In the fall of 2016 Hurricane Matthew stormed through the Atlantic, picking up speed and power. Soon becoming a Category 5 hurricane, it threatened to destroy everything in its path. As Matthew bullied its way through Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas, this powerful storm was in a position to pound the southeastern United States with deadly force. As it headed toward the coastline, reports of Matthew began making theirway into Ella’s hospital room.
Just a few moments earlier, Ella was declared clinically deceased. Her family was coming to grips with the harsh reality that they would soon be leaving the hospital without her. Even in the midst of these agonizing moments, Ella’s parents remembered their walk through the pediatric intensive care unit and the decision they had made. They chose for Ella to be somebody else’s miracle as an organ donor. Waiting for recipients seemed to be taking longer than expected. Hurricane Matthew was threatening to keep medical teams from flying in to retrieve her organs. Prayers suddenly turned toward safe travel for organ recipients and surgical teams.
As a man in his midtwenties, Joshua had dwindled to less than one hundred pounds as a result of daily dialysis. His hopes of finding a kidney for the third time were fading, and his family had been praying for a miracle match. Suddenly the ring of a telephone brought the news that their miracle had come. Tears flowed, and a short celebration erupted. All the possibilities of what this would mean flooded their minds. However, the celebratory hugs were quickly replaced by a mad dash to make travel plans. Joshua received an arrival deadline that he would have to meet for the organ transplant. With urgency, he and his family made their way to Maryland where the surgery would take place.
While Joshua and his family were trying frantically to get to their destination, Stephanie was saying her final goodbyes. There had been very few double-lung and heart transplants ever performed, and Stephanie had given up hope on finding a match. Like a scene from a Hollywood movie, her goodbyes were interrupted as the door opened with news of a match. A new breath of hope flooded the room as preparations quickly began for the transplant to take place.
As the lives and stories of three random families intersected, we discovered that miracles are not random at all. We often question why God allows tragedy to enter our lives; but without Ella’s tragedy, Joshua and Stephanie would have never received their miracle. Only God could take a man in New Orleans, a woman in Miami, and a ten-year-old girl in Augusta and bring them together in this way.
A miracle was born out of great tragedy.
We have just released a new Bible Study based on Jeff Bumgardner and Dr. Stephen Cutchins new book. Green Hearts: God’s Goodness in the Worst of Times. This study is a reflection of grief and is response to the tragic loss of Jeff Bumgardner’s 10-year old daughter Ella.
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of the Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
Lesson #1 — Grief
Lesson #2 — Pain
Lesson #3 — Questions
Lesson #4 — Answers
Lesson #5 — Surprises
Lesson #6 — Grace
Lesson #7 — Faith