A couple nights ago, Ken and I went to the movies to see Breakthrough.
If you have somehow managed to miss the trailer for this movie, let me summarize it for you. It is the miraculous true story about 14-year-old, John Smith, who fell through the ice on a lake in his small hometown outside of St. Louis. He was pulled from the ice and taken to the local hospital. After approximately an hour with no pulse, the doctor, a father of one of John’s classmates, told John’s mother (played by This Is Us star, Chrissy Metz) that there was nothing more he could do–John was dead, and she needed to say goodbye. John’s mother, Joyce, implored for help from the Almighty, begging Jesus to send his Holy Spirit down to breathe life into her son. Suddenly, the monitor began to beep. After more than an hour of death, John had a pulse, and the battle to save his life ensued.
If you think that this blog is going to be about the power of prayer, you’re wrong. If you think that it’s going to be about how faith can move mountains, you are mistaken. If you think I’m going to give you a theological lesson about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, you couldn’t be farther off base. While I could spend quite some time writing about each of these topics, the revelation that Ken and I both had as we left the movie theater is far more earth shattering and, quite honestly, should be frightening to every person living in this country today.
When John’s pulse returned, his doctor knew that John’s only chance of survival was to be sent to the top doctor specializing in treating children in John’s condition. John and Joyce were airlifted to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis. It was there that Joyce was told that John would most likely not make it through the night, but if he did, his injuries would be catastrophic. Having been deprived of oxygen for such an extreme amount of time, John was unlikely to ever regain consciousness. If he awoke, he would never be the same. John’s father struggled with what to do, but Joyce did not. She told the doctor that if he was truly the best, he would do everything he could to bring her son back and heal him and that if he did his job, God would take care of the rest. The family asked for prayers, and the entire community prayed around the clock for John to be made whole again. While other medical personnel were not hopeful, and some were even resentful of the care of that John received, Dr. Garrett allowed care to be maintained and continued to monitor him while Joyce continued to pray.
What I’m going to tell you next is most certainly a spoiler alert, but I’m going to assume that you know that they never would have made the movie if the outcome had been different. Not only did John survive, but as soon as he woke up, he was able to speak and showed no brain impairment at all. NONE. He walked out of the hospital less than two weeks later. This is all 100% true and heavily documented in the news and throughout medical science.
Here’s what I want to point out to you from this story – John and Joyce were airlifted to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis. They were not taken to a state-run facility or a for-profit hospital. They were taken to a non-profit hospital run by St. Louis University, a Catholic institution. According to their website, the mission of the hospital is, “Through our exceptional health care services, we reveal the healing presence of God.”
And so I ask you to consider…
What if John had not been taken to Cardinal Glennon?
What if John had been sent to a state-fun facility or for-profit hospital?
What if John’s doctor was not interested in working in tandem with God’s healing presence?
What if John was at a hospital or with doctors, that did not believe in the value and sanctity of life?
We live amid the culture of death. We hear stories every day about assisted suicide and compassionate death, about the most vulnerable among us having little say in whether they live or die, and about families being encouraged to “pull the plug.” What if, instead of actually giving John a chance to survive, the doctors or hospital had decided to stop all medical care? Thankfully for John, he was at an institution where they believed in the power of life.
These were our thoughts as Ken and I drove home the other night. We believe it was all part of God’s perfect plan that John was sent to Cardinal Glennon. We believe that John’s story may be a message to the world, a plea from God: “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). We believe that John’s story and others like it are a reminder that life is sacred, that God is the divine physician, and that too many have bought into the lie that the extinguishing of life is done for the greater good. Even if you don’t believe in miracles or think there was a scientific cause for John’s healing, you have to ask yourself, would the outcome have been different at another hospital where money or hospital politics or greed or anything else trumps the sanctity of life?
As you ponder the “what ifs” of John’s miraculous healing, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). May this world experience a true breakthrough in the belief in the sanctity of life. And may we always have the courage and strength to let God be God and man be man.
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018).