Warning: This is a story that may make you cry. But, I promise, it’s worth it.
It begins on Dec. 30, in Phoenix, Arizona, when, in the blink of an eye, 2-year-old Joy went missing from a family gathering. Her father, Matt Loboda, raced to the koi pond outside, where he found nothing. Then, as he wrote later in a post on Facebook, prompted by the Holy Spirit, he ran to the fenced pool. There, he saw Joy floating on the top of the water. He dove in, got her out of the water and immediately began CPR. He writes: “As I breathed into Joy I prayed that my breath would be the breath of God into her. In between breaths I begged for the Ruha of God to enter her. Her lips were blue and her beautiful blue eyes were wide open. I could see her pupils shrinking at an alarming rate. Then I started to pray in between breathes in the words of Jesus, Talitha Koum, which means ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise’. I knew we needed a miracle because I could actually feel her slipping away.”
The prognosis wasn’t good. The paramedics arrived quickly but were not hopeful. The doctor at the ER, too, was not hopeful, but he informed Matt and his wife, Kristin, that Joy had a heartbeat. Doctors later estimated that she had gone up to 30 minutes without one.
Immediately, the Lobodas shared their story on social media, begging their loved ones to #PrayforJoy. Soon, their prayers were joined by those of thousands of people from around the world as they, together, prayed for a miracle.
And a miracle, seemingly, is what they got. After being put in a medically induced coma, being put on a ventilator and undergoing surgery to remove two blood clots, Baby Joy not only has survived but she seems truly to have come back to life without signs of any permanent damage or effects. Six days after the accident, Joy was breathing on her own. Her eyes were open, and she was alert. In the midst of it all was continuous prayer. Wrote Kristin on Facebook on Jan. 7: “Your prayers are continuing to heal our baby Joy (now all of our sweet baby Joy) and bring forth her full restoration. Your prayers are also healing our hearts and drawing us closer to our Lord.”
A week later, Joy was active and alert, eating and playing, smiling and laughing. She was moved out of intensive care and into rehab. A few days after that, Joy was visited by the first responder team of the Phoenix Fire Department who had been at the scene of the accident.
In their darkest moments and suffering, the Lobodas were profound witnesses of faith and trust in God. And their example paid dividends. Not only has Joy been healed, but Matt wrote that he has heard from many people who have had their own faith reignited by the miraculous recovery of little Joy. As the Lobodas have been ever quick to say: to God be the glory. To which I say: Amen.
Please keep the Lobodas, especially Joy, in your prayers as she continues to experience this remarkable recovery.