My son was dead, and now he’s alive!

On Sunday after worship I went to a lunch meeting for those on the ministry team, meaning those who pray for people who walk forward for prayer after the service.  A man named Peter told his story about Josh, one of his 11 children.  I took notes, and here it is.

Josh first noticed his headache after church one Sunday at lunch.  By Wednesday, he had to be taken out of a high school baseball game because he couldn’t see the ball.  His parents made an appointment for Friday to see the doctor.  But Friday morning, Josh wasn’t even able to get his clothes on, so he was rushed by ambulance to the hospital.  By the time he was examined, he was paralyzed on the left side, and disoriented.  He knew who his mom was, but did not know her name.

A partial diagnosis came back: his immune system was producing antibodies to the white matter (myelin) in his brain, leaving lesions.  They put him on a steroid, and he seemed to improve.

But a few days later, something  changed.  Josh became combative and began throwing things.  He was put on a medication to calm him down.  An MRI revealed that his lesions had grown.  They did a brain biopsy, but the strange thing was they couldn’t find anything wrong with the tissue (no pathology) other than the tissue was dead.  They were sending samples all around the country for second opinions and expert analysis.

Josh slipped into a coma.  But  his brain was losing the ability to control his temperature and blood pressure, resulting in frequent intervention by the medical staff.  He was put on a ventilator and a feeding tube.  The doctors were now sure he was going to die.  The family even had a ‘do not resuscitate’ order placed on him.  Doctors called it “vanishing brain disease” for lack of a better name.  Approximately 1/3 of his brain was now gone.   Peter explained to us that the gray matter, the structure of the brain, remained, but the white matter, the myelin, what makes the gray matter work, was gone.

Doctors ceased treating Josh because they didn’t know what to do.  Still in a coma, he was now under 100 pounds, and the presence of death was heavy in the room.  The insurance began to run out as treatment stopped and options were narrowing.  So the family decided to take Josh off the ventilator and feeding tube.  To everyone’s surpise, Josh began to breath on his own and drink from a straw.  The doctors observed, “he won’t die,” but he couldn’t be kept at the hospital anymore because he was not being actively treated.

The family began to try to find a place for him to essentially go and die.  But in words that the Holy Spirit used to minister to me, Peter said “there aren’t any places good enough for Joshua.”  So they rented a hospital bed and prepared to take him home, unsure of how his mom was going to be able to care for him during the day with 10 other children, mostly younger.

Peter said that the Holy Spirit said three things to him during the crisis.  In the beginning, he said, “Calm down, wait and see.”  Later, when Peter was frustrated by the lack of progress, the Holy Spirit said, “I haven’t forgotten Joshua.”  And now, sitting in his hospital room, essentially waiting for him to die, the Holy Spirit said to Peter, “there is someone in those empty spaces in Joshua’s brain.”  Peter got up and in the name of Jesus said, “get out, you have no place here.”  In response, Joshua had a fit and got stiff, and fell out of his bed.  Whatever enemy/demonic presence that was there had been discovered and fled.

When Peter got him back in bed, Josh opened his eyes, and Peter could see in them, “the boy was back!” Still not well, they brought him home.  A few days later, Joshua said “hi” to one of his sisters, and they knew they had won.  By the next day he was asking for his cell phone and hamburgers.

The doctors still don’t know what it was.  At one point they said that Joshua, if somehow he doesn’t die, will be lucky to learn to operate an electric wheelchair and learn 15-20 words.

Today, Joshua is back in high school and playing baseball, although not quite as well as he used to.  Recovery is ongoing.

Listening to this story, the Lord did much to heal my heart regarding the loss of my son, Michael, over 5 years ago.  Why did Joshua live and Michael die?  I don’t know.  But in those moments of grief for Michael I experienced on Sunday, the Holy Spirit whispered to me a promise too intimate for me to share here, but healing to my heart.  And He pointed out that the words “no place good enough for my son” is how the Lord feels about us in this fallen world.  That’s why he is preparing a place for his sons and daughters.  Praise be his name.

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1 Comment

  1. that’s an amazing story!

    modern medicine has many cases of spontaneous recovery; how do they explain those??


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