Though you have not seen him, you love him, and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1: 8 – 9
At 5:10 A M yesterday morning, we received a text message. I immediately reached for my phone, hoping it was the news that we had been waiting for, and it was.
The brother of a close friend had gone into surgery at 4 A M and was about to receive an amazing gift of life – a new liver. He and his family had been waiting for months. And the last few days had been especially difficult as the need became greater, and he began to go through organ failure.
I could only imagine this family’s absolute relief and gratitude, concern at what might lie ahead, the hope of renewed strength and health for their brother, and the inevitable sadness of a life lost to save his. We had often talked about what this would mean – joy for one family and deep sorrow for the other. This brought much anguish for our friends, but they remained steadfast in their trust in God.
In His sovereignty, these two lives became connected in a way we will never understand. Why one was given life and the other wasn’t, is not for us to know. But they realized they could accept this organ as the gift it is and be grateful, and even in their sadness, this is how they chose to see it.
I soon responded with much love for them, thankfulness at their news, and the promise of many prayers – prayers for the brother and his entire family, but also thoughts and prayers for the other family, as well. My heart ached for their pain and despair, and I longed for Him to give them His peace. I pray they can feel comfort in knowing others were given a second chance at life because of their loved one.
Bob and I knew there would be no more sleep. We sat talking about the event unfolding in these families’ lives as we watched the darkness of morning turn to light. The most magnificent sunrise appeared slowly and surely before us over the ocean with the most spectacular array of colors. Words are simply inadequate to describe its beauty and the emotions we experienced, for we felt and saw God’s presence in the most powerful way.
I was moved to tears as I watched and prayed, thanking God for the beauty and the miracle before us, and for the knowledge, wisdom, and ability He has given man to be able to perform another miracle, giving the precious gift of life. How can anyone even begin to doubt His presence in our world and in our lives, when He is all around us for all to see!
I began to think about our own experiences with the possibility and hope of organ transplants. In a sense, I understood our friends’ experience and the painful, agonizing wait, for one of our family members went through a similar situation several years ago, and our story ended so differently. Time ran out before a new liver became available, and we were left with the deep disappointment, sadness, and grief.
Also, I know in my heart, that this could be our family going through this ordeal at this time. It’s hard not to put ourselves into someone else’s situation when similar circumstances arise. This could have been my husband, Bob, waiting for a heart.
As painful as that is for me to imagine, I know it could be our reality. He was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy 15 years ago. (a condition in which the heart becomes enlarged and weakened over time), and because of the weakened pumping of his heart, we were told that he might have to undergo a heart transplant at some point in the future. Thankfully, by the grace of God, with medication and an implanted defibrillator, he is doing well, but the possibility is always in the back of our minds. Hopefully, that day will never come, but I understand fully the value and sacrifice of such a gift from another.
I also think I may understand in some small way, the sacrifice of a living donor. What a loving, selfless act of kindness for someone to do. I am reminded of a former student, who in the past year, donated her bone marrow to an unknown recipient. A young wife and the mother of a child under the age of 1, I will never forget her gracious willingness to give an individual another chance at life.
I was so humbled by her decision to do so. I always knew she was an incredible young woman, but I never knew how much until she gave this amazing gift to another. The transplant was a success and her recipient is living a full life because of her compassion and desire to give the greatest gift she could give.
I, too, am an organ donor, but with age that may become less and less of a possibility. What an amazing gift it would be to give, but I know this rests in God’s hands.
One thing we never have to concern ourselves with in any of these situations, is whether God is present in them, for it is only through His power and grace, that it is even possible. He is present with us and is present in our circumstances. “He knows the plans He has for us – plans to give us hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29: 11)
What more proof could we possibly need? Though I have not seen Him, I believe in Him and I love Him for his goodness, strength, comfort, love, healing, peace, and hope that only He can give. I know from experience that He will fill our hearts with an “inexpressible and glorious joy” if we trust in Him. We can have His assurance that our faith will carry us through the difficulties of life if we will hold on to Him.
Even when we can’t see Him, we can know He is with us. We can believe in Him, love Him, and find hope in His everlasting love. I saw His glory and His presence in the sunrise and I know it to be true!
Our most gracious and loving Lord, thank you for your love and saving grace, and for the strength to deal with the storms of life that come our way. May our faith and love for you grow as we experience the blessings of your presence. Thank you for the glorious ways you make your presence known and for the gift of life. Be with this individual who has been given a 2nd chance at life and both families who are going through these difficult times. Fill them with your peace and your loving comfort. Amen