Monday, May 08, 2006

Day 34: Miracles

I was about two blocks from the hospital last night when I got a phone call from my Dad. He quickly mentioned that my brother-in-law, who was at that moment about 8 hours into a liver transplant surgery, was not looking like he would survive the surgery. I was going to visit my sister who had been at the hospital since the night before. I nearly had to beg her to get some small task that I might do to help her. The assignment - bring dessert, a pillow and a blanket. Somehow the two cupcakes and two brownies I had to offer didn't seem to fit the current reality.

Because my parents are away serving a mission for the LDS Church, they weren't able to be there. Other siblings had not been able to make it to the hospital yet either although we had all been more or less in constant contact with her throughout the day.

Dad's update on the situation was sobering. He was calling the rest of the family to inform them of the seriousness of the situation and asking them to pray and exercise their faith in behalf of my brother-in-law and those who were caring for him. I quickly said a silent prayer and called my wife and asked her to gather the family that was with her together to pray as well. At that same time my sister, a close family friend, and the member of the transplant team (who had been sent with the news that he might not make it) were also praying together. I don't know how many were praying at that time. I suspect it was close to 100 or more friends and family.

When I arrived in the waiting room with pillow, blanket, and dessert in hand I quickly took in the scene. My sister, my mother's best friend (filling in for my absent mother) and the member of the transplant team were the only people in the waiting room. It was strange to see this kind woman from the transplant team and realize that just like in the movies, she was the one that comes into the waiting room to tell everyone that the patient is not expected to live.

I was surprised at my sister's state of mind. She was resolute in her faith. Determined to trust in God and accept His will. There she was, staring death in the eye and saying "Thy will be done." Then her attitude changed slightly and she simply said, "Now is the time for renewed faith."

Several hours later the main surgeon came out to inform us that they had finally made it past the critical juncture. The turning point in their progress had coincided with the flurry of prayers in behalf of the medical team and the patient. My brother-in-law was in surgery for 16 hours. Twice as long as the transplant team had expected. After the surgery was complete the head surgeon again came out to update my sister. He explained all that had happened. He said it had been a long, hard, grueling surgery. For the first 8 hours of the surgery he did not believe my brother-in-law would live through the surgery. Then the renewed faith and prayers and the mercy of the Lord helped the surgical team to see away to make it work. The doctor told my sister that of the 250 or so transplants he has performed, this was by far the most difficult.

There is no question in my mind that I witnessed a miracle last night. Not just one miracle, but many small miracles.

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up... (James 5:15)

I'm grateful for miracles. Somehow those simple words don't seem to adequately express the depth of my gratitude to God for what he did last night. They seem trite. Their simplicity almost seems to mock the true nature of what I feel inside. What can you do when words are not sufficient to express what you feel? All I know to do is ask again for another tender mercy from that God to whom I am so indebted. If it is the Lord's will, in His tender mercy perhaps he will communicate to you what I feel in my soul for Him.

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