Kathy Roberson gave a life-saving gift that has one man feeling much more than grateful during this Thanksgiving period. Georgia resident Roberson donated one of her kidneys to Charlie Merwin, a man she didn't know previously, after she had heard a clear message from God through prayer, as reported by The Southern Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church.
Roberson, the wife of Ocilla United Methodist Church pastor Rev. Jay Roberson, learned of Merwin's health difficulties when a mutual friend shared his "Kidney for Charlie" Facebook page, and asked her to pray for him.
As a devout Christian, Roberson said she began to pray for Merwin, an Adel, Ga., native who suffered from focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a disease that is a leading cause of kidney failure in adults.
"I started praying, 'Lord, please provide a donor for him to heal him,' and I prayed for God to put the right person in his life to find a kidney," Roberson said in the Conference article.
After praying for three days, Roberson said she heard a gentle voice say, "Why not you?"
"I looked around and said, 'Lord, I can't do that; I don't do doctors or needles or hospitals, but I'll keep praying,'" she said.
Later that night, as she was again praying, Roberson felt God saying, "I told you to do this."
The next morning she called Emory University Medical Center in Atlanta and began the process of being a potential kidney donor. She was one of more than a dozen people who had volunteered to be tested.
"I have never before heard that calm voice (God) so clearly convicting me to do the right thing," she said.
Though Roberson had prayed fervently for Merwin, the two were still strangers, according to the Conference article. Her husband, however, knew Merwin, a lay pastor, from time spent together in ministry at Adel United Methodist Church. After several rounds of testing and finding out that her kidney was a perfect match, Roberson asked her husband to call Merwin to set up a visit. Last Christmas, she made her donation plans official, and the surgery was performed this summer.
"What a great gift, on Christmas Day, for somebody to tell you they are giving you one of their kidneys," Merwin said. "It's beyond comprehension that someone would make that sacrifice. As a Christian we see that same sacrifice in what Jesus did for us. When we didn't know him, he crawled up on the cross and died for our sins. That someone would crawl up on an operating table and give up an organ before they knew you...that's a gift you can never repay."
"It's a miracle," he said. "(God has) blessed us, and I try to share that blessing with other people."
Roberson said that, more than anything, this is a story of obedience, faithfulness, and God's provision.
"I've been a Christian for a really long time and have a deep faith in Christ, but I have never heard His voice so clearly about what to do with my life. God's faithfulness through this whole journey has been evident over and over and over again," she said.
"I wanted to be obedient to what He told me to do. God is good. I just did this from Him. I was told to do this, and I just said yes."