By Robert Hull
The 700 Club
In November of 2011, Nathan and Amy Gilbert, along with their 2 daughters and son, Andrew, traveled to Orlando, Florida, for their annual trip to Disney World. But a week into their trip, Andrew–who was 2 years old at the time–, complained that his stomach was hurting.
“As soon as I took him into the bathroom, I held him, he kind of collapsed on my shoulder,” Amy said. “And I felt that he was just really sweaty.”
By the time Nathan, an ER physician, got Andrew back to the hotel room, his eyes were rolled back in his head, he was passing out, and his lips were pale. They immediately rushed him to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital.
“He just laid there and sort of moaned and was, you know, his heart rate kept getting faster. And he kept getting less and less responsive,” Nathan said.
“The night in the ER was absolutely the worst night of my life,” Amy said.
ER doctors ran a series of tests–a CAT scan, an ultrasound, and an MRI. Doctors eventually discovered that Andrew’s intestines had twisted.
“In his case everything was where it should be, according to the doctors,” Nathan said. “But the ligament that held the part, down here, on the lower left side was lax and so it twisted over on itself. Just like a heart attack; there’s not blood getting there into the bowel. And so as it’s not getting there, it’s just dying.”
He was rushed back for an emergency surgery and was scheduled for a second follow-up surgery that lasted over 8 hours. That night, Andrew’s heart rate went through the roof, and by the next morning, he had become septic. He was placed on a ventilator and a feeding tube.
“He lost about 1/3 of his small intestines and he lost about half of his large intestine,” Nathan said.
“The surgeon came out,” Amy said, “He said, ‘Your child’s life – we are going to have to take it minute by minute.’ He didn’t say hour by hour or day by day, he said, ‘minute by minute.’ I could tell in his eyes, that my child could die.”
Andrew battled for his life in Florida for over 6 weeks—fighting dangerous infections and the damaging effects of long-term pain medications. Faced with the fear of losing their son, the couple turned to God.
“I went down to the gift shop and I thought, ‘okay, so we’re going to be here awhile,’ Amy said. “So I got my magazines and I took them up to the room and that’s really the first time I felt God speak to me. And He said, ‘You can’t look at magazines. You can’t watch TV. You can’t get on the computer. It’s just Me and you. And this is going to be a fight. And I want you to keep your eyes on Me. And so I threw the magazines away.”
“I knew the doctors had done all they could do—so I was holding on and keeping my eyes on God.”
Amy and Nathan weren’t alone in their prayers—people from all over the nation started praying for Andrew as well.
“Everybody was calling; people at my work, friends. They were all keeping in touch with us,” Nathan said.
“The prayer effort was amazing,” Amy said. “God had just raised all these prayer warriors just from all over.”
Finally, after 46 days, Andrew was able to fly home to Knoxville, Tennessee. He underwent one final surgery and was healthy enough to go home 10 days later. He continued to improve rapidly. His family contributes it to the power of prayer.
“The Lord made Himself real. He made Himself alive like He’d never been alive in my life before,” Amy said. “I got to experience first hand that He’s the Healer.”
Today, Andrew has no complications from the surgeries and is a healthy 6-year-old. His parents say they are thankful for the strength God gave the entire family to overcome.
“It’s amazing watching him play ball. Everything is just enjoyable,” Nathan said. “You wouldn’t know anything is wrong with him.”
“Seeing Andrew, it is just a testimony to God’s goodness and I’m so thankful,” Amy said. “When you don’t have anybody else to turn to; the doctors can only do so much—You turn to God and He will prove Himself worthy. He will prove Himself worthy every time.”