By Dr. Donald Whitchard
The last time I presented an article here was to tell you about the disease that has come upon me, namely advanced renal failure. I want to give you an update on what has happened since the initial diagnosis. I saw the kidney doctor a couple of days ago and he asked me questions about my overall health and if I’d noticed any relevant changes in my body. He showed me some tests that I had undergone previously including an ultrasound, which by the way, didn’t show any growths, cysts, or tumors on my kidneys so I can praise God for that. However, he ordered more tests which meant more bloodwork. The nurse drew out eight vials of blood from me and I had to give a urine sample as well. They have to test whether or not my immune system is attacking my kidneys and if so, what medication can be used to counteract it. As of now, my kidneys are functioning at 35%. They were in the 90 % range at this time last year, if I figure right. If my immune system is the culprit, I could be at risk for diseases such as lupus or Hepatitis C. If my immune system checks out positively and is not the cause of the failure, I will need to undergo a biopsy to measure what damage has been done and see if another diagnosis is necessary. I meet with the doctor in two weeks to go over everything from the tests I did a couple of days ago. So, keep on praying that the LORD gets the glory in this chapter of my life.
I am preparing myself for whatever comes my way, including the possibility that the LORD will heal me and allow me to carry on with my objectives of writing and evangelism. Right now I feel fine and am suffering no effects of anything. However, I believe that some lifestyle changes need to be made and kept, such as watching what I eat and drink, trying to walk as often as possible, and keep the house looking nice. I don’t believe that God will heal me and then return to the same lifestyle I had before I was diagnosed. I also believe that my life needs to be more devoted to seeking His will for my life and to listen to Him through His word and His still, small voice. The point I want to make is that sometimes God puts events into motion that result in a prayer being answered. People have to be directed to tasks and situations need to come about that will be to one’s advantage in seeing that the prayer is answered. I want to tell you how this happened in my early life.
I became a Christian at age 15, but really never matured in the faith. Up to the time I was 20, I goofed off and really had no drive to do anything. I was going to college but my heart really wasn’t in it. I had friends who seemed to have everything in order except me. I had male friends, but I was lonely for companionship and wanted a girlfriend. The trouble was I was eighty pounds overweight and the bare faced fact is that I was a slob. I prayed to God for someone of the female persuasion to come into my life. Then came 1980. That year changed my life and was, beside my salvation, the event that made me into a man and more mature child of God. This is how it came about.
My parents divorced when I was eleven and my Dad went to go work in the United Arab Emirates, a country on the Arabian coast, and specifically the city of Dubai.
He worked for a company called McDermott, Incorporated, building oil rigs for on shore and offshore production. Since their divorce, I had only seen my Dad for two weeks per year and we were not on the best of terms. In February 1980 he called me and asked if I would like to come to Dubai and live with him. I don’t recall praying about it. I had an inner urge to go. There was nothing for me in the town I lived in and I figured, “Why not?” I finished my semester of college and by August I had landed in Dubai after a trip to London. Dad immediately got me a job working for the company but told me that it was up to me to keep it. I couldn’t just quit after a few months and head back home to meaninglessness. I stayed in Dubai working for McDermott as a sandblaster and painter, enduring 20 hour days, 110 degree average temperature, and many hours going over girders, beams, plates, and equipment to make sure the job was being done right. There were times where Dad and my stepmother were out of the country, leaving me in charge of the Paint and Sandblast Department and I had better get the job done or get run off.
During the nearly two years I was there, I grew up emotionally and spiritually, being mentored by an Anglican priest in the deep things of God. I also lost seventy pounds through hard work and physical training by a former Royal Marine. I should note that there was no one of my age to be around. My friends were all old enough to be my parents. I had gained maturity and a sense of direction, finally surrendering to the LORD’s will for me to go into ministry. In November of 1981, I traveled around the world to places like Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Los Angeles, and finally back home to Louisiana. I had dropped all that weight and I had a pretty good chunk of change. I enrolled at a Christian college and in February of 1982 my prayer for a girlfriend finally came to pass when I met the girl who I would later marry the next year. We have been married now for 35 years and have reared three children, one of whom is in heaven.
Sometimes things have to happen for our prayers to be answered. I f I had not gone to Dubai, I wouldn’t have met Cathy, never graduated college, never started teaching, never went to seminary, never would have earned my doctorate, and I would still be a spiritual jerk just getting by. The point I’m making here is that things need to fall into place and can take some time to accomplish. God has plans for each one of us. Don’t think that you’re not important to the LORD. If we but surrender to His will, our lives can truly be a great adventure that will resonate throughout eternity. Because I obeyed Him, my life has been one of enrichment and adventure. I think that every believer should have his or her “Dubai” moment, that moment where the plans God has for us come to fruition. I can also say that if I had not obeyed God, I probably wouldn’t have found this website and written about end-time events that inspire people. In the meantime, I ‘ll wait for events to transpire that may just put me back on the road to recovery or prepare me for that ultimate journey that takes me into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ where I’ll be free from sickness for eternity. I invite you to take the journey of faith and see how things fall into place that enrich and uplift you and that which brings glory to God. My hope is built not on the things of this world but upon the joy of heaven because of what my Lord and Savior did for me. Glory be to His name. firstname.lastname@example.org
Don was born and raised in the true Cajun Country of Louisiana. He holds a Bachelors Degree in History from Louisiana College, a Masters Degree in Christian Education from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Theology from Andersonville Baptist Seminary in Georgia. Don has served as a pastor, interim pastor, high school teacher, and hospital chaplain over the past thirty years. He currently serves as a volunteer chaplain (2008-present) with St. Francis Hospital and also served as the pastor/teacher from 2013-2016 at the Gospel Rescue Mission, both of which are here in Muskogee. He was called to Meadowbrook in February 0f 2017 and began his ministry in March of that year. He has also served as President of the Muskogee Baptist Association’s Pastors Conference, which is a weekly meeting that presents speakers and ministry ideas and concepts to church leaders in the greater Muskogee area.
Don’s top priority is to see that the good news of Jesus Christ is shared with our lost and hurting world and that the people of God are taught sound doctrine and preparation for our Lord’s soon return.