Looking Back on 2022: Facing Tragedy, Finding Peace

The Lord Jesus continues to work mightily through our Calvary Chapel family of churches and believers. Through January 6, 2023, relive those special moments with us as we republish Calvary Chapel Magazine’s most popular and well-read online stories of 2022.

A Mother’s Testimony—Part 1

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 Calvary Chapel Stone Mountain, GA, Senior Pastor Sandy Adams and his wife Kathy.

In this moving two-part testimony, Kathy describes how she and her family navigated this harrowing journey and the lessons she learned along the way. In Part 1, she focuses on finding peace. Look for Part 2 soon online and for the full story in the next print issue of Calvary Chapel Magazine.

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Zach Adams’ road to recovery (left to right): March 2, April 17, and July 24, 2022. “I prayed for healing—but also for the purposes of God,” shared Kathy Adams, wife of Senior Pastor Sandy Adams of CC Stone Mountain, GA, and Zach’s mom.

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Seeking Peace
Could I find and experience any measurable peace through Zach’s near-death experience?

Before all this, if you were to ask me, “Have you experienced the peace of God?”, I’d have confidently said, “Yes, absolutely.” I would have told you how I was mentally aware of God being in control of all things, how I knew He works out all things according to His purpose, and how I need not worry or fret about the future.

I would have given you all the right, pat answers. And yes, having walked hand-in-hand with Jesus as a believer for some 50 years, I had been through enough of life to know of the peace of God. And yet I quickly learned that peace is easier to experience when all is well. What happens when everything falls apart—when terrible and unthinkable events start the heart breaking, the beyond your control, the incomprehensible? Where is peace in the midst of a tailspin of fear? Is peace possible when doubt shakes my faith to the core? What happens when peace is tested?

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John 14:26-27: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I [Jesus] have said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” 

I like how the New Living Translation renders this last verse: “I am leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

I must confess, peace in this particular crisis wasn’t easy. I was struggling to find peace with God. He took me through the process of receiving His peace. But first I had to examine where I had been finding my peace. Where was I looking to find peace to carry me through such uncertainty? Would it be through worldly means or in God alone? 

It’s subtle, but we all tend to look for signs—then we have peace. Even at its best, the medical profession is not enough to evoke true peace. Would I achieve peace if I could have a measure of understanding or if I could agree with the final outcome of God’s plans? Many substitute worldly measures that only yield a heart that is still troubled. Without the deep peace of God, I was experiencing exhaustion and mental anxiety. What I needed was a peace, not as the world measures or gives, but something like I’d never experienced before.

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In Kathy’s 50-year walk with God, she mentally knew He was in control of all things, but it wasn’t until her son Zach’s near-death crisis that she experienced that peace that passes all understanding.

Finding True Peace
How did I receive this peace? It was through the deep cries of my heart before God in prayer and in the anguish of a mom for her son. I prayed for healing—but also for the purposes of God. I had to get my heart, the best I could, aligned with the providence of God, even if God’s plans for my son were different than the ones I had for him. As I cried, I lamented, laying all my heart’s desires at Jesus’ feet. When all that was left in me and all I could speak was “Jesus,” I called and cried out His name over and over and over in songs of praise to the love, greatness, power, and majesty of God exalted.

I experienced that peace—peace beyond logic, beyond understanding, and found in the truths of God. Peace wasn’t found in a guaranteed result but in knowing that God would be with me through the journey. All along the way I had to hold onto the peace of God’s presence. I had to hold onto peace when Zach was past the point of hope. 

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Peace when they had maxed out all ventilator settings, lungs popping holes because of the pressure.
Peace when his other organs were failing—his abdomen so bloated that his bowels were about to burst, his kidneys maintained by machines.
Peace when infections wouldn’t relent to medications.
Peace when my precious son’s body was swollen with rashes and sores so that he was hardly recognizable.
Peace when I could see his heart beating faster and faster, trying to, but not able to, keep up.
Peace when I witnessed seizures without explanation.
Peace when you are desperate for him to wake up, and he won’t wake up.
Peace when they finally said, “His lungs are beyond ability to sustain life, and he will probably not recover.”
Peace when he did regain consciousness—when the real recovery begins.

I had to hold onto Jesus tighter and tighter, closer than ever before. Could I still have peace when all is loss? Yes. Peace comes because of grace—based on His perfect love for me, for Zach, for the purposes of God.

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Pastor Sandy Adams of CC Stone Mountain hands the mic off to his son Zach to share the testimony of his brush with death, in good humor, at the Deep South Pastors & Leaders Conference in September. Zach prays his story would minister to anyone in the midst of a trial. Photo Josh Larson

He is now back home and no longer in the critical phase of recovery. God could have healed his entire body as He did his lungs, but Zach continues to regain his strength and function in his hands and wrists. Peace is still something that we are learning.

Stay in This Lane
“Stay in this lane” was a mindset struggle. As a registered nurse, my clinical knowledge was too much to bear at times. My fear of future ramifications for Zach had the power to overtake my thinking from the present reality to the “what-ifs.” When I allowed that thought process, anxiety and distress ruled me. As a result, I was unable to solve the tasks for that moment as I was already living days, months, and even years in the future. This was especially difficult when the prognosis was so grim and my biggest “what-ifs” were moving into the “what-ares.” God had to confront this destructive way of thinking.

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I needed to think in the healing and recovery lane—and stay there. That is where I would find God’s strength, peace, wisdom, and discernment. I needed to stay in His presence for each day as it came. If Zach’s condition changed, I knew God would still be with me. My call was to stay hand-in-hand with the One who would carry me. “Stay in this lane” was my prayer, my cry for weeks as I found my greatest peace—my thinking aligned with God’s call.


Look for Part 2 online soon. The full story will appear in print in Issue 94 of Calvary Chapel Magazine.


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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.

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