Would you give a kidney to a near stranger of a different race if the Lord asked you to? One woman did just that.
Three days a week, Toni spent most of her time in a dialysis unit. For hours the machine did what her kidneys could not.
Without dialysis, it was a sure bet that Toni would die. But the rigorous routine left her too exhausted to really live. Toni's name was on the long list of those in desperate need of a transplant, but so far, there had only been a series of disappointments.
So Toni sought the face of the Lord for her healing.
Diana Harrill was beginning a 40-hour fast when Toni's name came strongly into her mind. Diana didn't really know Toni. She remembered her as just someone she passed in the hallways at church. Diana thought her random thoughts were unusual.
Diana, also a Christian, had asked the Lord what she should pray and fast for.
When her name came into my mind, I felt like I needed to make her one of the strong points of prayer during my fasting time, and I thought it meant that she was going to get healed. I was really excited.
Forty days later, after the prayer and fasting, Diana and the other people in the church who had been praying still didn't have an answer. Diana wondered why. A few weeks later she was driving to work and she thought she heard the voice of the Lord say to her, Would you be willing to be the answer for Toni's kidney? Little did Diana know what her response would mean.
When I said, 'Yes, Lord, I would be willing to be a part of the answer,' immediately the thought came into my mind, Would you be willing to donate a kidney to Toni?
At first Diana says she thought it was a ridiculous idea, but it kept coming back. She prayerfully began to research the possibility of giving a kidney to a near stranger of a different race. She discovered it was possible.
Dianas husband, Ivan, was floored when she told him she was thinking about donating a kidney to Toni. After further discussing the idea with Diana, he realized she was quite serious.
Their pastor, Daniel Wood, says, My first response was that it took my breath away because it's a very big issue, very big item. But then knowing Diana and having confidence in her ability to hear from the Lord and her spiritual maturity, I began to get excited with her about the possibility that God was doing something very special here.
Toni Whatley was speechless, and her husband, Tom, was shocked as well.
Ivan sought the Lord in search of an answer. "'Okay, what gives, Lord?'" he prayed. "What's going on here? Is this something You really want her to do? If You really want her to do this so that I can give my blessing to it, tell me to go ahead. I need for You to give me some peace in my heart about this. And a peace came over me that night. From then on, every time we approached a doctor or sought out some information that would help us make a decision as to go about going ahead and doing this, the peace of God just continued to flood my heart and I knew that God was putting His stamp of approval on it."
But the road was not easy. There were a battery of tests, physical and psychological. There were questions in Toni's mind. Why would Diana do this for her? What about Diana's grown son who was completely against the whole thing? In the midst of it all, an incredible bond of love was drawing these four people together in a unique friendship. Toni says her major fear was Diana dying during the operation. But she says Diana put her mind at ease one day as only she could.
"Diana said, 'Well let me tell you how I would feel about that. If I were to die, I would be with the Lord, you know? I would be a perfect situation for me because I would be in the presence of the Lord.' Just like we were talking about the weather. And I looked at her and said, 'Lord!'"
On May 5th, 1998, one of Diana Harrill's kidneys was successfully transplanted into Toni Whatley. More than a year after a 40-day fast, Diana says her prayer was answered in a way she would have never dreamed.
This was the first time in my life that I have ever felt this kind of a degree of love and commitment to somebody outside of my immediate family. I remember commenting to the Lord about that one day and feeling the response back from him, But, Diana, this is how you're supposed to feel all the time to the body of Christ.
Toni's not the only in this story to receive a transplant. Her husband, Tom, also received a heart transplant by giving his life to Jesus Christ. Diana's son, who was against the whole thing from the outset, has also changed. Now he believes his mom did the right thing. Perhaps for the Harrills and the Whatleys, the whole story could be wrapped up in this statement: God works in mysterious ways.
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