The Russells

Bob and Judy Russell with their grandson Charlie Russell.

Every year during Thanksgiving dinner, Judy passes around a “Blessing Jar”—a tiny container filled with corn. Every family member takes a kernel of corn and then we go around the table and each person expresses gratitude to God for the most significant blessing of the past year and places their corn back in the jar.

I’m confident this year the overriding theme for all of us will be the dramatic recovery of Charlie Russell.

We’re thankful Charlie is alive. Like David, there was “but a step” between him and death.

We’re thankful some genius invented an ECMO machine and one became available for Charlie at the last minute.

We’re thankful for Faith, a wife of noble character who kept everyone informed nightly on Charlie’s progress. Such a talented, compassionate helpmate!

We’re thankful for the birth of Charity—a beautiful, healthy, petite little girl—indeed a gift of love.

We’re thankful for the many who prayed for Charlie’s recovery. Thousands of people prayed for him every day, some multiple times a day for three months.

We’re thankful for the support of friends. Christian people came alongside us to weep when we wept and rejoice when we rejoiced. Many gave generously to cover extra expenses.

We’re thankful that when Tommy came to Nashville from Lynchburg, Virginia, to help his brother in distress, he met Rebecca, who came from Chicago to help her best friend who was about to give birth, and the two fell in love.

We’re thankful for Centennial Hospital in Nashville and the dozens of gracious and capable medical personnel who took a focused interest in Charlie. They were wonderful to us all.

We’re thankful that after weeks in the ICU, Charlie’s kidneys began to function again and his lungs healed enough for him to breathe on his own and his heart settled down to an acceptable rate.

We’re thankful when Charlie came to after 77 days under sedation, his mind was clear and his emotions soon settled down.

We’re thankful God’s promises are true. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He sends His Holy Spirit to sustain and comfort us. He provides the hope of life eternal that undergirds us. He answers prayer!

We’re thankful so many people witnessed the miraculous answers to prayer. Seldom have so many been united in prayer for so long and witnessed such a dramatic, affirmative answer.

We’re thankful Charlie is now getting stronger physically, spiritually and emotionally day by day.

One of my friends listed several blessings that came from Charlie’s ordeal and remarked: “This story has helped strengthen the faith of so many. Just tell Charlie, he had to ‘take one for the team.’”