Background research was conducted into this story to determine its reliability, and it appears that Duane Miller’s healing is legitimate. It has become a widely cited “miracle” too (1). T
In 1990, Miller was serving as the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas when he contracted a flu virus (2). According to Miller: “In January, I contracted a flu virus that ultimately penetrated the mylan sheath of my vocal folds and damaged the nerve tissue beyond repair” (3). The damage of the virus on his vocal folds was significant as it permanently damaged nerve tissue. Miller sought after medical care because, as one might expect, a pastor’s voice is essential to the occupation. Over the following three years Miller says that he:
“was seen by over 63 specialists and their teams (totaling over 200 doctors) as they tried to diagnose and treat me. I had been left with a voice that sounded like the worst case of laryngitis you have ever heard, and could only make that if I screamed at the top of my lungs.”
Given his inability to speak clearly, Miller resigned from his post in 1991 saying that “Everything I had ever done to earn a living had been connected to my ability to speak and suddenly my “tool kit” was gone.” He soon moved to Houston where he and his wife took up residence. Miller’s wife stood in as the primary breadwinner for the family while he took up a role as a private investigator. This left him feeling enormously unfulfilled: “A dear friend gave me a job as a private investigator working in an area where my voice was unimportant, but I ached to do the ministry to which I had been called.”
Miller and his wife began attending Houston’s First Baptist Church and one year later he was asked to teach an adult Sunday school class (4). He declined at first, fearing that no-one would be able to understand him, but after some persistence he agreed,
“In April 1992, the teacher of the Catacombs [a Sunday School class that had first met in the basement of the church hence the name] had to take some time away for personal reasons. Our directors (a husband and wife) asked if I would fill in while a permanent replacement was sought. I protested that I was too hard to understand which was met with “we’ll listen REALLY carefully.” I have come to understand that they asked, not because I was such a profound teacher, but because they loved me and knew how desperately I needed to teach.”
But the despair and pain Miller had felt days prior overwhelmed even to the point of suicide, “Two days previous, I had sat for hours in my living room with a shotgun in my mouth and I had come to the end of myself.” He came through this and on January 17, 1993, was scheduled to teach through Psalm 103, which was the curriculum assigned from the “Bible Book Series.” But Miller says he experienced intense feelings of conflict and doubt, “I stood to teach the class of 150 or more on that morning. I had never been more emotionally drained than I was that morning. I had never had less faith than I did that morning.”
Yet the idea that through Christ’s death on the cross God had forgiven all of our sins sat well with him, “I had no problem with that discussion,” he explains. Yet when it came to the part of the sermon in which healing was at the forefront of the message Miller remembers struggling greatly, “But, when I began to talk about healing, my words were, “I still believe God heals,” while my thoughts were, “but why not me?” I moved through that discussion as honestly as I could and began my third thought: He redeems my life from the pit.” That is when Miller says the healing occurred,
“I began my discourse, “I have had, and you have had, in times past, pit experiences.” On the word, “pit,” the pressure that had been in my throat for three years was gone as if someone had removed their hand from choking me.”
Fortunately because the church recorded sermons to make them available for those not in attendance, one is able to access the YouTube recording in which Miller says the moment of healing took place (see 01:49 in the clip). Miller continues,
“I continued, startled, “We’ve all had times when our life seemed to be in a pit, in a grave, and we didn’t have an answer for the pit we find ourselves in.” While I was speaking, I was swallowing choke-free, and I’ll never forget my thought, is that what I think it is?”
Miller visited the doctors over the following days, all of whom confirmed that his voice had been fully restored, “Doctors confirmed that it was what I thought it was when I saw them the following days. My voice has been totally restored, and to quote my lead physician, “I can’t find any evidence that you ever had a voice problem”… the event was caught on tape in the most casual way. The event changed my life and has affected literally millions of people worldwide.”
Miller’s story has reached many people through his book and he also has an online ministry called Nuvoice where he speaks further about his remarkable experience. Yet what does Miller have to say to those listening to his story?
“From that day to this I celebrate the restoration of my vocal ability. I wrote of the experience the following week and described it in terms that likened it to Lazarus coming from the grave. My gratitude and my emotions have not waned in 20 years… God has used me as an object lesson of His grace and power. I have appeared on the Oprah show and have shared my story with one little lady in a nursing home who could not speak, but wept as I related the timeless story of His Goodness. I still go wherever the opportunity is given to share the story and I will do so until I am physically unable to do so.
Listen and believe this…if God could do that for me, He can solve whatever problem you have in your life. He loves you every bit as much as He loves me.
We’ve been saying it for 20 years …
1. Stroble, L. 2018. Would You Believe a Miracle Caught on Tape? Available; Sala, H. 2013. What You Need to Know About Healing: A Physical and Spiritual Guide. p. 18; Thomas, G. 2011. Simply Sacred: Daily Readings. p. 54. Deere, J. 1996. Surprised by the Power of the Spirit: Discovering how God Speaks and Heals Today. p. 145; Peterson, W. & Petersen, R. 2009. 100 Amazing Answers to Prayer. p. 255; Anderson, J. 1998. The Power of Miracles: Stories of God in the Everyday. p. 28.
2. Miller, D. 2013. “The Miracle Moment” 20 Years Later. Available.
3. Bruce. 2018. Miracles Happen: Here’s One. Available.
4. YouTube. 2016. MUST-SEE. Available.