Thursday, November 17, 2016

Helpless; not hopeless

I've been putting off writing today, but don't really want to blow the whole posting every day for a month thing after having made it through the first half of National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). The thing is that writing today is difficult. What weighs on my mind is far from my usual posts and I'm not sure how to share in this forum. I guess, I'll just tell it like it is and leave it at that.

A year ago (summer 2015), one of my brothers had a kidney transplant. He had been dealing with declining kidney function for many years and was to the point of needing a donor kidney. My sister was the donor. As you can imagine, the week of the transplant surgery was stressful, especially for our parents that had two children undergoing pretty major surgery on the same day. Mike's wife was unable to be there because she was at a different hospital with one of their four boys that was dealing with his own health issues.
At the end of the day, both surgeries were declared a success and both patients, donor and recipient, were on the road to recovery.

For the most part, things went well. My brother had some nagging pains and some indications that not everything was as it should be. After many months, it was discovered that a virus was doing some pretty severe damage. It is a virus (I don't recall the name) that most adults carry but our bodies do a great job of managing it. The virus only multiplies and causes problems when the immune system is compromised. Organ transplant recipients fall into the high risk category.

The doctors began treatment for the virus and things seemed to be going well. He was finally getting around to a good recovery. Then a brief bout with pneumonia changed all of that. The drug treatment for the virus started damaging his new kidney.
Today was his second session of dialysis. The new kidney is damaged beyond recovery. There is a tumor in one of his old non-functioning kidneys that will need to be dealt with once the virus is under control and regular dialysis is underway. In addition to the stresses of being in the hospital while your wife carries the load of four active teen boys, there are the additional stresses of finances and feelings of frustration and helplessness. Not knowing what is ahead is the toughest thing right now.

I think that we all feel helpless as we watch from the distance that separates us.
Even as I say that, even as I feel that -- we are far from hopeless.
Family and friends have put out calls for prayers, positive thoughts and calls to whatever universal powers people cry out to in times of need. I'm not sure what all of that does for my brother and his family other than to know that people are thinking of them.

If you have been reading this blog for very long, you already know that I am a follower of Jesus and proclaimer of the Gospel of Salvation through His death and resurrection. I do believe in God and I do believe he hears our prayers, but when I am honest with myself I have to wonder if the voice of one as insignificant as myself will sway the mighty God of the universe.
I truly believe that God loves us and wants the best for us.
But I also believe the His best for us is on a whole different level than the finite world we live in. I cannot begin to imagine eternity, much less understand it. I cannot imagine life without time and space. While I believe in our eternal souls, I can't begin to understand nor to explain the existence of souls without bodies and living without physical boundaries.

And even though I don't know if my cries to God make a difference or not, I pray.
I pray because sometimes there isn't anything else I can do.
I pray because I want God to know that I am trusting Him to take care of my family.
I pray because the Jesus that I believe in tells me to pray.
So, I pray.

Yeah, I pray for good health for my brother and his family. I pray that the doctors would use good wisdom in treating his condition and for the other health issues that his family deals with.
But mostly, I pray for peace and comfort. I pray that God will let them know that He hasn't forgotten them, that He will see that their needs are met and that He will give them the strength to endure.

As I reread that, it really sounds like a pretty lousy prayer.
If you've got a better way to pray, I invite you to share it with me.
Or better yet, I'd ask you to get on your knees and offer your own prayers for my brother and his family. You will have our eternal thanks and the blessings of a grateful big brother.

John <><


Anne Hill said...

Sounds like a prayer from your heart.

Mike said...

"I've been putting off writing today..."

And then he writes a nine paragraph post. :)