A dialysis patient for 25 years and without kidneys for 15 years, our good friend Chan Kok Beng was featured in our blog “A Song in the Night”’ (Dec.7, 2015)
Having gone to be with the Lord on the 29th May 2019 peacefully, we celebrate his life.
I was working in a bank for 23 years when I felt God call me to serve him fulltime. I resigned and travelled to different towns ministering in music and song as a one-man band carrying 25 lbs. of equipment in my caravan. Thinking I would be used in fulltime music ministry I was devastated when at age 47 I faced death when both my kidneys failed. I had no idea then that God wanted to use me as a trophy of His grace and to reflect His Glory.
He has used the situation in my life to transform me and change me to be the man He wants me to be. I now understand what He meant when He declared, “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” (Rom.9:17)
The doctors only gave me a few years to live in my condition. But I have gone through 4 major operations and many minor vein operations and nearly died many times. The doctors have removed my kidneys, parathyroid glands, gall bladder and some veins. I suffer from high blood pressure, a pinched nerve in my spine and glaucoma. And on top of it all, I have to do dialysis 3 times a week, 4 hours each time.
But I have outlived everyone’s expectations. Being the longest surviving dialysis patient in the Centre the nurses call me ‘The Marathon Man’. People acknowledge me as a ‘walking miracle. My grandson calls me a ‘Holy Zombie’. I am in fact a corpse by His grace, energized by the Holy Spirit which enables me still to press on and travel ministering to churches around the length and breadth of the country sharing my songs and testimony.
Now I am 72 years old and I have been a dialysis patient for 25 years and without kidneys for 15 years. Many people have said that I do not look like a dialysis patient and the old ladies in the dialysis centre said that I am still handsome! Indeed in my weakness, God has become my strength.
I remember during my times of suffering and brokenness, crying to the Lord for healing, I would go to the keyboard to encourage myself and minister to God. God gave me many new songs. The tears that I shed on the keyboard have now become living water for those who are touched. “Intimacy” was written on the hospital bed when I went through the kidneys removal and I experienced amazing closeness to God.
God has allowed me to go through brokenness because how can I tell people about love if I do not experience rejection; forgiveness if I have not forgiven; peace if I do not go through oppression, intimidation, despair and restoration if I have not gone through them myself? God wants me to be a healer who has been wounded so I can help others who are wounded.
Through my suffering, my ministry has extended to my fellow patients. When they have their treatments, they are very scared – they turn blue-black, they see the big needles, they feel the pain, they endure the injections, they see the mounting cost…. I reach out to them, comfort them, answer their questions, explain to them about the treatment, advise them on their diet, clarify how to grow their own blood, direct them about what help is available, which organization can contribute to their cost, etc. Many opened their hearts to the Lord with my baptizing them myself.
Deprived of my freedom, I could bring freedom to those imprisoned by fear, setting them free to trust their lives to God. I was able to bring hope in a seemingly hopeless sickness. When they saw I was alive after so many years, their faith arose. I could not have ministered like this if I had healthy kidneys.
The thorn birds
There is a species of bird that likes to live among the thorn bushes in Australia called ‘Thorn Birds’.
When they know that they are going to die, they will go to the thorn bushes and press themselves against the thorns.
But before they die, they will sing the most beautiful song in their lives.
Those who hear the beautiful song will know that it is the thorn bird’s last song. My final song would be to serve God with every ounce of strength and ability I have to present a beautiful song to please Him.
Song by KB – Remember me when I’m gone