Pastor’s new book offers hope to people facing life’s trials and tragedies

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By Special to The Sun

By Stevie Lowery
Landmark News Service

Storms can wreak havoc on our lives.
The folks in West Liberty can attest to that after a tornado ripped through their community March 2.
After experiencing such devastation and loss, it’s hard to imagine picking up the pieces and moving on. In fact, it almost seems impossible.
But, it’s not.
There’s always hope.
That’s the message Dr. David B. Whitlock shares in his recently published book, “Surviving the Storms of Life: How to Triumph in Tragedy.”
Whitlock, who has been the pastor at Lebanon Baptist Church since 2002, has experienced his share of storms.
At the age of 6, Whitlock and his older brother, Doug, were in a car accident together. Doug, 18 months older than Whitlock, was killed.
The details of that day are forever ingrained in Whitlock’s memory.
“Time stops,” he said. “I can remember hitting the dashboard. I can remember what happened in vivid detail.”
But, it was losing his first wife, Katri, to a six-year battle with cancer in 2003, that inspired a great deal of what he writes about in his book.
“The hardest day of my life was the day I had to tell the kids that mom isn’t coming home from the hospital,” Whitlock said.
During her illness, his wife was very optimistic and was determined to beat it. “I think she refused to give in, even in the end,” Whitlock said.
And, while that experience was traumatic and devastating for Whitlock and his family, he knows it’s not unique and that everyone has battles and storms that they face in their lives.
“Some storms we bring into our life, but many we don’t,” he said. “Sometimes we bring the storms into our lives because we’re not perfect. Choices have consequences and none of us are perfect. And life isn’t fair.”
Whitlock’s goal in writing the book was to offer help.
And hope.
“Life is tough,” Whitlock said. “Everyone that we encounter goes through storms. The thing that gets me through is knowing there is always hope.”
And that hope comes from his faith.
“To survive the storms, I have to have a daily communion with God,” Whitlock said. “It’s key for me. I talk about that in the book.”
But, it’s the belief that Jesus is praying for him that gives him true peace.
“It’s not the power of my prayer, it’s the fact that He’s praying for me,” Whitlock said. “It gives you confidence and peace. At least, it does for me.”
But, it’s natural for people who are going through storms to question whether God is listening, or if He cares, or if He is there at all.
“At some point, we’re going to doubt things,” Whitlock said. “It’s OK to ask those questions.”
But, Whitlock said no one is going through storms alone.
“Jesus is praying for you,” Whitlock said. “Jesus has you on his mind. He assures us that one way or the other he’s going to see us through. So, if we have that confidence knowing that He is praying for me. He has a plan for me and He is going to see me through this. That provides some calmness.”
For anyone that is going through one of life’s storms right now, Whitlock offers this advice.
“God loves you. He’s got His eyes on you,” Whitlock said. “You may not feel it or even believe it, but God loves you and he’s not going to give up. He won’t give up on you.”
Whitlock will be having a book signing from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 20, at the Marion County Public Library.
About the author
During his adolescent years, Dr. David B. Whitlock traveled with his parents to various countries where his father and mother volunteered their time to help others. Those travels took Whitlock to Zimbabwe, Yemen, India, and the Dominican Republic.
David preached his first public sermon in Bangalore, India, when he was a senior in high school. Since then, he has ministered in churches in Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Louisiana, and Kentucky. He has also participated in mission work in Honduras.
David graduated from Baylor University (B.A.), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Th.), and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D).
Since 2002, Whitlock has been pastor of Lebanon Baptist Church in Lebanon. He also teaches as an adjunct professor in the theology department at Campbellsville University.
After losing his first wife to a six-year battle with cancer in 2003, Whitlock later remarried his high school sweetheart, Lori. Whitlock and his wife reside in Lebanon with their four children.
Stevie Lowery is the publisher at The Lebanon Enterprise.
David Whitlock frequently appears as a columnist on the editorial pages of The Springfield Sun.