“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7).


Beyond Understanding But Not Without Peace


by Cliff Gribick


Cliff and Carol Gribick along with their 3 children Jason, Meredith and Luke, live in South Carolina.  Jason, the oldest son, holds an MBA;  B.A. degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting; and an Associates degree in Marketing.  Meredith is recently graduated with a culinary degree. Luke, through God’s mercy and grace, continues a daily schedule of intensive occupational, physical and speech therapy along with an individual educational plan set within a home school environment.


On February 2, 2000, at 2 P.M. the Gribick household would suddenly be thrust into a maelstrom that would test their faith in God; only to find His peace and love would carry them through a challenge beyond their understanding.


Luke, the Gribick’s youngest son was coming out of the shower when Carol heard a thump coming from within the bathroom area. Carol went to investigate the sound; thinking her son was involved with some type of horseplay. As she opened the bathroom door Luke was attempting to dress himself ; but something was wrong, very wrong. Luke with a faint voice said to his mother, “Mom, I think I’m dying!” and then collapsed into his mother’s arms.


Frantically, Carol carried Luke’s limp body into the master bedroom and noticed Luke was not breathing. Carol, a registered nurse, immediately administered CPR. Jason was home from college on this particular afternoon and had already called 911 for the EMS team. The paramedics arrived at the home of the Gribicks’ within five minutes but worked on Luke for 55 minutes before taking him to the Greenville Hospital emergency trauma room.


Cliff arrived at the hospital shortly after the EMS team. “The scene in the emergency room,” Cliff would comment later, “was like something from a television series, only this was for real and there would be no break for a commercial.”


As nurses and doctors administered life saving techniques to Luke, Cliff and Carol stood off to one side of the emergency room doing what they knew should be done during this time of confusion and anxiety; pray to God that the medical team overseeing Luke would have the wisdom and peace to stabilize their son.


The ensuing hours found the Gribicks along with a number of friends from their church, Faith Baptist Church of Taylors, South Carolina, and Luke’s school, quietly exchanging conversation in the emergency waiting area. Luke’s condition was foremost on everyones’ mind.


Eventually a nurse came to the area where the Gribicks were sitting and invited the family to a private room where one of the doctors would report on Luke’s condition. A small gathering of friends accompanied the Gribicks to the designated area and patiently waited for the doctors arrival.


Within a few minutes the Gribicks were greeted by two doctors ready to explain what had happened to Luke. It didn’t take long into the conversation, with the attending physicians, for Cliff and Carol to realize Luke’s condition was serious with severe complications that would be life changing for the entire household.


It had been discovered, that during the time of Luke’s heart not beating properly there had been a deprivation of oxygen to the brain causing, what is termed, anoxia. The cardiologist assured Carol she had done everything correct during CPR to save Luke’s life. Cliff and Carol would later reflect on Who saved their sons life and both agreed it was God, the One of mercy and compassion, Who allowed Luke to live.


The accompanying pediatric intensivist went on to explain that Luke would have severe deficiencies for the balance of his life. A dark table had been set concerning Luke’s future. With unspoken words the Gribicks immediately set Jesus Christ, the One Who dispels all darkness, as the centerpiece for this particular table.


For Cliff and Carol; circumstances would not be allowed to dictate their reaction nor would their hope and faith in Jesus Christ falter; but a peace as found in Philippians 4:7 seemed to calm the moment. ” And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”


Shortly after consultation with the doctors Cliff and Carol were accompanied by a nurse to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of the Childrens’ Hospital, part of the Greenville Hospital System, to see their son Luke.


In the days and nights which followed, there seemed to be an endless flow of nurses and doctors, monitors that continuously calibrated Luke’s vital signs and tests which seemed never to end.


From the time of his arrival, February 2nd, Luke had been on a ventilator but on February 14th-Valentines day- the ventilator was removed allowing him to breathe on his own.


The care, concern and attention for Luke’s recovery by the medical personnel at Childrens Hospital was always evident . Sensitivity for the family members was a priority, second only to the patients needs. Cliff would make it a point to remind the nurses ” if you should have a family member, relative, or friend that tells you they have had a stressful day at work just have them call me; and I’ll remind them what a stress filled day can be!”


As Luke’s condition stabilized he was transferred to a step down unit called the Closed Observation Unit where the Gribicks awaited the next phase of recovery; the surgical implantation of a pacemaker.


During the first few weeks of Luke’s hospitalization it became evident to Cliff, Carol, Jason and Meredith, as Christians, this was not a time to diminish the light of Hope found in Jesus Christ but simply be a reflection of the mercy and comfort which God provides during times of trials and testing.


In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 a wonderful verse can be found to illustrate the power of God’s word concerning mercy and comfort:


“Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”


Word finally came, on March 3, that Luke would be flown by jet to the Medical University of South Carolina located in Charleston for further evaluation and the introduction of a pacemaker.


Upon completion of their stay in Charleston the Gribicks would return to Greenville South Carolina where Luke would begin rehabilitation at at the Roger C. Peace Hospital, for Traumatic Brain Injury. Due to the lack of oxygen to Luke’s brain, from the event of Feb.2nd, his cognitive (thinking), physical and emotional functioning were greatly affected.


With Luke’s arrival at Roger C. Peace Hospital he was one step closer to home but not before Luke and his family would be introduced to the expected daily therapy required as part of Luke’s recovery.


In a matter of two months, Luke, who once enjoyed playing trumpet and piano, playing tennis with his sister Meredith or letting his older brother Jason win at video games was now dependent for every need and must relearn many of the things taken for granted.


Luke was released from Roger C. Peace on May 3rd and is currently home with his family continuing the task of recovery. During the brief stay at Roger C. Peace the love and concern shown by the doctors, nurses and staff for Luke was apparent in all areas of patient care to which the Gribick family will always be grateful.


There is no real closing to the testimony of the Gribick family because it is a daily walk, one which must continually reflect the peace and comfort of God no matter what circumstances may occur.


Perhaps Carol phrased it best when someone asked her: “What is carrying your family through this trial?” Carol replied: ” Prayer has taken us this far and prayer will be with us to the journeys end.”


Before a person can know the peace of God they must first have peace with God. If you would like to know more about peace with God, which Cliff, Carol, Jason, Meredith and Luke each have found through His Son Jesus Christ, please visit Promise of Hope.


Along the way many wonderful people have become a part of Luke’s life and the Gribick household. Luke regained his speech on July 4, 2000, and use of his legs on July 10, 2000.  Some photos are available to view in the photo section of  No Tears In Heaven.


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