Jason P. Noble, pastor of First Assembly Church in St. Peters, Missouri, hung up the phone and exhaled heavily. He’d just received the call no minister wants to get. That day, Jan., 19, 2015, churchgoer John Smith had fallen through ice into a lake and had been submerged for 15 minutes. The outcome didn’t look good.
When he arrived at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St Louis around 4:30 p.m., the waiting room outside the pediatric ICU was bursting with church members, family, friends, and John’s classmates. Noble caught snippets of what had happened.
John, 14, and two friends had walked out onto frozen Lake Louise, and ice gave way. The other two boys were rescued, hospitalized, and released.
But John didn’t survive the experience.
He was moments from being pronounced dead when his mother, Joyce Smith, walked into the emergency room and began calling out to God. Immediately, after more than an hour with no pulse, John’s heartbeat started. Everyone rejoiced over the miracle of a boy coming back to life. However, doctors didn’t believe John would stay alive — and if he did, he would be a vegetable.
It was time to pray.
“The family was resolved that it didn’t matter what the doctors said, we were going to take this to God and trust Him to be who He says He is,” Noble says. So, Noble gathered several other pastors from the waiting room and went into John’s room.
“He didn’t look good,” Noble remembers. John’s skin was gray-tinted, his body and face were bloated almost beyond recognition, and he was in a coma. Noble and the other pastors surrounded the bed, and Noble leaned close to John’s ear, telling him everything would be OK. Then the group started to pray, specifically that God would give John the breath of life back into his lungs, and that God would rewire his brain.
“We prayed for complete healing,” Noble says.
From that first night in the hospital, Noble sensed God telling him he needed to stick close to the family. He understood the sacrifice of the commitment.
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