Never to be forgotten

In 1996, Willie McDonald died at the age of ninety. I had only known him for a short time. I will always remember him as a man who loved the Lord deeply. He was small of stature, but he was a man of “strength”: real, spiritual strength (Psalm 90:10). He was “strong in the Lord”, a man who knew his God (Ephesians 6:10; Daniel 11:32).

It was a delight to hear Willie praying. Often, he referred to God as “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity” (Isaiah 57:15). This is our God, the eternal God. What a joy it is to know that, for Willie and for us, God’s promise remains true: “The eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Willie’s prayers were a great encouragement to me. He prayed for me. He prayed that my soul would be watered. He prayed that I would be able to water the souls of others. Willie knew, for himself, the truth of Christ’s words, “He who believes in me; out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37). He prayed that each of us might experience this: “rivers of living water.”

To remember Willie McDonald is to be asked a challenging question. It is God’s question: “Who will stand in the gap for this land?” I hope and pray that God will not be forced to conclude, “I sought for a man (or woman) among them… but I found none” (Ezekiel 22:30).

On the day of his death, he spoke at a morning prayer meeting. His text was “They looked up and saw no-one except Jesus only” (Matthew 17:8). “Jesus only” – that’s what I remember, when I remember Willie McDonald.

We give thanks to God for William McDonald, “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).

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