On this day (Sunday, December 30th) 5 years ago we sat in a Children's waiting room while our 13 month old baby boy got a new liver. (Click here for a play-by-play look back at that day.)
Because of our own experiences, I am always touched by similar stories. The most recent was one I saw on the news just before Christmas, the story of a little girl living at 'our' Children's for over 4 months waiting on a heart transplant.
My emotional connection to that particular story probably had a lot to do with it being Christmas, since Alan's own life-saving transplant came less than a week after Christmas Day.
Her story stayed with me enough that she came to mind during a middle of the night feeding. As I nursed Daniel, I began to pray for the little girl. I prayed she would receive her new heart soon. As it often happens in these situations, I realized all over again what that would mean.
For her to get a new heart means someone will have to die. Someone that is living right now, laughing, and loving. I have come to believe that to pray for these situations is not to pray for someone to die, because that is,sadly, going to happen anyway. We are praying for that poor family to say 'yes' to donation.
That still doesn't make the thought any easier that someone has to die for another to live.
Then I think about myself, and my own once-terminal condition. All of us, at some point, are dying. Except unlike the girl in the news story, who has done nothing wrong to cause her body to fail,
our spiritual death is the result of our own wrongs. Our hearts are broken, diseased, and filled with selfishness and sin, and the only way for them to find new life is death.
The death that paid for my own condition began as a tiny new life in a manger many years ago.
The Lord of all Creation was born as a baby that grew into a boy, and a man. He lived and laughed and loved, too. And then he died. For me. For my diseased heart. And for you and yours. But praise God, Jesus conquered death and lived again. He lives today, waiting for each of us to come to him.
In this season of gifts and giving, let's not forget the One gift, the only gift, that really matters. Our Children's hospital's motto is "The One for children". Just so, Jesus is The One for you. I know from experience that when the gift of physical life is offered we humbly and gratefully fall to our knees and accept it. It is our only hope. The gift of life that Jesus offers is our only spiritual hope. Without it, without Him, without humble acceptance of our broken, sinful condition and his perfect gift, there is no life and healing.
We are spending this day thankful for Alan's life and the willingness of his donor family to say 'yes'.
We praise God for the help and healing he has given us these past 6 years. We pray for our precious donor family, and we pray for you, to know the Gift of Life that God has given, his own Son, for each of us.