MY OWN UNDERSTANDING                                                                                                         Andy Hollifield 12-4-18

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Do you want to drive yourself crazy? Try thinking beyond your intellect and try to understand stuff like why good people die and heathens seem to live right on regardless of what they do. Try to understand why good people get cancer or why children die or why folks have disabilities. Those are things for which the answers aren’t for us to know, much less understand. You can find a lot of scripture about it but it is still hard to wrap your mind around. When you stop and think about it; this is the best life that the sinner is ever going to have if they don’t get right with God. That don’t necessarily help you understand all of the other, but it does make you see the lost with a lot more compassion.

I guess what made me start thinking about this is a conversation I had today with a friend. She is a pastor’s wife that I see at one of the agencies our ministry helps. At only 37 years old, she found out last week she has cancer in one kidney. It hasn’t spread and they caught it early but that fact only brings a certain amount of peace. She told me that she has peace over the whole thing but it is still in your mind. I believe God worked things today in a way that we could have time to talk. I hadn’t even planned a trip to her agency until I got a load of food this past weekend. I believe the Lord just wanted me to sit and talk to her. Having had a kidney transplant 35 years ago, I hope that I was able to be an encouragement to her. All my life when I hear the word “kidney”, my ears perk up and it don’t matter who or what it is, it has my undivided attention. I have been blessed with a few opportunities over the years to share my story and try to help someone. I can’t fully sympathize with her situation but I can in part. I am a firm believer that to know how someone feels, you must have traveled the road they are on.

We spent probably half an hour or more just talking about the miracles God has done in our lives and how he has brought us through impossible circumstances. As I recounted details of my life at 18, I couldn’t help but to be humbled and thankful all over again at God’s amazing grace. I have always heard the saying, “Count your blessings.” It is one thing to know you have been blessed, but another thing entirely to start counting them. We all know it is impossible to count them all but God sure does bless when you start counting and acknowledge again all that he has done in your life. I know I have written a lot about this and even used the verses in Proverbs a lot. I hope you will excuse me but I am going to share some of my highlights with you. Isn’t it funny how that the highlights of our lives seem to come in the darkest storms of our lives?

I can remember how closely matched my brother and I were for him to donate a kidney. “As close as you could possibly be without being identical twins.” That is what they told us. We are completely different from physical structure to emotions. We are more different than alike yet God made the necessary things that close so he could extend my life. He also let my kidney reject a week later I believe because I needed to be brought down a notch. I remember telling the nurses in the dialysis unit here that I would be back in 12 days. That would have been two days faster than anyone from Asheville had ever come home. It was 24 days after I had went in before the sole of my feet ever stepped inside my house again. Exactly twice as long as the brags I had made. I believe that God did me like he did Gideon. He fixed my circumstances in a way that when he delivered me, no one else could possibly take credit and especially not me. When my kidney rejected, my fever rose to 105.3. A fever that high carries a strong possibility of permanent brain damage. There was none and I never lost consciousness. I was placed on a cooling blanket and had ice packs placed on all four arteries going to my arms and legs. The cooling blanket was running so cold that it froze up. When I was sent for an ultrasound, I asked the technician what it looked like and he told me it looked like it had rejected. Anyone that has ever has a test done knows that technicians won’t tell you anything. I believe that one did because God wanted me to know just how grave my condition was. Again; so when he delivered me I would know it was him. My doctor said there were five doses of medicine they could give me over a few days and if they didn’t work, there was nothing else they could do. Three doses later they stopped the meds because my kidney function was improving rapidly. I found out years later that the doctor had already written orders to remove the kidney before it got damaged if it didn’t improve. Again; I believe God wanted me to know just how close my life came to being much different and would have been without his delivering hand.

To be honest, I still haven’t figured out why I had to go through all I did as an 18-year-old boy. I believe it to be because God knows me and he knew that some of the lessons I learned would not have sunk in any other way. I don’t have my own answers much less anyone else’s. Why good people get cancer or children die and why folks have disabilities; I can’t answer any of them. But, I do have a God that not only delivered me out of my distresses (Psalms 107:6) but has also made me to thrive because of them. Psalms 146:5 says, “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” All we can do is put our trust in him and lean not unto our own understanding. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!


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