My Seventeenth Birthday

I well remember my 17th birthday.

It had already been a momentous August. My mother had major surgery earlier in the month. While she recovered, my dad, my brother, and I did our normal thing. For us the normal was working to keep a business as well as a farm running.

Two weeks before my birthday with my mother still in the hospital, I had an accident with a pick-up truck. My left arm was pinned between an eight inch fence post and the pick-up truck. As bad as my arm looked–and hurt–the pick-up looked worse. I drove it back to town one-handed without a door on the driver’s side.

My dad worried about my arm, but I feel sure he worried more about how he was going to go to the hospital and tell my mother what happened on his watch.

Actually, he didn’t tell her. He simply let me walk into the room with my arm in a cast and a sling.

She cried. Some things you don’t forget.

The good news was that bones were broken and crushed but nothing that couldn’t mend.

It got worse. On my 17th birthday, I had my appendix out. In that day an appendectomy meant major surgery and six weeks to heal. It was the day football practice started. Now I had two injuries, and I was really, really low.

My mother, only two weeks after her major surgery came into the hospital room late at night. She had two things for me–my Bible and a word from God.

She quoted Romans 8:28 from the King James Version of the Bible: “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” God spoke that night through her word and His Word.

Some things you don’t forget.

The Holy Spirit ministered to me. I didn’t feel sorry for myself again, and God did exactly as He promised.

Today, I look back and think–God used that to get my attention and to show me His power. Eight months later almost to the day, April 20, 1966, Easter Sunday night as we worshiped the Risen Lord, God spoke to me in an unmistakable way. I have described it as a violent call (no, I can’t really explain what that means). He wanted me to preach the Gospel.

I suppose I have doubted many things, but I have never doubted His unmistakable plan for me. What I once would not have done for any amount of money, I received a yearning to do with all my heart.

That desire to preach has never diminished. It may be stronger now than ever before.

I learned an amazing lesson my seventeenth year. God can take what seems to be bad and use it for His glory.

He does what His Word says. He works in our lives to grow us and to honor Him.

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5 Comments


  1. Tissie Gibson
    Dec 16, 2014

    Thank God that you were wise enough to listen to His calling. He has used you to impact so many lives. You have been His faithful servant.


  2. The Millers
    Dec 16, 2014

    We are thankful to God for you Waylon!
    Romans 8:28 remains true today.


  3. Lara
    Dec 16, 2014

    God bless your mother. I bet she was a great woman of God.


    • Waylon
      Dec 30, 2014

      Thank you, Lara. She made such a profound impact on my direction in life.


  4. Sandy Sandusky
    Dec 16, 2014

    Surely glad he called you to preach…and to do so at FBC Cov. Have the Merriest of all Christmases.

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. — 1 John 4:16 (NIV)