Some people may look forward to the benefits that a surgery might bring them, but I think most of them do not look forward to the surgery itself. Anxiety about the unknown, the pain and the often-difficult recovery period accompany most operations. Who would go through this without any direct benefit to themselves?
One of my work colleagues underwent surgery for the benefit of a stranger over five years ago, and in this she demonstrated great love. She decided to donate one of her kidneys without knowing who the recipient would be. Because such a gesture is so uncommon, she had to be interviewed by several professionals to make sure she knew what she was doing and to make sure she was not being pressured in any way.
As a teacher, she was hoping that this surgery could take place during the summer months when she was not teaching. She did not want it to be a public spectacle—she was following what God was leading her to do. Nevertheless, when a recipient of the same blood type who had been waiting longest was chosen the date for the transplant was set for October.
It was only afterwards that she found out who had received her kidney, a married man with three children the youngest of whom was just nine weeks old. She realized that the transplant could not take place during the summer because that would have coincided with the new baby’s birth! It makes her feel humble that God used her to help someone in this way.
Every stranger is also a human being, made in God’s image. While we are not all led to give such a big part of ourselves for a stranger, we can use this inspiring story to make baby steps in showing kindness to those we do not (yet) know!