We made a plan to talk to our doctor friends as a first next step. A husband-wife duo serve as our friends and fellow Raiders fans, as well as our urgent care doc and primary care physician. They happened to invite us over to watch the Raiders play the Broncos on Jan 3, 2021. The timing seemed perfect. While I try not to abuse our friendship with a million personal health questions outside the doctor's office, I figured they wouldn't mind the inquiry.
Somewhere before Darren Waller secured Carr's 2-point conversion pass, with 24 seconds left, and we snagged the 32-31 victory in Denver, I floated the question into the air. Once again, I half anticipated a negative response. They are both wonderful doctors, but I consider them first friends, and from a friend's perspective, I think I anticipated them to start with the risks. But that isn't where they began.
As it turns out, our doctor buddy had considered being a kidney donor himself for a friend of his in need, and had even started the cross-match process. In the end, the recipient's brother was a closer match so he didn't pursue it further. He shared a bit more about the experience and his perspective and then made the following comment, "It's like the perfect organ, you have two, but only need one."
I remember the way his words landed in my spirit...and I responded privately, "Ok God, you have my attention - speak, I am listening."
Along my faith journey, I've had people ask me how I know when God is speaking, how I discern between my own thoughts and "intuition" vs. God's. I've personally never heard the audible voice of God, but I can say with confidence that I've heard Him. It makes me think of the story Jesus tells in John 10, the story of the good shepherd and his sheep.
"The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:2-4
The sheep follow him, because they know his voice. Now if you dig into the biblical context for this passage, you'll begin to understand that Jesus was using this imagery to illustrate calling those who would follow him from the "pen" of official Judaism. He was revealing himself as the Messiah, but the Pharisees did not get it. Sadly, not all of the sheep belong to Jesus's flock - they are separated as they recognize his voice and follow him.
But, if we come back up to the surface, I think I've always loved this story because I've seen cattle respond in a similar fashion, to my dad's voice. I was raised on a beef cattle farm and dad would often need to move them from one pasture to another. He would call them, and they'd follow, because they knew the sound of his voice. I used to love watching this as a kid.
When I first began walking with the Lord, I questioned my ability to hear Him. But the longer I walked, the more familiar He became. He'd confirm through His Word, the Holy Spirit, and through others, time and time again. I learned to follow because I learned His voice. The Lord speaks to us in many ways, sometimes mysteriously, sometimes plainly, but as we get to know Him, we recognize His voice.
"Speak, for your servant is listening" 1 Samuel 3:10b
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.