When God Answers the Call
As I mentioned this last week, my wife and I were stunned by the news of an accident that left our eldest daughter, Jennifer, in a medically-induced coma in a hospital in San Jose, California. We prayed she would live. My first thought was to get a request out for prayer before we arranged for any travel considerations. First I made calls to family, then friends, my church, and then I turned to the Internet to spread the word. I found a few photos of Jen and posted them on Facebook with the caption, “Please Pray for our Daughter,” with this statement:
“Sometime this past weekend, our eldest daughter Jennifer (age 35) was involved in an accident in Santa Cruz, California, and suffered severe head trauma. She was airlifted to San Jose Regional Trauma Center and was placed in a medically-induced coma. At present she is in stable condition, but has swelling in her brain. Please keep her in your prayers for a supernatural healing. Thank you.”
Through the help of family members and friends, Linda and I were able to drop everything, pack a few things, and make a seven-hour drive north (within the next twenty-four hours) to witness what we could hardly comprehend or believe. My ex-wife, Susan, looked equally shocked and confused when we met her at the hospital. When we checked back on that Internet posting a day later, we found dozens of other postings—pleas for Jennifer’s life, requests for prayer—in an incredible response in commitment to pray for her that arose among family, friends, former classmates, Jennifer’s network of friends, our church family, people from Bible studies we belong to, and my former work associates. Many people we did not know at all were offering up prayers for our daughter in her time of greatest need. It was a remarkable outpouring of support and love.
After our arrival at the hospital, we asked medical staff how the injury occurred. Their records had very scant information about the incident itself. I made a few calls and found answers from the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office. They were extremely helpful. According to deputies on scene (who interviewed a male who had been with our daughter at the time of the accident), Jennifer had been skateboarding without headgear on a dark stretch of roadway, when she lost her balance, was launched off her board, and struck the right side of her head on the pavement. The male who was with her had no cell phone to call for help. He flagged down a passing motorist who was willing to stop and call for emergency services to respond to the scene. That Good Samaritan made the call that saved Jenny’s life.
To say that Jennifer was in very bad shape would be an understatement. If that motorist had not passed by, and stopped to call for help, Jennifer could have died from the internal bleeding within a very short time. When paramedics and deputies arrived on scene, Jennifer was incoherent and very uncooperative due to the head trauma. And then she slipped into unconsciousness. She was transported by ambulance to Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. From there, Jennifer was airlifted to Regional Medical Center, in San Jose. The hemorrhaging in her brain required immediate action to save her life. Machines were required to help her breath and keep her body functioning during the surgery. Her head was a mess.
To minimize the risk of greater injury, a portion of her skull was cut open and removed to stop the bleeding and accommodate the swelling in her brain. And in order to help her body through the healing process, Jennifer was placed into a medically-induced coma through heavy sedation and kept breathing by a respirator. Then she was monitored around the clock in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU.) Her mother, step-mom, and I were helpless to do anything but wait.
But Linda, Susan, and I felt called to do more than just wait. Riding on prayer from hundreds of people from Australia, The Philippines, and all across the United States, we prayed over Jennifer every day. We took communion in her room. We prayed aloud and silently, separately and together. We prayed for the doctors and nurses. We prayed for other patients in the ICU. We prayed our hearts out to God. Jenny’s ICU room became a small church where prayer and healing were always in operation.
We noticed that as we prayed, Jennifer began to move in response. So we asked for continued and fervent, specific and targeted prayers from all who were willing to engage God in petition. And we thanked God every step of the way, in advance, for the life of our daughter. God moved and Jennifer moved in a dance orchestrated by His supernatural Spirit.
I do not know why God chooses to answer some prayers while seeming not to respond to others. All I know is that when God answers the call it is miraculous. He answered your prayers for Jennifer. He answered our prayers for Jennifer. That was what I witnessed in that ICU room. Jennifer went from semi-responsive to unresponsive, from responsive to breathing on her own; in dire need of a tracheotomy and, then, awake and breathing on her own without needing that surgery. Thirteen days from the day of her accident to the day Linda and I headed home, Jennifer had cleared a major hurdle and was released from the ICU to receive monitored care in a hospital room.
On Halloween night, 2013, Jennifer sang the song, “Me and My Bobbie McGee,” in just under two minutes on a cell phone recording. Her song was recorded by her mother, Susan, who shared it on Facebook. It was incredible! Jennifer was vibrant, expressive, and very much alive! I had tears of joy streaming down my face as I watched in wonder at what God had done in answer to prayer. There she was, our daughter Jennifer, riding on prayer—without a helmet—and enjoying the gift of song and life.
I confess to you, my friend, that I don’t know near as much about God as I should. But I do know that prayer to God means something to Him. And if prayer means something to God, it should mean all the more to you and me. In the instance of my daughter Jennifer, God was moved to save her when He did not have to. But He did.
Amen! God saved that girl! God is life. And He restored the life of our Jennifer in that ICU, after plucking her from death on a dark road.
That is the God I believe in. He created Jennifer, you, and me. God is worthy of our praise, worthy of our song, worthy of our rejoicing—all to the glory of the Giver of Life—because He gives life. And He cherishes our prayers. Perhaps He, too, is riding on our prayers to redeem, restore, and rescue the lost, the sick, and the injured. Jesus invited everyone to worry less and pray more. Prayer works. Jennifer is a living testimony to that truth.
Remember, while you live, you always have a prayer.
God is only a prayer away.
(copyright 2013, Gregory Allen Doyle)
Here is Jennifer singing from her hospital bed on Halloween.