Part of the reason why COVID-19 is so terrifying is that we have no idea what form it will take if we contract it. Some people have mild symptoms and don’t need any medical intervention — and if we could choose what version we’d get, it’d surely be that one.
But the virus also strikes and kills people who were, up to that point, relatively healthy. Whether or not you have pre-existing conditions, your survival isn’t guaranteed.
Rory Baker, a pastor at Fruit of the Spirit Ministries in Greensboro, North Carolina, was just 54 years old when he caught the virus in April. He had no known pre-existing conditions, and his wife, Melissa, thought he’d recover quickly.
“So I said, ‘OK, it’ll be a couple of days and he would be home,’ and unfortunately that was not the case,” she told WFMY-TV.
“The doctor called and that was on the 5th. He called just to kind of let me know what was going on and what the next step would be if there was no improvement.”
“That Monday, April 6, I did get the call that evening, that night, that they were getting ready to place him on the ventilator. When I initially got the call that the ventilator will be the next step, I just felt like, ‘If I could get to the hospital, I could be closer to him and that will bring me a sense of peace.'”
So she made the trek to the hospital to pray twice a day, pressing her palms against the glass window of the building that held her husband and asked God to help him, the doctors and staff.
Melissa, a woman of faith, kept praying. During her FaceTime meetings with medical staff, she would ask what specifics she should request next.
“I would often just tell them not to give up on my husband, that he was a fighter and my faith was in God and I asked the doctor, ‘What is it that we need to pray for? Myself, my family and my church family and my community? What should we pray for?'” she said. “I continued to go to the hospital in the mornings and pray, and I will put my handprint on the glass and I will go back in the evening and I will continue to pray.”
One day, a hospital fitness staff member, Rodney Simpson, paused to speak to Melissa. Worried he’d ask her to stop, she was quick to explain what she was doing.
“I did tell him that I was the one placing the fingerprints on the glass and explained to him that my husband was a patient in the hospital and that he was still on a ventilator and I had come by praying each day,” she explained.
Instead of asking her to stop, though, he asked to join her — a request and subsequent action that strengthened Melissa and helped her feel God’s presence.
“He asked me if he could pray with me and at that point I started to pray, and I prayed, and when I stop praying, he started to pray,” she said. “It really just blessed me. It blessed me because I knew his words were sincere and at that moment I truly felt like he was an angel from the Lord and that God was truly hearing my prayers.”
Of course, Melissa wasn’t the only one putting in a good word for her husband; the pastor had an entire congregation praying for a miracle, and his family diligently joined in.
After over 80 days at the hospital, Rory Baker was able to leave and go back home. While he has a long way to go in terms of recovery and management, his family — especially his mother — are sure about why he survived.
“I couldn’t do nothing but praise God,” his mother, Betty Baker, told WGHP-TV, “because I knew he had just answered our prayers because the doctors only gave him 10 percent to live, but God said, ‘No, I got 90 to add on.'”
“I feel like the world has been lifted off my shoulder,” sister Ronda Baker said. “I mean it was just a feeling that you could never give again.”
The church and community turned up on Rory Baker’s doorstep to celebrate and welcome him back to the land of the living. People in cars and on foot, in minivans and fire trucks, drove by in a parade that took over eight minutes to pass.
“I love them,” the pastor said. “I love them, and I tell people this, never take a day for granted.”
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