By Michael Ashcraft —
When gang initiates shot musician Marcus Stanley eight times one night in 2004 on a Baltimore street, he feared that IF he lived, his music career was over.
He played piano with R&B singer Chris Brown. He traveled with gospel musicians like Donnie McClurkin, but he didn’t really pay attention to the gospel. He was drawn by the money and extravagant lifestyle.
“I was not focused on the message. I was not focused on Christ,” Stanley told CBN. “I was really focused on just making it — being a musician, being a popular musician, and playing for a great artist. The money, too, that would probably be No. 1 ’cause it was fast money.”
The heady days of fame and fortune crashed to an end with the late night shooting. Police suspect the attempted murder was a random case of initiates earning their entrance into a gang.
“We got in late every night,” Stanley told CBN. “I was actually walking to the store. I realized I didn’t have my wallet and hadn’t reached the store yet, but I turned around and started walking back to go get my wallet and I saw these guys standing on the corner that night and they were watching.”
One of the six, the leader of the gang walked up to him and said, “What’s you doing out here homie?”
“I’m just chillin bro,” Stanley replied, and kept walking. The gang followed and circled around him.
“Well, you gotta roll out homie,” the leader retorted. That’s when he pulled out a 45-caliber gun from his leather jacket, pointed at Stanley and shot him point-blank.
A bright light from the gun blinded him and Stanley fell to the ground. A burst of seven more rounds rained down on him from close range.
“When I first saw the gun-flash, I remember hitting the ground, and then I saw an angel get in front of me,” said Stanley.
Apparently the angel saved Stanley’s life by deflecting the path of some of the bullets.
“I’m 6 foot 7, so the angel was probably like 7-foot something,” Stanley told CBN. “It was just a transparent figure. I didn’t see wings or anything like that. I saw it was clear, transparent and it was in front of me.”
Stanley heard God tell him not to move. He held his breath and waited for the killers to leave. When they drove away at fast speed, Stanley took his first breath. “Oh God…Oh God,” he cried softly. He saw a pool of blood forming around him and tried to stand, but couldn’t.
For the first time in his life, he cried out to the Lord of Life – the same God the gospel singers invoked.
“I was like ‘God help me. Help me make it,'” Stanley said. “I just remember trying to stay awake. I thought that would be the key.
“It was like a movie. You see that stuff in a movie. You see the light up there. People see their life flashing before their eyes. It was like that for me except that I started thinking what would happen if I did die. And I was like nobody’s going to know what happened to me.”
He crawled from the street to the sidewalk. Stanley tried to flag down passing cars, but no one would stop.
Suddenly Stanley remembered he still had his cell phone. He pulled it out and dialed 911.
When police arrived they drew a chalk line around him and put up crime scene tape. Even though everything around him communicated death, Stanley began to pray for life.
After paramedics rushed him to the hospital, doctors cut off his clothes and Stanley could see all the gunshot wounds. My body looks dead, like I shouldn’t be alive, but I am, he thought.
Stanley head the EMT say, “I don’t think he’s going to make it.”
When they wheeled him in for surgery, the doctors seemed stunned he was still breathing and conscious.
Before the surgery, Stanley saw an amazing sight. “I remember looking and seeing the same angel that was on the street and the angel had his arms crossed… He didn’t do anything or say anything. He was kind of like nodding his head as if to say, ‘Everything is going to be alright.’” Immediately, Stanley felt God’s peace.
Doctors performed an eight-hour surgery to save his life. They reattached his colon, removed half his stomach, removed half his pancreas and removed all his spleen, he said.
After the surgery, he sustained nerve damage in his arm and his right hand was left with no feeling. He thought his musical career was over.
Remarkably, after three months of rehab he was able to walk again and even play the piano.
Despite God’s amazing intervention to save and preserve his life, Stanley was not ready to surrender his life to Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He went back to pursuing his dreams in the music world.
But the need for pain-killers after the surgery led him into drug addiction. Five years later, he was so disgusted with the course of his life, he finally decided to go all-out for Jesus.
Stanley hit rock bottom – and this time he was ready to surrender. He cried out to God and turned his life completely over to Jesus Christ.
“I got to a point where in desperation I was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ And that’s when everything changed for me as far as me pursuing, saying, ‘I need Jesus.’ Took me a long time to get there,” Stanley told CBN.
Later, he learned that his surgeon found God as a result of Stanley’s surgery. “He acknowledged it was not possible that he did the surgery by himself.”
Today, Stanley uses his talent for God’s kingdom. He plays and speaks before youth groups and high schools.
“It’s not really about the music,” Stanley said. “It’s more about what God’s done in my life and I aim to make him famous at everything I do and to show his glory.”
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here