Come Sunday, the phone calls were made and the news was delivered - Alan had a match and I was the donor. The cat was officially out of the bag. Having a match and a willing donor is likely the news that everyone sitting on the organ transplant waiting list longs to hear.
As celebratory as the news was, I reluctantly admit, that it put me in a tailspin. I spent much of the next week distancing myself from the celebration and pulling back into solitude with Jesus. You see, I've followed Christ on various adventures and callings through the years that required sacrifices of time, family, and finances, but never had I been asked to lay down my physical body in such a way. For as long as I can remember, I have valued and cared for my health and physical fitness. For reasons I can't explain, its never been something I took for granted. Suddenly I was wrestling all of the fears that came with putting that at risk.
I reflected on Genesis 22, when God asked Abraham to offer Isaac at the altar, to sacrifice the very son God knew Abraham loved deeply. Sometimes we read through the passage quickly, because we become too familiar with the outcome - Abraham obeys, and God provides a lamb in Isaac's place. But if we skim too quickly, I think we miss the story's weightiness, and what Abraham must have felt. I think it would have felt much like raw fear and utter trust. Not to overdramatize what I was feeling, but in many ways I felt like I was being asked to lay down my Isaac on the altar - submitting something that I highly valued all my life...my heath.
As I brought all of this to Jesus, I'm not sure I've ever experienced greater intimacy with Him. It was the first time I really considered the humanness of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, needing support from his tired, confused disciples, and asking the Father, not once, but three times to remove the suffering which was to come.
Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Three times Jesus essentially asked the Father not to send him to the cross. I think it is the first time that it hit me...Jesus being fully human didn't look to the cross with great delight. He understood his calling yes, but make no mistake, he didn't look forward to the suffering it required. He went to the cross out of obedience. He went to the cross out of love. He went to the cross for us.
"Yet I want your will to be done, not mine."
I think it's Jesus' humanity, not his divinity in the garden that shows us the way to surrender. Yes Father, not my will, but your will be done...
This started as a private blog to help document my kidney donation journey and the theological, biblical, and ethical considerations for organ donation. It is shared with you here in hopes it might help with your own journeys of discernment and surrender.