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Pulling the plug on Joe Suarez

“Pull the plug. Take him off life support. He’s not going to live, and even if by some chance he does, he will be nothing more than a vegetable.” That’s what the doctors told Donna in January 2013 about her son. Joe Suarez, who had been in a coma for over a month.

Joe’s story is gripping. It actually emerges in two parts — two miracles — so that is the way we will tell it. It involves his miraculous delivery from drug addiction and his rescue from his death bed.

Joe is quick to thank God and His Son Jesus Christ for his miracles, but readers may not recognize the names Joe uses. He prefers the Hebrew names for God and Jesus Christ — Yahweh and Yahshua Hamashiach, respectively.

The year was 2013. Joe was 35 years old, and for much of that time he had lived a troubled life. He was raised by his mother without a father. As time went on, he was introduced to methamphetamines. That introduction predictably developed into an addiction. Then he met Melissa who joined him in his meth addiction. Drugs ruled their troubled lives, and in the midst of the turmoil, they had two children. Their daughter Hailey was born in 2000, and their son Hayden was born in 2007.

Joe and Melissa continued their turbulent, drug infected existence until Melissa decided to leave in 2010. That left Joe with his drugs and his children. Four months later, without any further word from Melissa, Joe filed for custody of his children. In February of 2011, he was awarded full custody of Hailey and Hayden.

Life limped along for Joe and the kids, and then right out of the blue, Melissa showed up one day in December 2011. Eleven-year-old Hailey was spending the night with a friend, and Hayden was home with Joe.

It didn’t take long for hostility to break out between Joe and Melissa, so Joe, not wanting his son to see his parents fighting, called his mother to come and watch Hayden. Meanwhile, Joe left the house. With that, Melissa and Donna began a quarrel that threatened to turn violent, so Donna went to a neighbor’s to call the police. Joe sees this as divine intervention from Yahweh to break him from his drug addiction.

As a result of Donna’s call to the police, Child Protective Services got involved. They took Hayden to a foster home, and Hailey remained with her friend. This put Joe in a God directed tailspin. Up to this time, he had never had a desire to abandon his use of drugs, but with the prospect of losing his children, he was now obsessed with breaking the stranglehold meth had on him. Yahweh was at work in his life. In order to keep his children, Joe agreed to participate in the Voluntary Family Maintenance program. With this, Hailey and Hayden returned home.

The VFM program required Joe to call CPS every day. He would listen to a recording, and if he heard the prearranged code, he had to report that day and submit to a drug test. There were some weeks that he had to report three or four times.

At the same time, Joe enrolled in Fresno New Connections, which required his attendance to their meetings three times a week. Joe recalls “This was Yahweh, my Way-Maker, making a way for me and my family.” By December 2012, Joe was clean and sober. In his words, he was not “walking with the devil anymore.”

On the day after Christmas, he and his children went to a skate park. They had received new razor scooters for Christmas and wanted to ride them. Surprisingly, Melissa joined them for what was supposed to be a family Christmas celebration. In a few days, he would graduate from Fresno New Connections and would be officially declared “drug-free.” Joe’s had experienced his first miracle, but the enemy wasn’t through with him yet. Having lost the battle to keep Joe bound to drugs, now, having no use for him — he wanted to kill him. Before the day was over, Joe was taken to the hospital bleeding from the eyes and ears and vomiting. He had an accident and things looked bad, but Yahweh wasn’t through. He had another miracle for Joe.

Next week we’ll write about that.


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