to come along to bathe them, take them to the bathroom, change catheters, etc. Because Di doesn’t have any family living in the country with her, the students from the school where she teaches as an occupational therapist took turns taking care of her.
When Di had been in the hospital for more than two weeks, a woman two beds down to Di’s left, Maria,* passed away. Her sons were crying over her, and the older son took a napkin to cover his mother’s face. Di clearly heard the voice of the Lord say, “I want you to pray for Maria.” She thought, We don’t pray for the dead, so the only reason to pray would be for God to resurrect her.
Now, Di had double pneumonia, so she could barely speak. But she mustered up her strength and asked in a hoarse voice, “Excuse me, I want to pray for your mom. Can I have your permission?”
When the son agreed, the voice of the Spirit came, and Di spoke God’s love and life over Maria and her family, telling them how much He cares for them and the desires of their hearts. As soon as Di finished, Maria sat up and started talking. Her sons ran to her side and rejoiced.
Di doesn’t remember which student was with her that day, but she does remember saying to them:
I want you to remember what you’ve seen. God is alive, He is close, and He cares. He still does miracles today. He still heals today. When you are struggling with something, I want you to remember this and go straight to Him.
A few days later, the woman between Di and Maria, Helga,* died. Her daughter and daughter-in-law were trying to get her to respond, but she was completely unresponsive. Once they realized Helga wasn’t breathing anymore, they wept. Again, the Lord said to Di, “I want you to pray for her.”
Di reached over to the daughter and said, “Excuse me, I want to pray for your mom. Can I have your permission?”
The daughter said yes, so Di put her hand on Helga and prayed the same prayer she prayed over Maria. As soon as Di prayed that Helga’s eyes would open and that she would start speaking, Helga woke up and spoke. Her family rejoiced.
When we hear stories about the miraculous, it’s easy to be taken aback, surprised that God would do something so outrageous, like raising two women back from the dead. Di says:
It’s sad to me that when we pray, we’re not praying with the belief that what we’re praying for is actually going to happen. We’re always praying, “Lord, if it is Your will,” or “Lord, will You please?” But the Book of Acts still applies today. Instead, we should be praying, “Lord, show us who You are. I am partnering with You because I know You can do this. You have brought people back from the dead throughout history, and I know You can do it again.”
Who Are We to Disobey?
Maria progressively got better every day. Every time someone came into the room, the oldest son would point to Di and say, “That’s the American who prayed for my mom, and God brought her back to life!”
“He was declaring God’s glory to everyone who would listen,” Di says. Maria eventually returned to her life in good health only one day after Di was released from the hospital.
Helga, on the other hand, had been very sick. They were taking her out for dialysis every day, and she was in so much pain. A few days after Helga came back to life, she passed away again. Di thought, Lord, why did You keep one alive and not the other? All You did was bring breath back to her. Her quality of life was so poor. Why?
Di felt God respond immediately, “Your job is just to be obedient to what I’m asking you to do. All of the results are up to Me.”
Sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we expect Him to—an illness lingers longer than it’s meant to; a family member dies after a hard-fought battle with cancer; a company lays off its workers right after a prayer for better financial health. The results don’t always seem to match what we know is true about God’s heart for us. However, He knows the whole story—the wisdom we will receive, the love and compassion we will give, and the lives that will be changed forever.
“If God wants to reveal Himself and meet people on their journey through me, then who am I to disobey?” Di says.
When we are met with difficult outcomes to our prayers, may we trust that God’s purpose in those moments is still to bring reconciliation and redemption to our world. May we believe that when we ask in faith, He will rescue the oppressed, heal the sick, give sight to the blind, and raise the dead to life.