Tony Davis was a young rhythm and blues singer who followed the path of many aspiring musicians. He moved from Orlando to Los Angeles seeking to sing R&B. Tony’s dreams of stardom just weren’t coming true, so he turned to God for help.
He prayed, “Something has gotta happen. God if You’re real, please help me; help me get out of this.”
"I gave my life to Christ right there. I changed my life around and said, 'You know what? I want to start to sing for the Lord.' I wanted to do gospel," says Tony.
Tony started his new career as a gospel singer. He thought his life was back on track. That is, until the night he went to pick up his wife.
"I just went to pick up my wife from work. When I pulled up to the house where she worked, bullets started to ring from out behind me. The first bullet hit my left leg and my thigh area. I turned to run and as I turned to run, two more bullets followed me, hit my leg again, and I ran and fell down beside my car. Another young man started to shoot me all over again. A bullet hit me in my right thigh area. Another bullet hit the ground and came up through my leg. Another bullet went across my face and my chest."
"And I said, 'Enough! In the name of Jesus!' A young man was standing behind the tree, and he had the gun pointing towards my head," says Tony. "I said, 'Why?' 'What have I done to make you shoot me like this? You don’t even know me. What have I done?' "
"His hand began to tremble, and he lowered the gun. At that point, I knew I was going to die. It was too much blood."
One of the bullets shattered Tony’s main artery. He bled to death right there on the street. His wife, Chriselda, ran outside when the shooting stopped.
"When I went there, he was laid out shot in his blood. I actually saw myself that the ambulance was giving him CPR. I asked to go with him and they would not take me because they were giving him CPR, trying to bring him back," remembers Chriselda.
"I started to float towards these clouds. These clouds opened up and through these clouds, I saw this huge city. It was so strange, but the city was beautiful. I saw these colors I’ve never seen before in my life... these strange, glowing colors, radiant colors, just glowing out of this huge city. All of of a sudden this voice said, 'It’s not yet your time. Go back.' I’m like, 'No.' It said my name. 'Tony, your work is not yet done. Go back.' "
The doctor had already pronounced him dead.
"I opened my eyes. I looked up. I was on life support and this thing was in my throat; this long tube with a trach was in my throat. This doctor was standing over me and he was about to throw this sheet over my head. But he dropped the sheet, and he ran out the room. Doctors and nurses ran to his room. They were checking me and they couldn’t believe. They said, 'You was dead for 30 minutes.' ” Usually after a few minutes of death, they expected me to have brain damage."
Tony was alive, but the doctor had some disappointing news for him.
The doctor said, "We had to cut your throat immediately to try to get air into your body. So we cut your throat, and we mistakenly cut a piece of your vocal cord. So what we can do at this point is, we can put a box on the side of your throat and you can talk through this box."
And, they told him they may have to amputate his left leg.
The doctors told him, “Unfortunately, the artery we put in your left leg is not working properly. It’s not sitting right in the leg."
Chrisleda remembers, "I was mad with God because I asked God, 'Why did He let something like this happen to a good person that’s trying to serve Him?' ”
Tony says he held on to his faith in God.
"I’ve served God in spirit and in truth and in that, I believed that He was going to show up and heal me. I believed that Jesus said, 'By His stripes we are healed.' That’s in the Bible and I believed that He was going to heal me, and I’m going to stand on that only."
Tony prayed for a miracle, and says he got it that very night.
"All of a sudden, I felt this warmness come into that room. It came into the room. It was a nice warmness, and it touched my leg. I felt it go up to the artery and I felt like stuff was being mingled together in my leg. And all of a sudden, it went up to my throat," he recalls.
Tony says that while God healed his body, He was also working on his heart.
“You must forgive,” is what God said to Tony.
Tony responded to God, "You got to be kidding me. Why should I forgive those guys that shot me like this?”
God said again, “You must forgive." And Tony answered, “You know what [God]? This is a choice for me. I’m going to forgive. It’s not a feeling, but it’s a choice. So therefore, I forgive."
The police told Tony he was probably the victim of a local gang initiation.
Chriselda says, "I really strongly believe in my heart that it was a miracle because the way that my husband was shot. I saw that people came in the hospital, when he was in there, with one bullet in their body. They died. He had five bullets and he never died. But, God brought him back for a reason."
Tony is still singing gospel and says that wherever he goes, he wants people to understand the power of God’s love.
"I know and I truly believe when the scripture says that not even death can separate us from His love. I think about how He touched me and brought me back to life ... how He gave me my joy back, and my strength back, and my faithfulness to Him. I mean, I’m just totally overwhelmed with His grace and his mercy."