Most of you know my daughter in law's story, and are probably aware that this morning she lies in the ICU at Duke University Hospital after a more than ten hour surgery to replace previously transplanted and rejected lungs with "new" ones. Less than 30 minutes ago my son, wife and Tricia's parents met with the surgeon, Dr. Shu Lin (who also performed her first transplant five years ago) tell us that basically the surgery went well, the lungs are functioning.
She's been given new life. We are all rejoicing and thanking God for answering our prayers in this way.
But, somewhere is a family grieving over the loss of someone loved. That reality brings a soberness to the relief and rejoicing that is almost eery. And while we are elated that Tricia will hopefully live many more years, we are deeply saddened at the donor family's loss and forever grateful for their gift to a total stranger.
Then, on another front, at this early morning hour four years ago I was reeling from the toughest assignment God had yet given me. Sometime shortly after 3:00AM I was awakened by my pager - I am a Public Safety Chaplain - and heard the dispatcher's words, "OFFICER DOWN". I remember asking Gail, who also was awakened by the page, "Did she say "OFFICER DOWN?".
Along with the department's Chief it was my duty to inform my friend's family that their husband and dad died in the line of duty. While serving and protecting our community Sgt. Earl Murray gave his life. Knowing Earl was a believer in Jesus Christ as his Savior was the only comfort I knew that morning. Days later I would preach his funeral sermon.
Every May 15th the past four years has brought tears to my eyes remembering that morning. Now, added to that will be the words of the surgeon from this morning that Tricia has new lungs, and with my tears will be a smile.
As a Christian I believe that whether good or evil happens in life our God is able to work those things for His glory. It's not that He causes all things - certainly not the evil - but His grace somehow in ways I cannot understand can take the hardest times of life and use them to point others to His Son and His the eternal life He offers freely.
Indeed, God is good all the time. But if that doesn't include the bad time as well as the good He would be a weak, maybe even heartless God. To His glory He has demonstrated over and again that He is love and that He is always faithful. And on this date in my life, knowing this wonderful God is the greatest knowledge I could ever possess.