Obedient to God: Whose Story Is This?

Written by Irene Barnes

spiritualgrowth_ireneLife was good and easy – maybe too easy. I had everything I could possibly want. My heavenly Father, my husband, my family and friends. But God had plans for me, to take me out of my comfort zone and to a place I never thought possible. A place I, on my own, could not imagine or put myself into. God made me part of His story. But this isn’t a story about me. It’s about God, His love and His promises to us. It’s a story about obedience.

Each morning I look to God for forgiveness, submit my day into his care, and ask for clarity of His will for my life. While waiting in silence for God to speak to me one morning, I felt his presence come over me. I received a clear divine understanding of what God wanted of me. He impressed it upon my heart to donate a kidney to my husband Wayne’s estranged brother Steven. He had been on the kidney transplant list for two years. Steven’s kidneys no longer functioned appropriately to sustain life. He endured fifteen hours per day of dialysis to keep his mortal body alive.

“Why me?” I questioned God.

How could God expect me to give up a vital organ to someone that I really didn’t know? I could never be a match. I wasn’t related to Steven. Besides, I was too weak. I could never go through this. I was sure this was just a dream made up in my head. It was easy to justify walking away from this thought. It couldn’t have been God speaking. Those were just my own thoughts intervening during this prayer time. So I ignored the message, but just for a brief moment. I went back into prayer and asked God for confirmation. If this was something that He wanted me to do, I needed to know without a doubt. Nevertheless, this just didn’t seem real. Or was it?

As I look back on what transpired, I knew that this wasn’t something I could have done on my own. My selfish thoughts, fears and worries would have prevented me from going ahead with the surgery. I would have been easy to come up with great excuses to quit as I encountered each hurdle throughout the ordeal.

But I couldn’t and I didn’t. This was something God wanted of me and I had to do it at all costs. Armed with confidence from within, I picked up the phone and spoke to Steven and his wife Linda. I let Steven know that I was willing to donate my kidney to him and I explained why. I needed him to know that I was donating my kidney because of God.

For three months, I endured rigorous testing with positive results all the way through. Two weeks later I found myself in Toronto preparing for surgery and meeting Steven and Linda for the first time. Here I was, far from the comforts of home and our life in Edmonton. Wayne and I took time off work to go through this surgery, not knowing how long we would be there. There was the expense of hotels, lost income, airfare and more that would be incurred during our stay in Toronto. I would have to endure a lot of pain and there were doubts if the transplant would even work.

The surgery went as scheduled and the transplant was a success. It was a great victory for Steven, which I was just thrilled about. But for me, it was not as easy. There were complications and a lot of pain.

My recovery was difficult, but I kept me eyes on the Lord and recalled His promise to me: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28).

I remember lying in the hospital bed early one morning. It was very quiet. No nurses around to poke and prod me, no visitors allowed in yet. It was one of those peaceful moments I could have alone with God, even in my drugged and hazy state. As I lay in the hospital bed, feeling so sick, I just cried out to God. I asked for Him to reveal Himself to me. I wanted to feel His presence, His peace. Lovingly, He answered my prayer. He came alive in my heart and His presence was real.

What an amazing sense of peace I felt! There are no possible words to describe it. God spoke words that were clear and calming enough to release me from my fears. He said, “You are not alone, you are never alone. Who do you think is in control of your life?”

Called to the task

During this moment with God, He revealed to me that I was to write this story for Him. He wanted me to put down on paper all that I went through and felt. He made it clear to me that this story was to be about obedience and doing God’s will.

Again, I cried out in despair to God. Why me? I can’t write. I’m not a writer. How can I do this for you? I don’t have the abilities required for this task. I wouldn’t know what to say, or how to say it.

I felt so inadequate, so unworthy. I was sure he picked the wrong person to write His story. I did not grow up with Christ in my life. He is a new part of me. I lack the years of experience and wisdom that comes from time with God. My background certainly doesn’t portray a Christ-like picture. My story with God started just two and a half years ago. What did I have to offer?

God reminded me about the story of Moses, who reluctantly came to Him with these words: “Who am I?” Then following a conversation with God, Moses continued to display his doubts: “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say the Lord did not appear to you?”

This is exactly how I felt. I felt stupid about going before people. How are they going to believe this story? I am a normal human being with insecurities and doubts, just like the person next door. But God showed me that He picked me because of my inadequacies and my willingness to be used.

The decision to obey

As we returned to Edmonton, I continued with my struggles. I hurt physically and I doubted God once again. I got caught up in feeling sorry for myself. My story was not unfolding as I would have liked it. Hospitalized with complications, the plot kept changing. More characters were added and I was not in control. During my struggles, I forgot who the main Character was and why I was in the story.

I’m ashamed to admit that during this time I felt angry, alone, insecure and unworthy. Satan had a great hold over me. I hated it and took my anger and frustration out on my husband Wayne – the one person I hold so dear and yet hurt so much. I was not proud of where I was, and determined to get through this, I sought God’s help.

Wayne, the wise person that he is, could see right past my anger and helped me resolve the issues I struggled with. Wayne has the gift of discernment, which at times I want to run away from. I can’t hide my feelings with him, he sees right through me. In the end I usually submit, knowing God guides him to be alert and sensitive to others.

Wayne showed me my disobedience to God was drawing me away from Him. God asked me to write this story and I was not. I was procrastinating and coming up with many excuses for not moving forward with it. Because of my disobedience I was slipping into a deep, dark hole. Satan convinced me I was unworthy of writing this story. I felt sick and stopped reading my Bible. I turned my back on God, leaving me empty and frustrated. I hated where I was. The peace I had just weeks ago left me.

On my knees, I cried out to God, confessed my sins and my disobedience to Him. Immediately I felt his love shine down on me. Again I felt His indescribable peace – a peace I did not deserve. He is such a forgiving God! He guided me to His words in Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the broken hearted. He rescues those who are crushed in spirit.” I lost sight of the fact that every pain or problem we experience is a character-building opportunity to increase our faith.

I did not see the transformation God was doing in my life and I was robbing myself of the joy that Christ had set before me. He knew what it was like to truly experience pain, loneliness and rejection to its fullest. He felt my pain, disappointments and doubts.

I see now that God was molding me, changing me. He was strengthening my character in order to be strong in Him and for Him. James 1:2 reaffirmed this truth to me: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of any kind, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Reflecting on God’s faithfulness

So was my journey worth it? Was it worth all the pain, frustration and enormous financial loss? Yes! It was worth it. I came away with a deeper faith. My character has been strengthened. I believe wholeheartedly the scripture stating, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

It is not my own strength that gets me through life’s adversities, but God’s. I don’t have to rely on myself. I have all I need through Christ. Because of my willingness, I had been given greater insight into God’s plan and desires for me.

He guided me to go forward with the surgery, and provided the right people to make it happen. He protected me and gave me amazing strength and courage. He held my hand in the hospital when I needed Him. And He carried me when I was too weak to move on my own. He never forsook me, and for this I give Him all the praise!

You may feel like I was feelinginadequate. You may see yourself as just a plain, insignificant nobody, just as I felt and just as Moses felt. But in God’s eyes we are very special. Each one of us has been created by Him. We all have a purpose here on earth and are a part of God’s glorious story. We just have to decide what type of character we want to be. We can be part of God’s story, or we can write our own.

What will you choose today? God has a rewarding part for you to play in His story, if you are willing and obedient. You can make this commitment now by praying the following:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. I want you in the center of my life and I promise to obey and serve you any time, anywhere, at any cost, to do anything. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

We would love to hear from you! If you prayed this prayer, please let us know. We will e-mail you some helpful information and respond personally to your questions. We look forward to your comments.

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