Acts 13:21-23 Saul reigned for forty years. But God replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart . . . And it is one of King David’s descendants, Jesus, who is God’s promised Savior of Israel.
Matthew 12:48-50 Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? . . . Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Ephesians 1:5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
1 Peter 5:9 Stand firm against your great enemy, the devil. And be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.
O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), the third “O” Antiphon: “O come, thou Branch of Jesse’s tree, free them from Satan’s tyranny that trust thy mighty power to save, and give them victory o’er the grave. Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”
Both Dave and I grew up thousands of miles away from our extended families, he in Bolivia and I in Guatemala. The same became true of our children, growing up in Brazil. Our family of six would not have survived the pressures we faced had it not been for the care and support and prayers of our family by God’s adoption, our Christian brothers and sisters. The following Waiting Room story illustrates that reality, Emmanuel coming to us in the generosity and self-sacrifice of the Body of Christ.
Provision, Karis’s first transplant, age 21, Pittsburgh
Débora and I settled into the waiting room prepared for a long night. Karis’s first intestinal transplant surgery would take at least fourteen hours.
I played with little Ricardo while Débora improvised a bed for him in the corner. My fellow Brazilian transplant mom Eudiscélia was exhausted. My friend Débora and I had a brilliant idea: Eudiscélia could get a full night’s sleep if we cared for her two-year-old overnight in the waiting room. We would be awake anyway; why not let Eudiscélia rest? I was a pro at everything medical Ricardo would need: antibiotics through his central line, ostomy care, feedings via g-tube with a kangaroo pump . . .
Ricardo knew me well enough to accept this unusual situation with aplomb, and soon slumbered peacefully in his corner. Débora and I talked a while, then decided to put together a jigsaw puzzle a friend had loaned us: a luminous angel watching over a sleeping child.
From time to time, the phone rang with a report from the OR: She’s intubated; arterial, central, and peripheral lines in place. . . We’ve successfully removed her intestine—it looks horrible. We can’t imagine how she endured the pain . . . The donor intestine has arrived from St. Louis and looks good; a twelve-year-old boy in a car accident, the perfect size for Karis . . .
Finally, around 5:00 a.m.: Everything is in place. Karis has done well. Only a couple more hours to finish everything up. Even while I grieved for the family of the twelve year old boy, with Débora, I cheered and praised God for his mercy to Karis. Quietly, so we wouldn’t wake Ricardo.
Around 6:00, friends arrived with breakfast for us. Our son Dan, driving from New York City, had car trouble. Other friends went to rescue him. They all arrived just in time for another call from the OR: “We’re finished. She’s in recovery. You’ll be able to see her soon.”
Débora slipped away for her full day of work, after staying up with me all night. Eudiscélia, refreshed, reclaimed her little boy. Our friends cleaned up breakfast and left for their own jobs.
In the recovery room, for a few minutes before she was whisked away to the ICU, Dan and I gazed at unconscious Karis. Lines sprung from her body like quills on a porcupine, attached to a battalion of whirring machines.
A thrill of Hope. Joy. That’s what Dan and I felt as we walked to yet another waiting room. “The faithful love of the Lord never ends!” I whispered. “His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
We didn’t yet know everything would go wrong with this transplant. But when that time came, God’s provision through his Body, his daily love and mercy, like manna, would be just as rich, just as complete.
Just as perplexing.