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.