What Faith Can Do

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Lesli NolenBy Lesli Nolen
March 2010

I am a person of faith and I have always believed in the power of prayer. But it wasn’t until recently that I got to watch God’s miracle of healing unfold right before my eyes.

This is a story about a little 9-year-old girl who had slowly over time become sick. She didn’t feel bad, but didn’t feel real good either. As the months passed her body grew weaker and sicker. It was right before Christmas, when a liver biopsy confirmed she had auto-immune hepatitis. It was treatable with  high doses of steroids. After a couple of weeks it seemed to be working. But at the same time the steroids were depleting her immune system.

Then it all started. She awoke feeling sick to her stomach. So she and her mom stayed home from school and as she predicted this little girl got sick. The discomfort continued for a couple of hours and, with her diagnosed condition, they didn’t want to take any chances so they went ahead and took her into the local emergency room. It was there they determined she had pneumonia, but something else was wrong too. Her blood pressure began to drop and she was definitely sick. They immediately rushed her by ambulance to Lubbock’s pediatrics intensive care unit.

A team of doctors and nurses met them and began to working immediately on her. After examination and many test it was clear this was more than just pneumonia. She had some sort of blood infection. Her blood pressure kept dropping. Her organs were at stake and this little girl was fighting for her life. I know God’s plan is perfect in every way, but being in the flesh it is hard to always see that. The next 12 to 24 hours were very critical.

We began praying at that very moment.

The doctors still hadn’t determined her blood infection and said that the pneumonia was the least of their worries. But because they didn’t know what kind of infection they were dealing with, deciding on the course of treatment was difficult. Here was this little girl with all kinds of IVs in her, a staff of 15 doctors and nurses all around her, and time seemed to stand still. At this point all we had was faith to stand on.

But time did pass and test results began coming in. Doctors determined she had respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, a common viral infection among children, but something most children over 2 years old don’t get. Because of this little girl’s auto immune problem and the steroid shots she’d been given, her immune system was so weak it couldn’t fight back. RSV attacked the blood and took off like a wild fire. Every part of her body was compromised. Her heart, her lungs, her whole body was too weak to fight, despite everything the doctors were doing for her.

We continued to pray.

Treatment continued and her body grew weaker. It just couldn’t fight anymore by itself. So two days later this little girl was put on a machine called an ECMO.

ECMO is an acronym for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. As the name implies, it refers to the delivery of oxygen by “extracorporeal” measures. That literally means by mechanical bypass that takes place outside of the body. An ECMO machine is very similar to a heart-lung machine that is used to continue the supply of blood and oxygen while the heart is stopped, such as during open heart surgery.

It is intended for patients whose heart and lungs cannot normally function on their own.

The ECMO would do the work of her heart and lungs for her. At the same time it would take her blood out of her body, oxygenate it and put it back in her body. And of course just like everything else there were many risk and side effects involved. Doctors said this wasn’t an easy process and this could last weeks or months. So we hit our knees again and prayed and prayed and prayed.

Word had spread about his little girl and her fight to live. People from other states and even other countries were praying for her. The power of prayer and God’s mighty healing hand resulted in her coming off the ECMO machine in just two days, with the capability of breathing completely on her own. God had heard our prayers and answered them.

So there I was at her beside, watching first-hand the power and healing of God’s hand, watching God work through each doctor and nurse that came in, and watching God work through the people that were directly and indirectly associated with this family. As I felt the Holy Spirit swell deep with in me and others, it was absolutely amazing, it was something only our God could do.
But that isn’t where the story ends.

Despite all the miracles we’d witnessed so far God wasn’t finished healing this little girls body.  The pneumonia still hadn’t broken up like the doctors wanted so they order a computerized tomography or CT scan. When the results came, we were informed that she had a bacteria eating away at her lung. Immediate surgery was ordered to remove the upper one-third of one of her lungs. Again we prayed. Again God answered. Surgery was successful.

It took a few days after the lung surgery to get all the medication working again in her favor. She is now awake and talking. She has since started physical therapy to rebuild muscle strength. She is in the intermediate ICU now and is making a full recovery.

By the grace of God and His perfect plan only two weeks ago upon her arrival by ambulance, and given only about a 10 percent chance of survival, to where we are today, only confirms my God is as much alive today as he was yesterday and will be tomorrow.

I love the song “What Faith Can Do,” by Christian rock band Kutless that says:

“I’ve seen miracles just happen, silent prayers get answered, broken hearts become brand new—That’s what Faith can do.”

I stood on faith alone and watched what my God can do.

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