Facing Tragedy, Finding Peace—Part 2

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Testimony by Kathy Adams of Calvary Chapel Stone Mountain, GA
Photos courtesy of Pastor Sandy and Kathy Adams unless otherwise indicated

In late December 2021, 38-year-old Zach Adams became gravely ill with COVID-19, leading to a months-long battle for his life. The young pastor miraculously survived the ordeal and is now teaching again at his church, Calvary316 in Winder, GA. He is the son of Pastor Sandy Adams and his wife Kathy of Calvary Chapel Stone Mountain, GA.

In Part 2 of this testimony, Kathy shares compassionate advice and practical details that helped her face this difficult journey.
                  

In Part 1, Kathy writes about how she found peace and learned to trust God more deeply through Zach’s near-death experience. Read Part 1.
                  

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Sandy Adams, pastor of CC Stone Mountain, GA, visits at Zach’s bedside in the ICU. His condition looked hopeless, but Zach’s family kept their eyes on God. “He should not have lived—they [doctors] just didn’t know what to do with someone who still needed recovery and treatment in this condition,” explained Kathy Adams, Zach’s mom.

For Such a Time as This
I entered the medical profession in 1977 with the goal of serving as a missionary nurse. Although my career was vastly limited to part-time work and was never on foreign soil, I felt my ultimate calling 45 years later. In this medical crisis, my daughter Natalie said, “Mom, if for no other reason, God had you become a nurse for Zach, and the family needed you as a nurse now.” No truer words were ever spoken. The fulfillment of our professional callings at times may not be realized for many years until the moment God reveals it to us.

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As a nurse, I was able to plow through the reports, diagnoses, treatments, and needs while attending the staff care meetings with greater ease and understanding than many. All those under medical treatment need patient advocates to partner with the medical professionals. I had their “ear” with our concerns and was able to participate in his care. In this day of “doubt and question all,” respectfully asking and yielding a measure of trust in Zach’s care was difficult. I was challenged to remember that ultimate physical healing is from God, and that He could and would work through the health care professionals.

My faith for decisions could not be in my knowledge nor in the “learned” professionals. Hospitals treat based on set protocols, but Zach’s case of COVID-19 was unique. He should not have lived—they just didn’t know what to do with someone who still needed recovery and treatment in this condition. Our hospital had no COVID-weaning protocol from ventilators, and their “set” way was not working. With every attempt Zach was not able to handle, I had to challenge and change the approach. After establishing a working relationship with the staff, my “suggestion” was implemented. My point is that graciousness and respect for their medical decisions yielded the same respect I received for my proposal.

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Everyone is Watching
Your faith is on display—from your family members close and afar, from church friends to social media contacts, and even before the hospital staff. It is not a burden but the highest privilege to be embraced.

How you treat those caring for your loved one matters. This includes thanking everyone who enters the room. All, including the housekeeping staff, play a part in the care, and no role is greater than the others. Offer graciousness, patience, and thankfulness (those Christian virtues we are supposed to be good at) with staff; care for them, buy them coffee, lunch, etc. When you are there for any amount of time, this goes a long way. I think this became evident with the number of visits from the staff as Zach’s recovery became more apparent; they wanted to witness the miracle! 

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Zach Adams, pastor of Calvary316 in Winder, GA, miraculously survived the ordeal and is now teaching again at his church. Pictured here, Zach presented his testimony at the Deep South Pastors and Leaders Conference at Stone Mountain, GA, in September 2022. Photo by Josh Larson

Keep Giving
 My role was to provide stability for the family. My home changed as Zach’s wife and three kids lived with us during the crisis. With the influx of family members coming to say their goodbyes, our church family dealing with crisis (two members died of COVID, and five other members died during this time), everyone seemed to need someone who was grounded. The words God worked into my life were, “Keep giving.” Day after day, the needs were never-ending. Pulled in every direction, I would land in bed exhausted, unable to think about giving another ounce. And yet, God kept saying, “Keep giving, give more and more.” God became my every ounce of strength. My highest level of giving pales in comparison to what Jesus gave for us—I have yet to suffer to that extent. What a fresh awareness of the ultimate sacrifice Jesus suffered and gave on my behalf!

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Lamenting
I experienced the power of lamenting before God. Although I have read and studied the Old Testament Book of Lamentations, I can admit I had never lamented so deeply and thoroughly before God until this crisis. In the quietness of the night, the reality of heartache and the cries of my heart exploded in such fullness. Years ago, after the loss of her son, my grandmother shared with me, “Moms just aren’t supposed to experience such a loss.” This reality was so near at this point that I fully understood her statement. It wasn’t until three weeks into this journey that I, distraught, was able to really pour out my heart before God in such anguish. 

After two years of infertility, I had prayed the prayer of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 for Zach’s birth: “Lord, remember me, your maidservant.” At a pastors’ conference in 1982, a group of ladies prayed for me, and a prophecy was spoken of Zach’s birth. We named our son Zachary because it means Remember of the Lord. I had given Zach back to the Lord for His service as Hannah had done with Samuel: Use my son as you see fit. When Zach went into ministry, I saw the fulfillment of that prayer—but to die at 38 was not part of my plan for my son. I saw as God’s plan for my son a full, long life, where he would care for me in my old age! A life cut short, much like my own father’s, seemed unfair and just not right. 

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As a nurse of 45 years, Kathy was able to advocate and care for Zach while showing grace, patience, and gratitude to the staff caring for him. “The fulfillment of our professional callings at times may not be realized for many years until the moment God reveals it to us,” she shared.

I poured out these thoughts and many groanings, and the cries of my heart turned from words of distress into just one word: Jesus—just the plain and simple cry out to my Savior. I repeated the name of Jesus over and over, which turned to affirmation of the character of Jesus’ nature. Songs of praise and worship followed, changing my tears of turmoil into triumph.

The power of lamenting is biblical yet rarely applauded. Allowing yourself to acknowledge your utter weakness and pain before a Savior who wants to be your strength is one of the most powerful experiences you can have with the Holy Spirit. The floodgate of comfort that only He can give is undeniably an experience I will always treasure.

                  

Read the complete story of Zach’s recovery in Issue 94 of Calvary Chapel Magazine, soon to be released. Order your copy today at Get Your Personal Copy or phone us: 540-373-7882.

Read Part 1 of Kathy Adams’ testimony, as she writes about how she found peace and learned to trust God more deeply through Zach’s near-death experience.

                  

Sponsor message: Calvary Bible Institute (CBI)—Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. CBI is a one-year program designed to equip those who feel called to serve the Lord in full-time ministry. Click here to learn more about CBI’s programsCBILettersLogoHorizontalWhite
 
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All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2022 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.