Samuel’s Story


“…`Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” 1 Sam. 3:10

​For years I told this as a straight story. After all, God did a miracle. How could I add to that? I couldn’t. But as I began sharing what God had done, I noticed audiences distancing themselves from me and from the others involved—almost into an Us and Them, as if we were something special. As if what had happened to us couldn’t happen to them. They lost sight of the fact that we are just average women in love with a VERY SPECIAL GOD.

​So, I’m going to tell the story with a few add-ons. Things that may help explain how this could have happened to us regular folk. I hope it will encourage you to believe God for a miracle in whatever part of your life needs one—because God is not a respecter of persons. He rains his love down on each of us as He sees fit, and we receive when we trust Him.

​We hear the word miracle, and we immediately think in terms of mighty men and women of God. When we have a big need, we go hunting for the Big Guns, the famous evangelist, the TV preacher, someone with a miracle-working record.

​But guess what? Jesus said He’d send the Comforter to us—not just to them, but to us. He said He’d fill us with His Spirit. That He’d empower us—you and me. He wants to do miracles in my life and in YOUR life. THROUGH YOU.

​The story I’m going to tell you recounts just one of the miracles I’ve seen since I fell in love with my Lord Jesus. Granted, it is the biggest, the most flamboyant. The only one that got me interviewed on TV and in newspapers. But that exposure merely gave me—and the others involved—the opportunity to give credit where credit is due. Pointing always to Jesus. To Jehovah Rapha. Our Shalom. God, the Almighty.

​We were Theresa, Dee, Ginny, and Normandie—four women ranging in age from 27 (Theresa) to 37 (me), friends from church, and board members from Women Aglow whose children played together. Theresa and I had begun a food and clothing ministry called The Lord’s Storehouse a few years earlier. Now, with Dee’s help, we were meeting to plan the expansion into a meals-on-wheels program. We lived on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, in farm and boating country, where the most rocking church, the one with a Charismatic pastor, was Christ United Methodist up on High Street, which three of us attended. On Sundays, Dee headed across the street to the big Methodist church on the hill. The main problem with these Methodists (besides the fact that they can’t get together with each other when they’re across the street or around the corner, especially if the around-the-corner one clapped on the off-beat) is that they run their church by committee (majority vote, not God’s vote). Back then, the Committee didn’t think that Kent County needed a food and clothing ministry. But God had told us it did—and guess who was right? Two ladies, a garden shed, bags of donated clothes, ties to an Aglow friend at the Salvation Army, and a few years later we had a rented store front and an multi-church ministry (the Presbyterians and an interdenominational fellowship had joined us) that was truly community based.

​At the time of the miracle, Dee had approached us with the idea for hot meals to minister to the lonely and the shut-ins. She, Theresa, and I were meeting at Dee’s house in Chestertown to pray about it. Then Ginny called, distraught about her day. Dee said, “Come on over and pray with us.”

​Ginny’s children, Justin 6, Sarah 4, and Samuel 16 months, joined the three children already there: mine, Dee’s, and Theresa’s. After lunch, we sent them to two-and-a-half-year-old Leslie’s room to play while we got to the business at hand. Someone checked on them just before we began to pray. They were having a great time with Leslie’s dream toys.

​Because we were praying, forty-five minutes passed before any of us thought to check again. This time, Ginny couldn’t find Leslie and Samuel. They weren’t in the kitchen fetching a snack or in the bathroom or the master bedroom or the brother’s room. Justin just looked over his shoulder and said, “Well, they were right here,” as he turned back to his Legos project.

​It seems that Leslie, who is large for her age (10.5 lbs at birth), had reached the handle on the back porch door to let them both outside, presumably to play on the yard toys. The weather that March 19th was warm. We weren’t worried.

​Even when we discovered that they’d left the back yard, we comforted ourselves. The neighborhood was quiet with no cars at that time of day. The only issue might have been the pool in the next block, but it was fenced.

​We split up. Dee ran toward the pool, Ginny crossed the street toward the football-stadium-sized field between backyards, and I headed toward a construction site in the other direction. Theresa stood guard over the other children.

​I’d gone about a block when I heard the scream. Immediately the knowledge dropped into my mind: Samuel has drowned. And then came these words: “But this is not unto death.”

​People talk about having the gift of faith to work miracles. Well, you and I look at ourselves and we know, don’t we, that we’re not walking around sticking out our staff and parting any Red Sea. But I’ve got good news. The gift of faith is just that: A gift. And God will give it to you when you need it. Then you’ll know that what He says is true.

​That’s what happened to me. I knew. There wasn’t a moment of doubt where I asked myself if that were really God’s voice. The words came, they nestled inside, and doubt didn’t have a chance.

​You’ve got to realize, I wasn’t some great, heroic woman of God who walked around making proclamations. Sure, I recognized God’s voice because I’d been practicing my listening skills. But something like that? The normal me would have questioned. “You sure, God? This isn’t just wishful thinking?”

​Not this time. When He dropped that gift on me and spoke to my heart, He filled me with the ability to believe Him absolutely. If He hadn’t, things might not have progressed the way they did, because from a human standpoint, it didn’t look good. And I certainly couldn’t have fixed any of it. None of us could have.

​I followed the cries and ran across that football field to find Ginny standing there dripping, clutching her lifeless son as she wailed. If you’ve ever seen a dead person, you know what I’m talking about when I say his color was white/grey, his skin like cold rubber as he hung limply across her arms. 

​According to drowning experts, a body sinks until it becomes water-logged, and then it floats again. This can take up to an hour. Samuel had fallen into an unfenced fish pond that we didn’t even know existed. He’d sunk to the bottom in about five to six feet of water and eventually had floated back to the surface. And all that time, Leslie had stood guard in her pink pants and shirt, waiting until Ginny spied her across the field. Then Leslie had pointed at Samuel as he floated face-down in front of her so that Ginny could jump in and retrieve the body.

​Again, somehow I knew what I had to do. Full of peace, I told Ginny to give her precious Samuel to me and to go call 911. She didn’t say that Dee was already phoning. She didn’t argue—which had to be God. I mean, she knew I’d never had a CPR lesson in my life while she was a trained lifeguard. And yet she handed me Samuel’s lifeless body and ran back across the football field to Dee’s house.

Without training I hadn’t a clue what to do except hold fast to those words. “This is not unto death.”

​If you look at what I did next, you’d know I would have killed Samuel if he hadn’t already been dead. Holding him upside down and pushing on his stomach to get as much water out as I could wasn’t a problem. But then Dee—who did know CPR—returned from phoning 911 at a neighbor’s house and told me to blow into Samuel’s mouth while she did the chest compressions. Later, Dee said I should have blown with shallow breaths while pinching his nose: the strength with which I forced air into him ought to have burst his little lungs. And, said Dee, once begun, CPR should never be stopped. We pushed and prodded and blew for over ten minutes—Dee was timing the compressions. I’d already been pumping Samuel’s belly and dangling him upside down for at least five minutes before Dee got there. Where was the ambulance?

​Afraid that maybe they couldn’t find us, Dee decided we should haul Samuel to the front of that house so we’d be visible. I slung Samuel like a rag doll in my arms and ran. No one breathed into him or pressed. CPR was forgotten. We ran.

​“This is not unto death.”

​Across the street, two women stood talking. A car sat at the curb, its engine running. Dee screamed for them to come help. They merely stared. Immobile.

​Three doors down on the left, Jim Siemens, a Christian college professor and sometime-EMT, dashed out of his house. Dee called to him.

​“Sorry, I’m heading out to an emergency. A drowning!” he yelled.

Dee pointed to Samuel. Finally aware that we held a victim, Jim came running. It seems that two 911 calls went in—Dee’s and Ginny’s. Imagining that two separate drownings had occurred, Jim, who only helped out when the Fire Dept was desperate, raced from lunch to answer. He brought his car. I drove while he administered CPR.

​Still, there was no pulse.

​”This is not unto death.”

​Jim, a Southern Baptist, said later that when he heard me praying and praising God as I drove, his faith had been strengthened. God had lined up His people for Samuel.

​At the hospital, it was the changing of the guard. The day shift had not yet left, and the evening shift had just arrived. Someone grabbed Samuel while they tried to soothe me—assuming I was the mother. And then Dee drove up with Ginny, who was still wet from the pond. We were herded to a private room where Ginny changed into a hospital gown, sending Dee home to phone Ginny’s husband who had an hour’s drive from his job in Annapolis.

I told Ginny what God had said. Weeping, she related that she’d fallen on her face at Dee’s and heard God whisper, “And this also that the Father may be glorified.”

​I hate to admit that though I had read the Bible through several times, it wasn’t until I looked up John 11:4 that I realized God had given us both parts of the same verse. Without the first half, the “This is not unto death,” Ginny would have continued to think God’s glory involved Samuel dying. 

​We know God sometimes uses human death for His glory. But that wasn’t His plan with Samuel. Now Ginny looked at me though teary eyes and found hope. We lifted our hands and sang praises at the top of our voices. I’m so glad God hears our praises without judging our voices. If you think I can’t carry a tune, you ought to hear Ginny, who is absolutely tone deaf. We didn’t care. As “iron sharpens iron,” so we sharpened each other’s faith.

​Outside that room, Samuel’s body was undergoing a cut down in his groin to get a catheter up to his heart. He was on oxygen, but he still had no pulse.

​Why did God wait four days to resurrect Lazarus? And why did He time Samuel’s arrival at the hospital so that the number of witnesses had doubled? Why did He wait for the staff to call Samuel’s doctor down to sign the death certificate?

​So that He might be glorified. Lazarus stank. The tests of Samuel’s blood revealed that his ph level and his CO2 level were both incompatible with life. He was dead.

​And then the pediatrician arrived, ready to sign on the dotted line. Suddenly, Samuel’s finger jerked. “Just a death twitch,” said the ER doctors. Samuel’s doctor, who remembered Samuel’s knotted umbilical cord at birth, told them to keep working.

​Just as suddenly, Samuel woke up.

​When the pediatrician came into the room with us, he said,  “Okay. You’ll have something to take home. I can’t guarantee the level of brain damage.”

​Ginny answered, “That’s what you told us when he was born.”

​The doctor shrugged. “We pumped 20 minutes of water out of his lungs. Samuel was dead for a long time.” (Remember, I’d already pumped a whole lot out myself.)

​A helicopter took Samuel to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Ginny’s husband, Jim, arrived. Grabbing my hand, Ginny begged me to go with them. Iron sharpens iron.

​Theresa took my son Joshua home with her. Dee arranged care for Ginny’s other children, and Ginny and her husband Jim and I drove first to their house and then the two and a half hours to Baltimore.

When we arrived, the doctors asked what had happened to Samuel. After we told them, they said, 

“That’s what’s on the chart, but we don’t get it. We did a CAT scan, and we can’t find any brain damage. That shouldn’t be.”

​“This is not unto death.” We told them why what shouldn’t be was.

​Before I left the hospital that evening I got to meet a family whose 5-year-old (or maybe he was 6) son Frankie had been hit by a truck. He wasn’t expected to live. We prayed together for God to touch Frankie as he’d touched Samuel.

​You do know, don’t you, that Satan hates good news? And that he’s going to do everything in his power to thwart a miracle of God?

​Three days later I woke for my morning ablutions with the thought, “Ginny’s going to call you from Baltimore and tell you Samuel is dying.”

​Now, what should I have done with that? If I’d been a mighty woman of God, I would have done more than send up a quick prayer before fixing breakfast for my crew. I would have gotten on my knees and come against the work of the devil. Instead, I got my husband and daughter out the door and took a call from Theresa.

Back in those days, we didn’t have call waiting. Midway in our conversation the operator interrupted. Ginny hysterically told me that Samuel was dying. The Chestertown hospital hadn’t bothered to get a water sample. Now his organs were being shut down by anaerobic bacteria that had grown in his lungs. Anaerobic means in the absence of oxygen. These little guys had gotten hold of Samuel while he was full of water, with no oxygen in his lungs.

​The doctors were trying every antibiotic they could think of, but they didn’t hold out much hope. I rejoiced. God had already said this would happen, which meant it hadn’t taken Him by surprise. 

​Again, Ginny took heart. Iron sharpens iron. She and Jim weren’t in this alone. I prayed with her, then said I’d round up a prayer team and be there as soon as possible.

​We were there by 10:30. Johns Hopkins, a hospital that has a statue of Jesus in the rotunda, gave us a conference room. Ginny’s evangelist father and our pastor were both there. We’d called warriors all over the country to join us. We didn’t stop praying and crying out to God all that day.Sometime that evening, the doctors did a cut down at the neck to insert a catheter. They were afraid it might release a bubble into his brain, but felt they had to go in.

​We prayed. We fasted. We reminded God of His promises and Satan that God never fails.

At ten that night, the doctor came in to tell us that Samuel had rallied. He’d live.

Samuel remained in pediatric ICU for two more weeks. The nurses began calling him their Miracle Baby.

​In the bed across the room, Frankie lay in a coma. One day Ginny came across his grandmother weeping, begging God just to let Frankie open his eyes. Ginny prayed with her. Frankie opened his eyes.

​A few days later, Ginny stood beside Frankie’s bed. The truck had crushed Frankie’s left brain, leaving his right side completely paralyzed. Ginny laid one hand on his right leg and one on his right arm, praying for God to touch him. She was startled when Frankie’s leg and arm shot up. His right leg and arm. Had she prayed with faith that God would do that? No. She’d prayed with faith in God. In Him, no matter what He chose to do. Over the thirty plus years during which I’ve followed the Lord, I’ve found the prayer of relinquishment one of the most powerful. “God, You are. Because You are, I trust You.”

​Months later,  Frankie walked up the aisle of Christ United Methodist Church in Chestertown, Maryland, to give his testimony to God’s miracle power.

​There was another child was in the ICU. The three-year-old daughter of a Methodist minister had been trapped in her car seat when her mother had driven off a bridge into an icy stream in PA. Ginny told the father about Samuel and about Frankie. The father just stared at her and said his daughter would never recover. She didn’t.

​Samuel has now graduated from college. We don’t know why God did what He did. Why he spared Samuel. Maybe it was just for Frankie. Maybe Samuel will touch other lives. His story has given many hope. When I face obstacles, I remind myself of the God I serve. Thirty some years ago when I faced the choice of believing or not, when I first began to investigate the reality of God, I knew I could only believe in a Red-Sea-parting God. One who never changed. Who still worked miracles today. Otherwise, why bother?

He has never disappointed me. God is. His grace is marvelous. If He chooses to take us home or to leave us here, He is to be glorified. If He allows me to walk through hard times or lifts me out of them, He is to be glorified.

​There was nothing special or anointed about Ginny or Dee or me or Jim Siemens. When Samuel came home from Baltimore, his pediatrician tested his motor and mental skills. Samuel passed with flying colors. Television broadcasters interviewed Dee, Ginny, and me. Dee, Jim, and I were honored for saving Samuel’s life, both in Chestertown and statewide at an Emergency Medical Services banquet. At each instance, we followed Joseph’s example in Genesis 41:16: “It’s not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”

​It wasn’t us. God did it all.

​But I believe we were positioned to hear God and to trust Him.

​We loved Him and His Word. I’d been cleaving desperately to Him in a very uncomfortable marriage, learning of Him on my own, hungry for closeness to Him. We were doing what our hands found to do and doing it with all our might  (Eccl. 9:10). We actively sought God in everything. We tried to walk humbly before Him.

​We were the most human of women, very imperfect vessels. Ginny was the only one of us who’d known God since childhood. I had all sorts of issues that God hadn’t yet worked out in me. Dee was new to this whole faith thing, but was a wonderful Martha. And that morning, Ginny had been angry at her children and at her husband, which is why she’d come to us. We loved her and we loved each other.

​The scene was set. And God stepped into our human world and changed each of us forever.

Copyright NWF 2002. All rights reserved.

Samuel’s Story (Update 2019. I understand that Samuel’s mother, Ginny Teitt, will soon be writing a book about this miracle. I’ll keep you posted, because her perspective will be much more intimate. After all, she’s his mama, and this was her baby God touched.)

Normandie  Fischer