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Kay Harms/Portraits magazine

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Healing of 2-year-old has ripple effect on church, community

SAHUARITA, Ariz. (BP) -- Robert McDonald knew God could work all things together for good, according to the promise of Romans 8:28. But a chain of events that began with catastrophe on Super Bowl Sunday has left him and his church family forever changed. The McDonald family had joined friends to watch the Super Bowl at a home in Amado, Ariz., but all attention turned to 2-year-old Jace when he was found at the bottom of the backyard pool. No one knew how long the child had been underwater, but he was blue when they pulled him out of the pool. "We just started doing CPR and praying," Robert McDonald said. First-responders soon arrived and took over the life-saving efforts while the McDonalds and their friends continued to lay hands on Jace and pray for his life. Robert and his wife Stephanie, members of Common Ground Church in Sahuarita, Ariz., continued to trust God with their son's welfare as he was flown to University Medical Center in Tucson. Even though they were told to prepare for the worst, they believed God could and would save their child's life. The next day, on Feb. 6, the attending physician told the McDonalds, "Your son is done, he's gone. There's nothing you can do." But the parents continued to have faith. While the McDonalds fought the battle of their lives on their knees, thousands of others began to intercede on their behalf as well. The Common Ground Church family had put the word out through Facebook that one of theirs was in danger, and a prayer vigil was organized for Feb. 7 at Sahuarita Town Lake. Hundreds from the church and community turned out to pray on behalf of Jace and his parents and three older sisters. Despite the family's hope and faith, doctors at University Medical Center continued to prepare them for Jace's death. "But there was one doctor, a third-year resident, who was different," Robert said. "He even carried himself differently than the other physicians -- he had an unusual confidence about him. And while all the others began to avoid us, this one doctor continued to remain hopeful." It later surfaced that the young doctor had taken an unpopular stand among the attending physicians. An email from his mother recounted that he had wanted to be a doctor from an early age, but he also had known "the Great Physician" since childhood. The resident had begun to pray for Jace when he was brought into the emergency room, the mother wrote. Robert told the Sahuarita Sun, a community newspaper that published a story titled "Jace's journey teaches the power of prayer," that the young doctor stopped by as Jace was moved out of ICU. "The real reason I'm here," he told Robert and Stephanie, "is to tell you your son, when he arrived, was dead. There is no medical evidence or reason for your son to be alive. He's a miracle, and you need to remind him of this."