I really don’t even know how to write this post tonight. Unbelievable sadness coupled with incredible holy blessings… and, as usual, I will depend on the Holy Spirit to deliver my message…
Our oldest daughter, Kristin, has three very dear girlfriends who have gone through life together for more than 20 years. The four of them, along with their husbands and children, have shared just about every kind of life event. They get together pretty much every month – and they call themselves the “Play Group.”
They celebrate significant events in each others lives, including graduations, recognitions, birthdays and they have even travelled together. Interestingly, they have even had their various children at similar ages. Unfortunately, this past week, they went through one of life’s deepest tragedies together as the group lost a member, a child.
Thomas, a special needs boy, who has been part of the group since his birth more than 19 years ago, choked on a piece of food last Monday evening. By the time his family noticed what had happened, the damage had already been done. He lost consciousness, went into cardiac arrest and was without oxygen for an extended period of time.
The EMTs and hospital personnel were able to restart his heart but various subsequent tests confirmed their worst fears – he would not recover… The last several days have been a whirlwind, especially for Laura and Matt, Thomas’s parents, as they have kept him on life support while they consider next steps. The group, of course, has rallied around them but the loss is incomprehensible for everyone associated with this wonderful family. I can’t even imagine the depth of the grief they are all going through.
However, in the midst of tragedy, there were blessings to be found. Based on the unique circumstances of this event, it was determined that a number of Thomas’s organs could provide life to others. After several days of further testing, it was determined that Thomas’s heart, kidneys, at least one lung, skin and possibly other organs could save or improve the lives of others.
So, this evening, at 6:00 P.M. eastern time, hospital personnel, family, friends and the doctors who would harvest these life giving organs for others held what is referred to as an “Honor Walk.” The hospital ICU corridors were lined with people who were present to say their last goodbyes to Thomas, and to support his family, as Thomas was moved from his room in intensive care to the operating room where he would breathe his last and give an incredible gift to others.
Our daughter, Kristin, the rest of her family and the other members of the group, as well as other friends, all attended this most solemn occasion. So very sad, the sense of loss overwhelming and, yet, in the same moment, the priceless gift of life for others. It truly must have been surreal for everyone as Thomas was wheeled down the corridor to his appointment with eternity.
I felt very much the same way when my brother, Doug, and I made the decision to remove the life sustaining equipment keeping our brother Ken alive. We were with him as he entered heaven several minutes later. We are told in the Scripture that escorting believers to heaven is one of the ministries of angels. No believer heads to heaven alone…
There isn’t too much else to say about the Honor Walk this evening. There will be a celebration of life service sometime later this week, but in the meantime, Matt and Laura, along with their family, will try to deal with their grief and begin the reality of life without Thomas.
Our verse for tonight is from the good doctor Luke! Somehow, that seems so appropriate this evening. Luke tells us the words of Jesus and his feelings about children. Luke tells us, in Luke 18:16, “But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Tonight, I am sure that Thomas is receiving his crown from God Himself.
My encouragement this evening is that each believer can rest assured that they will enter the presence of God escorted by angels. My prayer is a simple one – please join me in praying for Laura, Matt and the rest of their family as they deal with the loss of Thomas. And please pray for the organ recipients and their families as they celebrate the gift of life as a result of the Thomas’s extraordinary generosity. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…