Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fiona has a new kidney!

After over 25 years of kidney disease that eventually led to kidney failure, and after nearly eight years of diet-restricting, routine-disturbing dialysis, this last week has been one of the most momentous weeks that my family has ever been through. Though the preparation for this past week seemed to progress by inches for about a year, the resolution of it all culminated in one lightening-fast week! And at the end of it all, Fiona has a kidney that used to be her brother's and a level of kidney function equal to (or in some cases, even better than) the masses of people who live their lives with two healthy kidneys!

As I look back on this past week, I'm conscious of a number of encouraging truths that have been in play as God has been at work in our situation. Here are a few that have meant a great deal to me...
  • Miracles can be medically applied. We must never belittle the miracles of medical science and of what is achievable by medical methods. And we must never be ungrateful when God uses doctors to answer prayers for healing. If the ability of surgeons to provide kidney transplants to people in life-threatening situations is not a gift from God, what is the source of such an ability, or of any other medical wonder?
  • Prayer makes a difference. As Fiona went into surgery, I immediately began updating Facebook and texting many of the people I have on my phone's contact list, keeping people posted regarding what was happening from the beginning of the surgery to the the beginning of Fiona's recovery. And about two and a half days after the transplant was performed, Fiona's nurse came into her room announcing Fiona's latest blood-test results and exclaiming that she had never seen anyone reach normal so quickly after a transplant! I believe that such exceptional results were a gift from God in response to the exceptional number of prayers being expressed for Fiona.
  • One can do the job of two. While appreciating the fact that Solomon said that two are better than one (Eccl. 4:9-12) and that Jesus sent His disciples out in twos, there is at least one way in which God designed one to do the job of two! One of the major measuring sticks they use to assess kidney function is to measure a person's creatinine clearance. Someone with healthy kidneys has creatinine clearance levels of 80-100. After receiving the transplant on Thursday afternoon, Fiona's level has been below 100 since Saturday evening! And today, the creatinine clearance level of her one kidney has gone down to 84! God knew single kidneys would be capable of that when he created mankind, long before kidney transplants were even conceivable.
  • "Greater love has no one than this..." I've always felt on good Biblical ground when praying for a miraculous healing for Fiona, and I've both prayed and fasted on many occasions for Fiona's healing over the last 25+ years. I've asked God to heal Fiona's kidneys, revive her kidneys, resurrect her kidneys, re-create her kidneys and even transplant kidneys from heaven. But when God chose to give Fiona a kidney from her brother, it was no less Biblical than giving her a kidney straight from heaven's kidney-bank. In John 15:12-13, when Jesus commanded us to love one another, Jesus went on to expand on that by saying that "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." Fiona's brother Tim has not laid down his actual life for Fiona, but he has laid down the life of one of his kidneys for Fiona. He has given up a healthy piece of himself so that his sister could live a healthy life. Some might hesitate to make such a sacrifice. Not Tim. He was ready to do it with his utility knife if the doctors weren't able to help out. Thankfully, the doctors were involved.
  • God does as He pleases. Over the years of praying for Fiona, I have gradually grown more and more comforted by a growing conviction in the sovereignty of God. To put it simply, there was a time when Fiona first became sick that I might have actually believed that human activity had more to do with the fulfillment of God's will on this earth than God's activity. In other words, Fiona not being healed meant that I or we needed to pray harder, pray more or believe more -- the problem can't be with God, but must be with me or us! If I had remained in that theological camp, I think it would've crushed me by now. But I simply no longer believe that anymore (though I'm tempted to go there from time to time). God is responsible for the fulfillment of God's will, not me or us. God is not some needy being, waiting for help to arrive. God has a reason for sending or allowing pain as much as He has reasons for the blessings He sends us, and I believe that this 25-year wait for Fiona's healing was as much about our growth as such struggles were for so many Biblical characters who had to persevere in trust through far greater difficulties (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and David come to mind, to name just a few). So as we pray for relief, God chooses how and when to answer according to His purposes for what we're going through, and He wants us to trust Him through it all.
So I'm continuing to learn that even when it appears that God isn't doing anything at all about what we may have been praying passionately about for years, He is in fact doing a great deal and has a plan in mind. And it's all intended to be for our good and for His glory, as this past week's culmination of circumstances has certainly been! I truly thank God for that.

© 2015 by Ken Peters