Monday, March 31, 2008

(Bump) How do you pray for a transplant donor?

I'm bringing this one back to the top because Tricia's transplant could be at any time. Last night was a "dry run", but there was a donor and a family who is grieving.

[On my son's blog this was recently posted. He asked me if I could respond here.]

Just out of interest, how do you pray for the donor? Do you pray that there be a donor soon? Or do you pray for peace for the donor's family? Even though I know it's absolutely necessary for transplant patients, like your wife, to live it's hard for me to think about praying for a donor to come soon. Or it's hard for me to think about not being on the donor list for very long because in essence, that means we are praying for someone else to die. I guess with my finite mind and my new faith, I just don't know how to pray for something like this. It seems both right and wrong. Maybe you can share your thoughts on how you pray for the donor? I am honestly at a loss.

Good, honest questions. Who among us who know someone in need of a life-saving transplant hasn't wondered the same things? In my role as a public safety chaplain I frequently speak with surviving family members about the subject of organ donation. It's surprising to me how many have never considered it.

The obvious fact is that for one person to receive donated organs someone else has to die. A second inescapable fact is that everyone dies sometime. Some sooner, others later. A third fact is that many people think beyond themselves and so desire to help someone else live that they make a conscious decision to give what they no longer have use for so that someone else might live, see or have a better quality of life because of their unselfishness.

Jesus said that there is no greater love than to give your life for a friend. While organ donation isn't quite "giving your life" in the sense of dying for the purpose of saving another, it isn't far removed from that. So when a person decides to be an organ donor they choose a very noble thing.

The key is that God chooses when death occurs, not us. Surely we don't pray for someone to die, and even if we did, I don't believe it's a prayer God would answer. The shortage in organs for transplant isn't that there aren't enough people dying. It's that there aren't enough people who have chosen to donate upon death.

But we certainly can thank God for the donor God has chosen who has unselfishly made a life giving provision. Thanks God for that person's family, who will endure the grief of loss, and that they will see the blessing of their loved one's "life" continuing through their donation.

The questioner is right. Our minds are finite and our understanding limited. So like everything else in life, we simply trust God for His will, both in the donor and the recipient. Life is sacred. It's a beautiful thing when one family's darkness from loss can be brightened and tempered by the generosity of such a wonderful gift, transforming another family's darkness into a new day.

33 comments:

MilePost13 said...

Thanks!

Jen said...

This was a great post!

beachbug said...

Good job Richard!

Heather said...

I think you handled that question very well. My sentiments exactly.

~Bev~ said...

I like the preception you have. I have already signed my organ donation card and it is in my wallet.
Your son, daughter in law and new grand daughter are in my prayers~

Bev

Jane-Jane said...

Thanks for the post.
I have been praying since last summer for a little boy in TN, age 3, for a liver to become available. Been praying for the donor family... to loose a child would be so devastating....but to give life to another after an accident, in S.C.Chapman's words...there is no greater gift.

Scott said...

Well done Rick,

When I signed up to be an organ donor, I didn't ask the Lord to make my contribution happen quickly! Just if something did happen it would be good to know someone else could benefit. It makes a tragic death not so tragic when someone else's life is saved.

Scott

marcus said...

What a great word for this Sunday, "Sanctity of Human Life Day"!

Laurie said...

Great answer to a sensitive question.
When my daughter in laws mother died unexpectedly, seven separate people were given the help they desperately needed by her donation. She received annonymous letters of thanks from each family. It turned a tragedy into something God used for good.

Laurie in Ca.

Blessedw4mom said...

Thanks Richard! I think God has blessed you with a great gift of words. And like most things we question in life I think this boils down to trusting in our most awsome God and trusting in His timing ... not ours. What a hard thing to do. But how blessed we are when we rely on our Lord and Savior!

Momnnashville said...

As the aunt of an adopted niece and nephew, I am with you on this 100%. I thank God every time I look at them that their birth mothers made the choices that they did. I can't imagine my family without them. And, a proud grandfather you are - my parents tell me that is the best feeling in the world! She is so beautiful.

Amber said...

AMEN, Brother! Realizing the sovereignty of God in the situation is key! I couldn't have put it in better words myself; you expressed the same sentiments I shared in 'Breathtaking'(www.ambermetz.com) regarding praying for my donor and their family, before and after transplant.

Receiving a transplant of any kind is a wonderful representation (at least in a way) of Christ's love for us. No, one does not "die" so that we may live (like with Him), but it is through their death that one is given a second chance of life. May we all continue to die to self and come alive through Him, whether we're on our second set of lungs or first.

Praying for your family always!

Love in Christ,
Amber

Kimmy said...

Richard and Family,
A friend of mine from my church sent me the link to your son's site. My family, along with my church family will be praying for each of you.
I appreciate your post on organ donation. My family has experienced organ donation first hand. My cousin had several liver and kidney transplants. There was not a time that she had a trnsplant that our family was not thinking of the donor's family.
God Bless You and Your Family!
Organ donation is a wonderful thing, it can bring some hope in a time of sorrow, knowing that your loved one has helped give someone else a chance at life!

Ginny Herndon said...

Dear Rick, My friends and I are asking God for new lungs for Tricia. We are calling upon the Maker of Heaven and Heaven, the One for whom creative miracles is 'a breeze,' to invade Tricia's body and to supernaturally replace her present lungs with new lungs, created by Him, ones that function according to His Word, His will and His way, so that it will not cost a life to improve a life. So we stand believing that He, through Whom ALL things are possible, can and will perform (yet another) miracle on behalf of His daughter who is the object of His affections, the apple of Abba's eye. As my dear friend, Carol, prayed: May the forklift of mercy go to the shelves of heaven, and pick up a set of new lungs and deposit them in Tricia's chest cavity. Praying for continued blessings from the silos of heaven to be poured out upon you and your family. ginny herndon

Rick Lawrenson said...

I always say that the only people who call me "Richard" are those who work for the IRS.

You guys are scaring me.

nanajobx said...

Really didn't Jesus sign that donor card for us? Without His death we could not live.His choice was a lot harder than ours. I am glad to have my Driver's License indicate that I will be an organ donor.

Anonymous said...

This was great! I have been listed as an organ donor since I was old enough to make that decision ( I am now 37). My entire family knows of my position. My mindset is that I can't take it with me so why not give it to another so that they may have life.

Patty said...

What a great post. I have lost several friends too soon due to traffic accidents and the such and the families in each case gave life in their loss. I remember at the one's memorial the pastor asking that we not be sad for him, but rejoice in the lives that he helped save. A few years later his parents got to meet three of the recipients of his gift of life. Afterward they came and gave talks at all of the local churches about how they could feel the presence of their son when they met with these people, and they encouraged everyone to become organ donors. I signed my card a long time ago in his memory (right after his memorial service), but Trisha reminds me again as to why I have it signed, and why it is on each of my id cards.

Anonymous said...

Awesome answer!!! I'm proud to be an organ donor! God bless you and your family through all this!

Robin said...

Thank you!

tsmom said...

As the mother of a double lung recipient, I know how hard it is to pray for the TX to come. I prayed for God's Will to be done. I prayed for God's peace & understanding to fall upon us no matter what His decision. Yes, it meant that someone else had to die. My daughter was 10, and the donor was 5 -- such a tragic loss for a family. I pray for their peace. I pray for God to bless Tricia, Nate & Gwyneth Rose in His time and in His Will. You are part of a fabulous, loving family, God bless you all...

Terry Gray Sr. said...

Great post



Richard?.........

CJolly said...

Excellent post...Ricardo.

I do have a question and it's only partially tongue in cheek. How does the age of a donor affect the usefullness of his or her organs?

I sit here with my first cup of coffee (yeah I slept in!) feeling 90 years old., And I wonder how good would any of me be? My organs work for me, but I've not lived gently over the years, and it makes me wonder if all transplantable organs age at the same rate.

Is it the case where "used organs, even if they're seriously used, are better than failing ones? Just wondering...

Oh yeah, I'll be getting a donor card.

NCmomof2 said...

I just discovered your son's blog today and followed a link to yours. I've spent the last hour read, with tears running down my cheeks, about the incredible blessing God has given your family with Gweneth. Many prayers for your precious gift and her parents. They have shown much faith in standing strong in our God and their faith in him.

My family spent many months over the years at Duke with my brother's treatments. Praise God for his blessings and that he was healed. We are praying for Tricia through her transplant acceptance and process and for Gweneth to continue her growth so they can all return home with Nate.

suzie said...

Richard I'd really like to talk to you via email, would you mind?

walkingbyfaith said...

I love the way you explained this. :) I also choose, when praying for Tricia's donor, to pray that whoever the donor is comes to a saving knowledge of Christ before they die (if they haven't already) and that their family will be comforted.
I love that made the parallel between someone giving their life and giving life to someone through their choice.

Great job!

AlaneM said...

Thank you so much, this really helps in knowing how to pray.
Blessings,
Alane

Debra said...

Great post. I have been praying in this manner, but I've also been praying for more people to chose to donate organs. Perhaps the person who is to donate Tricia's - or some other person who is in need - hasn't made that choice yet. I also pray for the soul of the person to die, that they will be ready to meet God when it happens, because I believe their salvation is as important as their donation.

Thanks for all of these things you do to help Nate, just as this post. I know you're his dad, but I can see you are a big blessing to him.
Debbi/Aspiemom

Anonymous said...

I have saved this on my computer. This is good stuff. Thanks so much for all of your wisdom.

I also wanted you to know that I used your words yesterday. I was sitting in an Alanon meeting yesterday in the Midwest.

There was a retired minister in the Alanon. He was referring to the "Higher power" that AA and Alanon reference. He was a very old gentleman, but his words were so valuable. Well, there was a woman there who used her time to talk to rebutt his comments and basically say she felt there was no God because he didn't answer her prayers. I remembered your wonderful post about how God answers prayer and not always as we wish in our hearts.
It touched alot of people, I could tell (lots of thank you for sharing and hugs later)

So, THANK YOU for your message. Sure wish I could catch some rays, salt, and waves, move to the OBX and enjoy your message each week! :-)

jmgarnet76 said...

Can you bump this to the top again now that Tricia may be having surgery tomorrow? someone passed away and we need to pray for the family even if it isn't a match for Tricia. Thanks. :)

sweptaway1220 said...

Thank you for taking the time to remember the donor and his family.

Many people lose sight of the fact that while rejoicing the upcoming life saving transplant for one person, another family is still grieving a heartwrenching and painful loss.

I do appreciate your kind words.

~a 14 yr old donor's grieving mother

Christine Opdycke said...

It is an honor to me to think that someday, a small part of me will live on in the body of another and extend their life. What a wonderful opportunity it is we have. Not in any hurry to go, but still will be so honored to help someone else stay a little longer in the party of life.

Mary Murphy said...

Beautifully written