By: Heather Wolper
Last Saturday, after cartoons and breakfast around our kitchen island, my husband found our sweet, ornery, six-year-old boy, unconscious and barely breathing.
While I was upstairs getting ready for the day, my husband quickly lifted our precious boy, who had been talking excitedly about fishing and riding bikes to get ice cream just a few minutes before, into his arms and called 911.
I had just gotten dressed and begun to scrub my face when I heard our oldest son’s voice behind me,
“Mom, do you know what’s going on with Boaz? He won’t wake up.”
I was confused. I had only been upstairs for a handful of minutes, hardly enough time for something to happen, but I knew from his voice that something was terribly wrong, so I raced downstairs.
I found my husband standing over our precious boy, blue and gasping for air. I knelt down and covered his cheeks in tears as I kissed him and told him how much we loved him. I begged him to wake up so he could go on the date he and his daddy had been planning all morning.
Soon I felt a hand on my shoulder and looked up to see a paramedic lift my boy quickly onto a stretcher and take him out our front door.
After they left, I sat shaking from head to toe on the couch, trying to piece together prayers with our other children as several police officers reassured me that my boy had a strong pulse and was breathing on his own.
Meanwhile, in a fire house a few suburbs away, a dear friend heard our frantic call come in over the scanner and he began to pray life over our precious boy.
At the same time, at a baseball diamond a few miles up the road, our local fire chief’s beeper went off. He and his wife realized with sinking hearts that his crew had been called to the house full of kids around the corner.
From the report, they knew all too well that we could lose our bright eyed boy, so on a beautiful October Saturday morning that was meant to be spent fishing and riding bikes to get ice cream, they began to cry out for a miracle.
As I headed to the hospital, I wondered how I could bear another loss. I wrestled with God, begging him to spare my son.
The only words I could muster for the duration of the drive were, “Please God, please God, please save him.”
We pulled into a spot by the emergency room and I saw the pediatric trauma transport ambulance that had carried my boy with its doors still flung wide open.
My friend turned off the ignition and asked, “Can we pray?”
In that moment, I raised my shaking arms, pried open my hands, and with a sheer force of will, I began to cry out, “God you are good. God you are good. No matter what happens today, I will worship you.”
Then, I stepped out of the van to find my boy.
When the doors to the ER opened, my knees buckled and I dropped to the floor while doctors and nurses worked furiously to assess his condition.
Again, I groaned, “Please God. Please God. In the name of Jesus. Please save him. Please bring Boaz back.”
Hours passed. I sat alone in a hospital room as nurses and doctors watched him with furrowed brows and worried faces and told me not to lose hope because they’d seen kids come back from awful accidents.
More hours passed, and the neurologist began to talk about next steps and repeating tests, and despair began to set in.
My husband and I struggled to piece prayers together while the groans of our hearts served as our only cries to heaven. Meanwhile, men and women around our city and across the country were on their knees crying out for a miracle as we ached for our boy to show signs of life.
Then, somewhere deep down, my boy heard his family calling him back.
After having been completely unresponsive just 15 minutes before, he heard my husband’s and children’s voices pouring through the speaker on my phone, and he sat straight up in bed and looked at me.
A few minutes later he nodded his head in response to a question.
A few minutes later, his chapped lips opened for the first time in hours and hours and croaked out a whisper,
Then, he whimpered for his big brother,
“Benji. I want Benji.”
Over the next few hours, the brightness began to come back into his eyes and he asked why he was in the hospital. Our tears began to fall when I explained tenderly why he was there and how he had woken up after many, many people had prayed for him.
Over the next few days, he began to regain his strength and energy and began begging to go home. When he had met all the requirements to go home, I hopped into the shower in his room to clean myself up, and from the other room I heard his husky voice singing clearly,
“Amazing grace. How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. ‘Twas blind but now I see.”
In that moment, I began to weep over his tender act of worship and over the breath that made it possible. I wept with relief knowing that in an answer to many, many prayers we would be going home.
Over these last few years, I have wrestled with my faith in God’s ability to heal, as I have watched friends lose husbands and children and sweet mamas leave their babies behind.
While I trusted that God is faithful and sovereign, I had resigned myself to the inevitability of suffering and death, rather than trusting that he is more than able to cure cancer, restore a hopelessly broken marriage, or bring a child back from a coma.
But this week, as I have cooked my boy pancakes and washed his little clothes and tucked him into his bed, I have been acutely aware that my boy is alive because God raised him up, and that each of these mundane tasks is a miracle.
Every time I look into his face, I will give thanks that we have one more day to laugh and snuggle and play and make funny faces and argue over homework and whether or not he has brushed his teeth.
I will remember the prayers that poured out and the moment his silly streak came back.
And I will rejoice.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”