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Bend Down, O LORD, and Hear

by Terri Justice on June 1, 2008 in Articles

I'm not sure you could even call it a prayer: It was more of a fleeting thought or a wish I would mutter to the Lord as I watched my husband’s health decline. The first miraculous kidney transplant my husband, Mike (MA[BS], 1988; ThM, 1992), had brought us much joy and celebration for the first few months following surgery. Yet soon after that it became laden with troubles, ups and downs, followed by a gradual loss of function. We knew that a transplant is not a cure, just a form of treatment. Oh, but we were so hopeful!

If only
After seven years hanging on to his partially working kidney, Mike went back on the transplant list. “Lord,” I said desperately to Him in the quietness, “if only I could do something.” I’d see Mike tired with the fatigue of anemia that accompanies poorly working kidneys. I’d see him unable to eat foods he enjoyed or not hungry at all as the kidney failed to clean the toxins out of his system. “Lord, what can I do?”

One day as we talked about what might lie ahead for us—dialysis, declining health, possibly the inability to work—I said once again, “Honey, I wish I could give you one of my kidneys.” To me it was a sincere wish, yet just beyond my grasp. Several factors have to match between donor and recipient, and for us, nothing matched. Not even our blood type. I am O-positive and Mike is B-positive.

Good news
I traveled to Alaska to visit with my sister for a few weeks, and while there I called home to check on Mike.

“I have some good news,” he said.

I knew he had been to the transplant clinic for a checkup, but surely he wasn’t gaining kidney function back. Nothing had pointed to that.

“They are starting to do spouse-to-spouse transplants now,” he said. “It’s called ‘Living Unrelated Donor.’” The new medications were so good that even without a close match, they seemed to prevent rejection of the transplanted kidney.

Surprised, I felt a spark of excitement inside.

“Should I request an application for you?” he asked.

“Sure! Let’s get going on this.”

I returned home with hope that I could actually do something to help. The rest of the summer included doctors’ visits, psychological evaluation, a battery of medical tests, and meetings with social workers and surgeons. At the end of all the investigation, we found that I passed with flying colors as a candidate to donate a kidney to Mike. The transplant committee finally approved our request and set the date for our surgeries.

God heard my wee prayer, my wish, my desire, and in His wondrous way He made it possible. Nine years ago surgeons removed my left kidney and placed it into my husband. It began working immediately, doing the job his kidneys could no longer do. It was our miracle!

“Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help … For you are great and perform great miracles. You alone are God. With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever” (Ps. 86:1, 10, 12, NLT).

Terri Justice is the manager of Copy Services at Dallas Seminary. Her husband, Mike (MA[BS], 1988; ThM, 1992), is Dallas Seminary’s first blind Doctor of Ministry student.

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