A mother of three from Concord, North Carolina lost her arm to a shark attack in the Bahamas while snorkeling, but her response is one that many people would not expect. She is thankful and says that her story will probably change lives because she believes people will hear of the Providence of God and see Him in the midst of even this terrible event.
Tiffany Johnson and her husband, James, were snorkeling in a shallow reef in the Bahamas on the last stop of a cruise last week. That's when she said the felt a bump from behind.
“I wasn’t in pain, it just felt like I had bumped into something so I just casually turned to my right to look to see and that’s when I was face to face with the shark,” Tiffany said. “He had my whole arm in his mouth and he was just floating there, just staring at me."
“I kept trying to yank my hand back and the last time I yanked he had cut it clean off so I was able to actually get free,” Tiffany said. "Immediately when I pulled out, I just saw that I had lost my arm and it was just mangled. I just ripped off my snorkel mask and I just started swimming and I screamed out, 'Help me, Jesus! Help me!'"
Her husband heard her screams and jumped in to help his wife.
"I was getting back onto the ladder," he said, "And I heard Tiff yell, and she was saying 'Help me!' I look over, and there's blood everywhere in the water."
In the midst of what was taking place, Tiffany said she began to pray.
“I felt this tangible peace on me and it was so thick, that I was just calm,” Tiffany said.
— Tracking Sharks (@trackingsharks) June 8, 2017
Doctors were able to stop the bleeding, but they couple had trouble getting back to the States due to some passport and customs issues. However, a medical evacuation company agreed to cover their expenses for the flight to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Those costs were estimated at $16,000.
Johnson is scheduled to have surgery this Friday to prepare her for a prosthetic arm.
"I’m just so thankful. I'm thankful to be here," Johnson said after the attack. "I'm thankful to be able to share this story and I hope, and I know, that it’s going to change people's lives because you can't hear this story and not see God in it."
"It's something that overwhelms us every day, that at one point we'll just break down and thank Jesus for the life that he's given us and for the second chance that we have," Tiffany said.
Experts say that normally in a shark attack, the shark drags the victim under or deeper under the water. That didn't happen here.
"He [God] gave me my wife back," James said. "That shark didn't pull her down into the water and he didn't follow us as we were going back to the boat."
We are reminded:
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. -1 Thessalonians 5:18
It's easy to give thanks to God when things are going well, but what about when you lose a limb to a shark attack? or your job? or a family member to death? While we should be thankful at all times, it is in the times of trial and testing that we find out just how thankful we really are, and that is when people pay attention to see if we will be like those who curse God and die, or continue to thank Him for who He is and all He has done.
James posted on Facebook early Friday morning saying, "Please stand in agreement with us that the surgery and the recovery that follows be a smooth transition. God has had His hand on her this whole time and I know without a doubt He will continue to."
A GoFundMe page for medical expenses had raised more than $17,000 as of Monday afternoon.
Watch the amazing story below.