There was some commotion in the mezzanine on Saturday night before I heard someone yell out “We NEED a doctor!”
Our executive pastor Heather Larson was 10 minutes into her talk as volunteer medics from the main floor and balcony began running towards this section. At first, we weren’t sure what was happening so Heather calmly took a time out and invited the church to pray. As the prayer ended we got word that a 56 year old man was having a heart attack. He was unresponsive, 911 had already been called and our volunteer medic teams began administering CPR.
The church continued praying, we extended hands towards the section and begged God for healing. As I stood there watching thousands of hands extended, prayers being offered, and the sounds of first responders working in unison. One of our worship leaders Amaris Bullock stepped up to the piano and began playing one of her original songs. There was a line she sang over and over about how “God is good, He will not relent, He will not give up on my circumstance” and you could feel the room expectant for these words to come true once again.
We were all together as one working towards healing.
Through responding to crisis.
The paramedics came and transported the man to a nearby hospital. A couple pastors and I quickly drove over to the local hospital to be with the man and his family.
A wife and a son showed up to the ER and we just hugged. You could sense the fear, the worry and deep love they had for this man. The severity of the situation had doctors working on the man as the wife and son were moved to an isolated waiting room. After a few minutes the son came and asked that we join them.
For 90 minutes we prayed together, told stories about the man’s goodness, and tried our best to not stop hoping. We were finally brought back to a room to get an update from the doctor. The first doctor came in (who happened to be from willow) and gave us a heads up that the man would be transferred to another hospital for a triple bypass surgery.
Absolute shock. The room got smaller. Fear was trying to creep in. The family broke down. And so we started praying more.
We were brought back into the operating room. The wife and son huddled around the man they love before he was wheeled out to an ambulance.
We followed the ambulance to the new hospital where we were escorted to our own personal waiting room. The doctors invited us back to pray over the man. The wife and son and I gathered around the man. The son was giving me a side hug as I prayed and with each sentence and verse I uttered he squeezed me tighter. You could feel the love he had for his father.
4 hours later we got word that the surgery was successful. The man was stable, responsive and would be ok.
It was one massive exhale.
As I’ve been reflecting, I can’t stop thinking about what the cardiologist told me, “Your volunteers saved this man’s life. Every seconds counts and the fact they responded so quickly was a game changer. If he was driving or by himself I can almost guarantee there would be a different outcome. But he was at church, where everyone was praying and responding quickly. Being there gave him a second chance.”
This cardiologists words reminded me afresh how stunning the church can be when everyone is praying, responding quickly to crisis, saving lives and offering people second chances.
Who can you be praying for today?
What crisis might God be inviting you to respond quickly too?