This story happened to a son of a good friend of mine. She is still shocked by the clear evidence of God’s Providence in these events.
My friend – I’ll call her Olya – has come to the faith recently. She started reading about Orthodoxy and told her son Yura about it. He received what she read to him very well and even asked follow-up questions. It seemed that he believed what he was told but he doubted the necessity of going to church and fasting for days on end. In addition… something was left unsaid. Yura visited his mother regularly. He would help her with household chores and then go back to his college dormitory. She liked it, but I felt that there was something eerie going on with Yura.
One morning, my sleep was interrupted by a phone call. It was Olya who told me in a shaky voice that her son had just been terribly beaten up in the street. He had a severe concussion and a fracture of the skull base and a jaw. He managed to crawl to his dormitory and immediately passed out. In spite of doctors’ pessimistic predictions, Yura came around eventually. He had a surgery.
She could not fathom why God had allowed that to happen with her son. Yura was a believer, wasn’t he? Soon, she discovered that he had been seized by awful vices while he was in the dormitory. He literally went to the bad, as they say. He even practiced magic. It was a sheer shock! Most importantly, the unfortunate event was no longer meaningless: we realized what this accident was meant to teach him.
Yura couldn’t chew anything after the surgery. They fed him through a pipe for exactly 40 days; this way, he received nutrients but he couldn’t taste the food.
While he was in hospital, he reconsidered his life and then asked his mom to invite a priest to hear his confession. As soon as he recovered, he went to Kiev Caves Lavra with his mom. He decided to take communion there. He talked with the monks and bought some books from a church shop. When he recalled those weeks in hospital, he said, “It was God who saved me by that forty days long fast that I had to endure!” Indeed, he became a completely different person once he got discharged from the hospital.
Translated by the Catalog of Good Deeds