Nine (9) years.
That is one third of my life, exactly.
Nine years ago today, I was in bad shape. I found myself in critical condition at Children's Hospital in Birmingham, AL totally dependent for life on anything and everything but myself, but my own body. And in a very real way all the medicine, doctors, family and loved ones, although an immense comfort, could not pull me back from the brink of death. All I had - all I have ever had - was Jesus. He was, is, and always will be my only hope!
You see, my body attacked and in 18 years decimated my lungs to a point of no return. Death had a tightening grip that day and night. Christmas Eve 2003 was horrific. Mostly I was passed out with a body quickly fading, having all but shut down due to overwhelming infection and a massive lack of oxygen. But for my family ... my dad, mom, 2 brothers, grandmother, and close friends ... Dec 24th, 2003 was the worst.
Then, 2am Christmas morning came. The most significant and joy filled phone call was received, "We've got lungs!" That was the beginning of life for me. By Christmas afternoon I had been made new. I was restored, renewed, transformed in a moment from death to life. The power of God displayed like I have never witnessed before. An unmistakable entrance into time from the Timeless Lord of all life!
Do you see where this is going?
Its kind of like it parallels Advent and the promise of Christmas! Where in the pain, agony, hurt, despair, loss of hope, and a general sense of being incomplete GOD ACTED! He intervened in the worst of all situations and circumstances ... Humanity who had turned its back on God, thus responsible for their own demise. He came into our pain and sorrow. He became our pain and sorrow for us, He is the Man of Sorrows.
Let it sink in ... Jesus, the Creator, the Son of God became the Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief . The merciful and gracious Creator, submitted himself to humanity and was eventually murdered by the men He created. Its incomprehensible!!!
But herein lies the promise of Advent ... for renewal, for a hope anchored in a greater reality than what we see. Its the promise of all being made new!
It is because of the very horrors of Golgotha that I sit here today. It is because of the gruesomeness of the cross that I have two amazingly healthy lungs breathing - LIVING ABUNDANTLY - in my chest!
It is with a very tangible sense of longing and desire to know Jesus, face-to-face, and to know God with the veil removed that we look back to the cross, to His life, to His ADVENT and rejoice. Rejoice because we know we live under the gracious hand of God, who does the impossible. The impossible?
Life? No, He is good at that, but that is not the impossible! I can attest, as so many other people can, as Lazarus can!
The impossible is an infinite God - in every capacity - limiting Himself with flesh, with my limitations and living thus without sin, so that He might redeem His good creation that is rebelling against Him still. That is the impossible, and He is good at that too!!!
We also have a future hope, when He will once and for all make all things new and good. You cannot forget that!
Kind of flowing out of those thoughts, are thoughts about how grateful and full my heart is now. I am married! I am married to my best friend, an amazing women who adores me and puts up with all my health "issues" by choice. She said yes to me almost a year ago, fully aware of what she was getting into. If you don't know her, well that's your loss. She is my favorite and I love living and doing life with her. I am a rich, rich man because of the Lord's grace in my life through Meredith! I have parents and brothers and a sister-in-law who all love me, whom I all love as well. I am the most blessed man among men. I cannot tell you just how full my heart is!
There is another family as well, one I've yet to meet. They are the parents and siblings of my donor. I love them. I want to tell them such, to show off to them all that God has done in my life. How they have blessed so many more lives than just my own, but oh how blessed my life is indeed. My heart hurts for you, with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. My heart breaks for you. Please know, I absolutely love you so much, and wish I could tell you in person. You are angels from God! If I meet you, I will bear hug you like I've never hugged anyone!
So with that I will leave you with a Merry Christmas! I hope you will join me in celebrating the gift of lungs that Jesus provided for me nine years ago. But more than that, stop, worship and celebrate Jesus, He is far more than "worth it." He is the best! He is the greatest and I love Him so much!
May your heart be filled with hope, love, joy and peace of Jesus, the Great I AM, our Immanuel. Today, tonight, and always He is with us!