People have asked me before if I believe in miracles. I can, and without any hesitation, state that I most certainly do. The kind of miracles that defy our rational ability to understand. The kind of miracles that blow away our conception of reality. Miracles to inspire us and to remind us that there is ALWAYS hope.
The problem to most people, I am afraid, is that we have turned a blind eye to the miracles that surround us. In fact, miracles are so prevalent in our life that we often turn a blind eye to them. Take for instance breathing. Doctors and scientists have come a long way in explaining the process of respiration and the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide that takes place in our lungs. We have an incredible understanding of the need for oxygen on a cellular level to support the basic and complex functions of life.
And yet this miraculous process, breathing, is so often taken for granted that we miss the importance of the miracles taking place right within our own body.
On Sunday morning, right before I was to get up and begin this message, my wife came over to me and explained that she had just gotten a message from a family member that another loved family member who has been on dialysis for several years now just got the message that a donor kidney was now ready for him. Watching this person struggle with health issues (caused by a mutated gene) for the past several years has been difficult. It can easily lead to questions of justice, mercy, and compassion as we see loved ones hurt and struggle. I make no excuses here-- I believe God has a lot to answer for in the moment that I get to have that direct conversation (To help understand this, I believe God does hold a lot of responsibility for the horrible events that take place in this world, and to hold that responsibility accountable we were sent Jesus).
It has been less than 24 hours since the surgery took place and there are still a lot of questions to answer and a long road of recovery, but so far everything seems to be going well. I can not fully re-count the spirit of joy that was present as the doctor (who must witness these kinds of miracles all too often to be visibly overcome by them) announced that the procedure was a success and everything was all right. You could feel as the father of this young man broke down in tears of joy. God was present in a mighty way this day.
Today I got to visit with the recipient of this new fully functioning kidney. We talked of the sorrow of the loss of life for the donor and the grief their family members must be experiencing with this loss. And we talked of the joy and excitement that comes with the promise of a whole new life re-opening up! We comment that God specializes in resurrection, and that the choice of new life is one that is made available to us every day. Today this young man has a whole new understanding of the choices now made available through sacrifice and redemption.
Fear and anxiety still abound as much still needs to take place in this young man's body. The difficult road to recovery will be full of challenges. Too much can still go wrong in this process to say he is now out of the woods. But for today it reminds us of the chances God provides us to choose. And that this choice can lead to life in abundance.