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God Told Him, "You're Not Going to Die Tonight."

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“He came in through the back sliding glass door, had a butcher knife in his hand,” says Russ Smethers, “and he came at me and started hacking with the knife. I slipped, I fell on my back and he's hovering over me hacking away.”

On March 8th, 2021 in Las Vegas Nevada, Pastor Russ Smethers and his wife, Rena, were cooking dinner when Russ was attacked by his stepson.

“He was living with us for a couple of years and he came across money and all of a sudden had meth. When he first came in and he was advancing, it was like, ‘Oh, hey, what's going on?’ You know, and then you look and you see the knife and you see his eyes glazed over and it goes from, ‘Oh, hey, what are you doing?’ to confusion. But then it became fight or flight. Once the hacking started, you know, then, then the fear kind of went away and survival took over,” says Smethers.

The man mercilessly stabbed away at Russ.

“Most of the wounds were in the chest, in the head, and the neck because he was over on top of me,” says Smethers. “The blood would start running over my eyes and I couldn't see very well. That was my first indication, like, ‘Oh, this is serious.’ And then I started with the slipping and I fell. Fractured my skull in two places on that one. And then you know, the part with my thumb almost being cut off is because he had the knife over my eye and it was either I had to grab the knife by the blade to pull it away I chose to grab the knife. I remember that his dog came in the kitchen and nudged him away from me. He dropped the knife and he went back out the back door across the street where everybody was out there already called 911.”

Russ’s attacker was captured, arrested, and jailed, though he had stabbed Russ 21 times. Minutes later, paramedics arrived on the scene, applied a tourniquet, and transported him to University Medical Center. Russ said something interesting happened to him earlier in the day.

“God audibly told me, not something I felt in my heart, but God said, ‘You're going through some stuff right now, but you're not going to die tonight,’” says Smethers.

When he arrived at the hospital his nurse began praying.

Smethers says, ‘I look over and there is this male nurse sitting there holding my hand and elbow and his arm and his eyes are closed and he's praying very vocally in a very busy trauma room. And I went, ‘Wow.'”

Nurse Mark Cabigon says, “I thought he was not going to survive. You could see his jaw open from here, from knife wounds in the neck as well. Like, missed the major artery. So, I don't know. For some reason the good Lord just told me, ‘Just go there.’ So, I went there, then I don't know, for some reason. I just offered a prayer.”

Though he was in good spirits, Russ’s condition was critical. Among his injuries were a collapsed lung, two skull fractures, a fractured spine, two broken ribs; he almost bled out on the scene and still had a piece of the knife blade embedded in his skull. After two days and three surgeries, the surgeon spoke to Russ.

“He goes, ‘Here's my, my dilemma. I went in to do X-rays and found out your lung had reattached itself.’ He said, ‘Now, you have a fractured spine.’ He goes, 'We see an x- ray, so we're about ready to do some surgery on your back. And again, something tells me to recheck. So we go back and recheck your spine’s not fractured anymore.’ So, what's the problem? That sounds great to me! He goes, ‘Well, the issue is we didn't do anything,’” recalls Russ.

Remarkably the fractures that were once there, were miraculously healed. Nurse Mark says Pastor Russ’s full recovery is a miracle. “He's a miracle. Seeing him smiling right now and still doing the work of the Lord just inspires me,” says Cabigon. “God is real. Like there's, there's a God watching people, watching us. There's no doubt about it.”

He also chose to forgive his attacker.

Smethers says, “If I, as a pastor, and as a father, and as a husband, and a man of God wants to lead by example, who am I to not forgive this person?”

Russ says the attack gave him a new perspective and a new purpose.

“I wake up every morning. ‘What do you got for me today God?’ Even if I'm having a really bad day, I'm like, ‘You know what? Somebody else has got a lot worse than me, ‘So use me.’ I'm living proof. You're living proof that God is a miracle worker and He's doing miracles every day of your life. Look at a gorgeous sunset. It takes your breath away. That's a miracle. I just am so grateful for every breath that He's allowing me to take. I can't say it enough or deep enough to where it didn't sound cheesy or corny, but God is just an awesome God.”

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Will Dawson is a Senior Producer for The 700 Club.