Stop Rejecting Me
(Please listen to Chris’s story by clicking the white play button at the top of this post. You can read the transcript of the story below.)
Dialysis alone is nothing but a death sentence, it’s just–you’re waiting to die. It’s not the best substance. It’s not a real life. It’s like you’re, like you’re stuck. It’s like being locked up. You have your life, but you can’t do anything. There is a disease in your blood that’s slowly overtaking your body. That’s a picture of sin.
I’m hoping that someone can identify when I share this story because I don’t think I’m the Lone Ranger who did this. I pretty much lived my life in sin. Yeah, I went to church and I had my times that I really felt God’s presence in my life and, and times that I thought I was repenting, but I always found myself going back, doing the same old thing. It seems like right before I could get delivered, the enemy always knew what person to send in my life. He always knew what button to push that would keep me from totally surrendering.
You know where, in my neck of the woods, all of the men, we called each other player. “Hey, what’s up player?” You know, and you’re entertaining this–Oh man that’s that’s that’s like a badge of honor. Oh man, I’m a player. And so you start taking on, you start taking that thing on as if that’s a good thing and it becomes a role that you take on and you begin to get good at it. Whatever playing looks like–if it’s cheating in life, if you could steal, then you stole well, you know, and you improve that. You practice on it. If you could have more than, you know, one girlfriend…Ah, you’re a player. You know, if you could do that well, wow, that’s good. And so I remember, I enjoyed being called, “player.” So I practiced having 2,3,4,5 different girlfriends at a time. But I found out that wasn’t good enough. The enemy wanted to take me a little bit deeper. And the more that I played in church, the more that I gave ground to the enemy, not only that I became a player, well, I wanted money. I needed something to try to sustain my life and, you know, do things. And the quickest way was to sell drugs. So from having the girlfriends, selling the drugs, it got deeper. Before you know it, I was a pimp. And I realized, the enemy’s got me.
I remember one day waking up and I was headed out to get me something to drink and I started to feel a great deal of pain in my foot. My foot hurt so bad. I realized, man this pain is not going to go away. I thought to myself, I better go see a doctor. I made an appointment and the doctor told me that “it looks like your kidneys are not functioning properly.” He told me, “it probably won’t be long that you will be on dialysis.” I left there with a fear inside of me thinking, Man, I don’t want to be on dialysis.
So I continued to drink and I continued to do my own thing. I realized that now I was bound; I couldn’t stop. See, I did my own thing for years and years and years. And it came to a place that when it was time to change, I realized I couldn’t. I started hurting really bad till I couldn’t go anymore. I had an appointment with the doctor and he finally looked at me and he said, “Well, son, it’s about that time. You got to be on dialysis.” And he explained it to me. He explained that I needed to get my blood cleaned out at least three times a week and there was just a series of events that needed to take place–from a catheters being placed in my chest and, and set me up with a center to go to. And I said, “Okay, I’m going to trust this doctor and I guess I’m going to trust God.”
I couldn’t ask the question, “Why am I on dialysis?” I couldn’t ask the question, “Why me?” I couldn’t have a big pity party. Because I already knew. I was like Frank Sinatra; I did it my way. And the Lord had finally allowed my circumstances, that I created, to get ahold of me. And I begin to cry out. Out of a pure heart. I said, “Yes, Lord, I understand why I’m here. I understand that there’s something that You want me to do. That I’ve run from it all of my life.” And the more I began to cry out unto the Lord, it became more real that who He was. It became more real that His purpose and everything that He had allowed me to see in my life.
The Lord began to speak to me. He said, “Son, I’m going to give you a kidney.” He said, “but there’s a few things…” It’s almost like I had some prerequisites that I needed to do. The Lord told me, “You need to get your, you need to get your name right. You need to have integrity.” I started making sure that everything about my name was good. No more trickery. Paid all my debt. Made sure I had good credit. I just began to change everything about my life. I wanted people to know that there was a new Chris; he was on the horizon based upon the grace of God. I started really reading my Word. I started really praying. I started being kind to people. I started trusting in God and hearing from Him. And I learned how to encourage myself. I learned how to encourage others that were right around me going through some of the same circumstances. Going to dialysis–in and out, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
A good friend of mine somehow had gotten word that I was on dialysis. He said, “You’re on dialysis huh?” I said, “Yeah, David.” He said, “Well, you don’t look sick.” He said, “What’s going on?” “I’m doing dialysis,” I said, “they said my kidneys aren’t functioning too well.” He said, “Hey, man, that’s funny.” He said,”I just finished reading a book about Iran,” he said. “And they’re much more forward thinking. They just consider themselves a donor and they’ll give up, they’re willing to give up a kidney.” And he said, “You know what? I’m going to give you a kidney.” By the way, the doctor had already told me that it’s gonna take me a while to get a kidney. They told me I had a rare blood type. I believe it was, 0-negative. Now, what you guys don’t know is, David is a white guy, and I’m a black guy. I suppose in my ignorance, I kept thinking, man, this white guy doesn’t have the same blood.
We traded information. I gave him all my doctor’s information and he went down and got tested. After about three weeks, they gave me and David a call, “They said you guys are a match.” Here was someone that didn’t look like me. You know, man, I was always probably a few pounds overweight and David was just, you know, just a model cut. Just everything was so different about us, but just to think that the blood type was the same. And so it was just a rare moment for me to really understand that we’re really all so so much alike on the inside. After knowing that David was a match, it’s like the Lord brought it to pass–everything He told me. He’d said He’d give me a kidney and I told Him that I would do what was right. Now we just had to go through the process of getting that kidney.
The Lord said “Your body rejected the very thing that it needed to live.” He said, “Now son, stop rejecting Me.”
Well, after the first night of getting the kidney, it looks like everything went well. Second night, everything was good. Third night, everything was good. They said, “Mr. Hughes, you can go home with your new kidney.” Well overjoyed, I went home. I thought to myself, this is going to be great. I got a new life. I felt, just, the weight of life lifted. After one day being at home, something was wrong. I went to the restroom and it just– something was wrong. All I saw was red. So I called my kidney doctor and I said, “Hey, something’s not right.” And he urged me to hurry and get back to the hospital. I got back to the hospital and he met me there. I looked at the doctor and I said, “Hey, Doc, am I going to be okay?” And he said, “Well, you need to talk to your Boss.” Well, this was a real tough doctor and for him to tell me that one–I knew perhaps I was in trouble.
After a series of tests, the doctors let me know, “You’ve had the worst kidney rejection, one of the worst we’ve ever seen.” It was at that point they they put me in ICU and I stayed in ICU probably a good month. I remember looking up at my mom and I told her, I said, “Mom,” I said, “I’m tired. I think I just want to go home.” She said, “No son, I’m praying and you just keep hanging in there.” About that time that uh, it seemed like some some fresh life start coming into my body. Soon as I felt that life coming in, I remember I gazed towards heaven and I begin to talk to the Lord. I said, “Lord, You promised me a kidney.” I said, “I can’t understand why this happened.” I said, “Why did I, why did I have to go through this, to the point that I almost wanted to just die? What is all of this about?”
I don’t believe we go through anything without trying to get an understanding. What’s going on God, what is this about? And as I cried out to the Lord, I distinctly heard God’s voice and God said, “I want you to feel what I felt.” And I said, “God what do You…what do You mean? What, what did You feel?” At this point He had my attention. And the Lord said, “Your body rejected the very thing that it needed to live.” He said, “Now son, stop rejecting Me.” He said, “I want you to get out of here and go to tell all My people–stop rejecting Me.”
That’s my story. So no more do I live lawless or self righteousness; but I live by His promise. I live by His grace. I live by His presence.