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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Who Can Understand the Mysteries of God? The ending of a chapter.

I wanted to wrap up the last two blogs I have posted by bringing everyone up to speed on the progress. Scott has been on a liver donor waiting list for nearly two years without any luck and it was not looking good for him to receive one. Thus the reason I volunteered to become a live donor for him and set a surgery date for this coming May 17th. Last week, Scott, for the second time in less than a month ended up in the hospital with another episode with only 12 days remaining before our surgeries. Prayers were going up like crazy that he would recover quickly and remain healthy enough to enter into surgery. Honestly I was becoming afraid he wouldn’t make it so close to the finish line but in a whirlwind of events that lasted for two days, doctors and surgery team announced that a 21-year-old had died locally that might be a match for him. Incredibly he was the correct blood type and his liver was a match as well. Then word came that the liver was a unique liver with two completely separate arteries entering into it so it could be divided and shared. Amazingly across the street at a children’s hospital, a two-year-old was also waiting for a liver transplant and everyone had the same blood type. Two surgeries later both Scott and a toddler have a new lease on life and are recovering well. Two years in the waiting and suddenly everything changes.

As I try to process all of this, I am left in profound awe. It is without a doubt that we serve a God who is mysterious in his ways. He is incomprehensible in magnitude and full of love beyond anything imaginable. How can we possibly understand our parts in his story or the impact we have when we submit to his leading.

The book of Job sums it up like this...

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.”  Job 11:7-9 NIV

Or King Solomon who said:
A man’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?
Proverbs 21:30

As much as I would like to know the “Why” of what he does, it is not mine to question in disrespect but to seek to understand and obey his promptings. Honestly, my heart is heavy and elated at the same time. Today the good news of Scotts successful surgery and of a young toddlers, is weighed against the loss of a young man who died in the prime of his life and took my place as the life giving donor. On one side, a wife, mother and family rejoice at the future they will have and on the other side a mother and family grieve the loss of their son. Who knows or who can comprehend Gods plans for us but we can rest assured that he is working all things for our good to those who love him and are called according to his purposes. Little did this young man know that in his death he would heal a family or answer the prayers of countless people. How do any of us know the effect of our obedience to a God who so loved the world that he gave his only son to save it. How can we know the impact of our lives that are lead in obedience to his requests?

I would not say that the last 6 months have been easy for me but I am very glad to have been allowed to be a part of Scott's story. In this life we are allowed the privilege of entering into the tapestry of another person’s life. Each one of us has a choice, like the Good Samaritan to stop or walk by. I would personally advocate that life really does not become worth living until you are willing to lose it.

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

Matthew 16:25-26 NIV.

I do wonder why God presented to me this opportunity and then like Abraham and his son at the very last moment is rescued from the course he was on (Gen 22). In this case, the "Why" may never be answered but I can search in my finite way to understand and learn from it. In my willingness to lay down my life for a friend it has been far reaching. My decisions ultimately affected my wife and my children and in the last six months I have had some very special talks with Monique and each of my children. Each one supported my decision 100 percent but each had to come to terms with it in their own way. I remember asking Monique if she was willing to lose me to death in my desire to save the life of a friend and his family. Her support of this came with a definite "Yes". I am thankful for her view on life and the realization that life is short and we must live it fully and with purpose. I am also grateful for my children who supported me and said that this was fitting of who I was and of my life's purpose.

On a personal note, I have become much more in tune with my own mortality. Life is very short but was I willing to ultimately give it up for a friend? The answer was "Yes" but there were many days I spent time with my children and granddaughter that I asked God for my will and not his. I love my family dearly and I especially love watching them live life to it fullness. It is an unbelievable feeling to sit back in the warmth of your life and just enjoy watching your children live life. I have been amazingly blessed in this life despite myself and my many mistakes. I feel as though God has graciously overlooked all my wrongs, the many years of my rebellion and blessed me with mercy and grace.

To sum up this chapter in my life, I am so thankful that Scott and his family will enjoy many years ahead together. I am also grateful to those who spoke to me of how this was encouraging and impactful to them. I appreciated the cards in the mail from complete strangers who wanted to just say thank you for the inspiration and that they were praying for me. I am thankful to my family for supporting me in this and their willingness to see this through to its conclusion. I am also deeply thankful to so many of you have given generously and sacrificially to Scott and his family, who signed up to bring meals, volunteered to take our children off our hands while I was recovering and to my parents who were willing to fly out and help us through the process. 

 In closing, let me encourage each of you to take risks in helping those we walk by in this life. It may not always turn out the way you hope, or be painless in the process but you will never know the impact you will have unless you try. If I have learned nothing else of the “Why” of this adventure, I have come to understand that I am cared for and loved by many and leave appreciating this precious gift called life and the journey God has me on.

CS Lewis sums it up so well in the following:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity