The Unexpected Blessing of “Yes”
During our Bible study discussion last night, we pondered two questions as they relate to living as a disciple of Jesus: what has been your hardest “yes” and what has been your most unique “yes”?
Without hesitation, I knew the answer to both.
One year ago today, I followed through on that which was nothing less than the power of the Holy Spirit at work in my life. One year ago today, I did something I never dreamed I would do. One year ago today, I donated one of my kidneys to a Bethel brother in Christ. While it was not my hardest “yes,” it was certainly my most unique “yes” to date. And as I reflect during this Thanksgiving season, I continue to be so grateful for such a unique and wonderful opportunity. God has used what I now see as an unexpected kingdom adventure to do so much more than I could have asked or imagined, because of his power at work. In a way that only God can, he weaves together the stories of his people. Allow me to share one such example from within our church.
A sweet couple from Bethel (with whom I’d shared dinner and conversation one time) had been fostering a precious little girl we like to call Sunshine. The first few years of Sunshine’s life were horrific. And coming into the King’s loving and godly home not only brought her stability and safety, it introduced her to a God who loves her and listens to her. At some point, this family connected with Al and Sandy (my now extended family via kidney connection), and this little girl fervently prayed every day for months for her friend, Mr. Al, to get a kidney. One day, out of sheer desperation, she cried out, “God…PLEASE, give Mr. Al a kidney…TOMORROW!” The next morning, I got the call from the hospital confirming that the surgery was a go!
The moment I heard this, I began to see that this was so much bigger than I first realized—certainly much bigger than me, and bigger than even Al’s need. This was something God was going to use in ways completely unexpected. God has shown himself to be exceedingly good, beyond gracious, and utterly faithful—so much so, that words fail to adequately express the state of my heart.
Al was told the transplant wait could be up to eight years. God granted him what he needed within seven months! At least eight people stepped forward to be tested as a potential donor for Al. And God chose me. As I wrestle with and wonder about the ways of God, I am profoundly grateful. I anticipated what God would do in Al. I did not, however, anticipate all that God would do in me. It’s been one year, and I still cannot put into words the intimate encounter I’ve had with Jesus because I said “yes” to this incredibly unique kingdom opportunity. But isn’t that just like God? So big that he cannot be explained. So big that he cannot be exaggerated. Who is like our God?
Al and I have both had opportunity to share our story of God’s amazing goodness in our story of kidney donation and transplant. We were both able to be present to celebrate the day Sunshine officially became a King through the blessing of adoption. One year later, we are all healthy and well. Who would ever have thought all these lives would intersect and then be inextricably linked in this unique way? We’ve seen so many other details and unexpected blessings. We continue to stand in absolute awe. Al sent me a text that read, “Heaven will be fuller because of your selfless gift.” Dear God, let it be so.
As believers, we should view each day as one of thanksgiving. And each day, our lives should reflect our gratitude for a God who is our sure and steady foundation—a God who is always working to make us look more and more like Jesus, using even unique and unexpected ways.
One year after living organ donation, people ask me how I’m doing. Physically speaking, I am back to normal. Spiritually speaking, I will never be the same. But I don’t want to simply talk about how I’m doing; I want to share what God is doing, because this is his story and all along, my prayer has been that I would be faithful to tell it. So, with every fiber of my being, I pray, “Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory!” (Psalm 115:1 NIV)