This spring’s blockbuster film Breakthrough traced the miraculous story of a young St. Louis boy who fell through an icy lake and was pulled free after being trapped underneath. Rushed to the hospital, John Smith had no pulse for nearly forty minutes. But against the expectations of almost everyone, he woke up! And then made a complete recovery.

In the moment when John’s doctor softly invited his mother Joyce to say goodbye to her unconscious son, she took a decidedly different approach! Joyce shares the real story behind one of the most poignant scenes you’ll ever see.

“I could obviously see they had no life signs from him whatsoever. The firefighters told us when they pulled him out he that was he was gone. He was dead.”

“I just at that moment reached down inside myself to the place where God abides. It was that point in time the Lord had been preparing me for. I thought, my whole life I’ve heard about the Holy Spirit raising Christ Jesus from the dead. I said, ‘God. Either You are who You say You are, or You’re not. Lord, please send Your Holy Spirit and bring me back my son.'”

And then something indescribable happened.

“To the amazement of the nurses and doctors, immediately his heart started beating. They started hollering, ‘I’ve got a beat! I’ve got a heartbeat! I’ve got a heartbeat! I can’t believe it! I’ve got a heartbeat! They were in shock.”

“There were probably 25 to 27 professionals in the room that day, and God could have chosen any time to jump start John’s heart. He was going to do it. But it was at that moment. It was like God said, ‘OK. You do everything that you can possibly do. Then step back, and watch what I’m going to do.'”


Joyce Smith is the real life behind the true life story of the major motion picture Breakthrough – tracing the simply miraculous recovery of her son John after falling through an icy lake. It’s made over fifty million dollars at the box office since its release this spring, and is now available on DVD, Bluray and Digital Copy.

On the Road with Joyce Smith

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