As I write this Thursday morning, one of our closest friends is being prepped for transplant surgery. After only eight weeks on a waiting list, the call came that somewhere in Colorado a young man had been critically injured in a car accident. He had signed a donor card and was a good match. What had until now been a theoretical, someday possibility suddenly became, “Let’s go, this is real!”
After talking to the transplant coordinator, our friend’s first reaction was to earnestly pray for the donor and his family. After all, we know from firsthand experience that God can bring to life even the dead, and this man was not dead yet. Our friend was more than willing to wait, should God choose to heal him. But an few hours later came another call—there was no brain function and the doctors were taking the man off life support.
The sober reality is that for most organs to be available to save one life, another life must end. Of course, that life was ending any way, and we’re all grateful for this last gift from a person we’ll never know. But what keeps running through my head is how true this is for all of us. Having just celebrated Easter, we are freshly aware that we have eternal life because Jesus was willing to die for us. Even more, He wasn’t in an accident—He gave His life intentionally.
The next step in the transplant process involved more waiting… extensive tests were run on the organs to make sure they were healthy. When that hurdle was cleared, it was finally time to drive to the hospital. It was then 3 a.m.
Apparently antigens can arise at any time from all sorts of environmental exposures, so at this point our friend, who is already a living pin cushion, is undergoing even more tests. And then—more waiting. Pending the test results, surgery is scheduled for early this afternoon.
It seems a bit strange that we can swap around body parts in the same way a mechanic replaces a broken water pump or failed gasket. Yet again, isn’t that what God does with us? We have a tendency to think that given just a bit of polish here, just some mending there, and we’ll be as good as new. But God doesn’t just fix up our old habits to be a bit more presentable. That isn’t good enough. Rather, He renews us:
- “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)
- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come [Or Christ, that person is a new creation]: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
I love that. God gives us a “self” transplant! And the best part is, we don’t have to qualify for a donor list and wait weeks, months, or even years, hoping that the right match will come along and save us. We’ve already been chosen to receive God’s new life. All we have to do is show up for the surgery.
And a note from Friday morning… the surgery went well, everything is working properly, and we praise God for His goodness and mercy.