18 Feb Sermon Snap Shot February 17, 2019
Although he passed all the tests, Dad did not allow the doctors to immediately put him on the transplant list. Believe me, that did not sit well with us! He felt he had had a good life and was not afraid to die and he had to work through some questions first. Dad was determined that he would not do this if it would bankrupt our family. So, he and mom met with their financial advisors and studied their health insurance coverage.
But most difficult of all, they searched for understanding. It was just too hard to imagine that for him to live, someone, who was alive at that very moment, would have to die. You see, Dad had prayed for God to heal him and had faith that God would do just that. But he couldn’t bear the thought that someone else had to die for him to live.
This struggle went on for three weeks, and, I must admit, drove his children a bit crazy. While at our cabin in the mountains, swinging in the hammock, he realized that if he refused the transplant, he was denying God the option to heal him. He realized that he was not causing someone’s death, but that his acceptance of the organ made it possible for that person to go on living and would allow God to continue to use him here. As you might imagine, this moment inspired many future sermons. One I remember was focused on how, sometimes, our decisions can limit the actions of God and we don’t need to understand fully, just have faith.
A few weeks later, we got the call that Dad’s heart was coming. We were excited, scared, and sad. Excited because Dad would have a chance, scared because there was no guarantee, you see, once they took his old heart out, they couldn’t be sure that the new heart would start beating again. And sad because we knew that there was a grief-stricken family that had just made the most difficult decision of their lives. In the midst of their pain, they had chosen to give us joy and hope. We prayed that night for them. We didn’t know anything about them, their names, where they lived. But we prayed that God would hold them close and give them comfort and strength to keep on.
Dad’s transplant was by all accounts very successful. He recovered and lived with energy and passion. He embraced his renewed life with great commitment and responsibility. Some of his preacher friends spoke of his sense of urgency about his ministry following the transplant. In many ways he was humbled by the experience. He had always tried to live his life as God would have him to. But from that point on, he also felt a great sense of obligation to live his life in a way that would honor Jason Yandle, his donor, with every breath he took.
He went back to his church in Florence. Dad also went on to dedicate his efforts to furthering the cause of organ donation in our state. After his retirement, he served as a Hospice chaplain and helped to start a little church in Beaufort, SC. His picture hangs in our lobby as one of our founding pastors. So, you are all a part of this story too.
Note: A portion of Melissa Mandell’s comments about her dad’s (Rev. Chad Davis) journey of receiving a heart transplant. Brigid Fackrell shared about her son Ethan (a donor), and Michael Sewell shared about his son Jeremy (a recipient). Part of yesterday’s worship focused on National Organ Donor Day (2.14).
Pastor, Waters Edge UMC