It's January 2015 in St. Charles, a suburb of St. Louis. Fourteen year old John Smith, of Guatemalan descent, was adopted by Caucasians Brian and Joyce Smith when John was an infant and they were on a mission in Latin America. John is at the stage of his life where he is acting out, placing barriers between himself and his parents. The only things John seems to care about are basketball having made the school team's first string - and even then he has a tendency to grandstand on the court to prove himself to Chad who he beat out for the position - hanging out with his friends, particularly his best friends Josh and Rieger, and girls, most of his thoughts toward Abby. While Brian tries to connect to John by being his buddy and talking about basketball, Joyce feels they still have to be his parents and not his friends. The church used to be Joyce's sanctuary, but even the physical building of the church and the spirituality she got from it she feels are slowly being taken away from her in she constantly butting heads with the new pastor, Jason Noble, who is trying to take the church in a progressive direction against Joyce's sensibilities. Things for the Smiths change when on Martin Luther King Day, John, Josh and Rieger, against warnings, are playing on frozen St. Louis Lake, they eventually falling through the ice into the water. While first responders are able to pull Josh and Rieger out without incident, John has fallen below the ice unconscious into the murky water below. Although firefighter Joe Marrow believes they are now dealing with a non-emergency recovery rather than an emergency rescue mission, fellow firefighter Tommy Shine is able to locate an unresponsive John. John having been in the water for fifteen minutes, CPR not having been administered until twenty minutes after the fall, and rushing him to the hospital with no pulse for forty five minutes, Dr. Kent Sutterer, the attending ER doctor who happens to be Abby's father, allows Joyce to say her goodbyes to John. It isn't until Joyce is by John's side praying for a miracle that John regains a pulse. Following, differing views emerge as to John's potential recovery and survival. Dr. Garrett, the specialist in drowning cases, can only provide his scientific opinion, which is probable death through the night, and if John does survive, he will have suffered massive and permanent neurological damage with his brain being deprived of oxygen for such a long period of time. Brian, while at the hospital, cannot get himself to see John as he can only take his faith so far before common sense as to what will happen kicks in. Joyce, who has had a need to control things around her most of her life, does so as much as she can in John's situation, while she truly does believe that a miracle can happen as she continues to look to God. Pastor Jason knows he has to bridge what gaps have emerged between him and Joyce for both their and John's sake. And Tommy, a non-religious man, knows that some higher power that day told him to stay in the water to look for John.