A Testament of the Grace of God on His Servant
by Kathryn Currier with Doyle Davidson
Doyle has stated on more than one occasion: “I knew growing up, Jasper County couldn’t keep me. As a young boy I stood on top of a high “tailing” pile and as I looked out over that land I said to myself, ‘When I get old enough, I’m leaving this place’, and one day I did just that.”
He joined the United States Navy in 1952 and served four years as a hospital corpsman; 27 months of his service were in Yokosuka, Japan. He married his high school sweetheart, Patti Tinkle and their daughter Kathy Jane was born in California seven days after he had shipped out for Japan. He met Kathy for the first time in Japan when she was seven months old, after he had made arrangements for Patti and Kathy to come live with him while he was stationed there. In Oakland, California, working as a hospital corpsman on the paraplegic ward, he saw men with injuries like he had never seen and as he attended to these men, he was greatly humbled and it had a profound effect on him. Years later God would bring these experiences back to his remembrance as he read in Isaiah that Jesus was marred more than any man.
After his discharge from the Navy, he made the decision to go to veterinary school and upon graduation from University of Missouri School of Veterinary Medicine in 1962, moved his family to Tennessee. There was tremendous opportunity for him in the equine medicine industry in that state, however Patti had health problems that were exacerbated by the climate of the area and Doyle made the decision to leave. He told Patti he could practice veterinary medicine anywhere, it wasn’t worth her being sick and they left Tennessee, living in Sarcoxie, Missouri for a short period, eventually settling in McKinney, Texas. He worked for another veterinary group for a few months and then began his own practice. He built 121 Veterinary Hospital, a state-of-the-art animal hospital that he had designed himself. He established a successful equine practice and became well known in the business. His reputation of honesty and integrity preceded him, in an industry that wasn’t always conducive to those qualities. A client told him once, “Doc you are too honest for your own good.” Doyle replied, “Never.” One day, Lyle came to visit and spent the day with him at his veterinary hospital. The parking lot was full of horse trailers and while Doyle was working, his Dad mingled outside with Doyle’s clients, listening and asking questions. When the day was over Lyle said, “Well I’ve found out two things.” Doyle said, “Yes, and what would that be?” Lyle said, “Your clients say you are honest and you’re not afraid to say you don’t have the answer but you’ll try to find out.” Doyle’s reply was, “Well that shouldn’t surprise you. You raised me.”
Prior to entering vet school, Doyle had a visitation from God. He was 26 years old, living in Columbia, Missouri and rotating the tires on his car one afternoon when the presence of God fell on him and he heard the Lord say, “I don’t want you to be a veterinarian, I want you to be a minister of the gospel.” He said he knew fear in that moment like he has never known since and all he could say was, “Lord don’t send me to hell, Lord don’t send me to hell.” He didn’t obey God that day and years later God told him it was because he didn’t believe Him.
He describes those years he practiced veterinary medicine, as being like Jonah, running from God and ending up in the belly of a whale, except his whale was veterinary medicine, though he didn’t know that at the time— he enjoyed what he did, and they lived a very comfortable life.
When he left the church at eighteen, with his dad’s permission, his parents and siblings and the people he grew up around were troubled. He never returned, except to visit once in awhile and it appeared to them he had rejected God or at the least, it seemed he had no interest in God—he was considered the “black sheep” of the family. But what they didn’t know was during those years he was always looking for God, he just didn’t tell them—he didn’t tell anyone.
Even as a boy growing up in a family who read the bible daily and went to church regularly—he didn’t want to tell anyone he talked to God or that he prayed. And he didn’t tell them that he didn’t want to be like the preachers he saw, there were too many who said one thing, but did another. But he experienced the results of a prayer of faith when God answered his prayer during what to him was a desperate time during his childhood:
“When I was five years old, my mother became sick and they thought she was going to die. No one knew what was wrong with her, but she couldn’t get her breath. (Now I know it was demons.) She was sick for weeks. At that time, Granddad could delegate his work to his sons and others; he didn’t have to be on the job every day. He came to the house every day for two weeks and prayed when Mother was sick. One day when he came, he called me and my sisters together and sat us down to talk to us. He told us, “You know there was a lady who lived down south from here who was sick and they thought she was going to die and this woman had three kids. One day those kids got together by her bed and prayed, and they told God, “God if you don’t do something for our mother, we’re going to have to take her to the cemetery.” God healed those kids’ mother.” Only God knows how hard my heart was. I would give you anything I had to help you, but I didn’t want to talk about God. As I listened to Granddad, I didn’t know what to think. My heart was so hard and I didn’t want anyone to know I prayed, but this was my mother. After I heard the testimony that Granddad shared with us, I thought maybe it was time to pray. Dorothy, Betty and I, along with my Granddad prayed. I don’t recall my prayer, I probably reminded God about those three kids Granddad had told us about. Mother began to get better immediately. I know now, my Granddad and we three kids joined our faith and God honored that prayer.”
God did put people in his life, including Levi Burkhart and Elliott Hodge who also demonstrated faith. They both ministered at the Redwood Holiness church while Doyle was growing up and they stand out in his memory, especially Levi Burkhart. Of all the visiting preachers that came to speak, he seemed to have the greatest impact on Doyle’s life. Doyle said he didn’t care to listen to most preachers in church but Levi Burkhart was one who was able to hold his attention. He had a methodical and deliberate delivery and included a great deal of scripture. He remembers that he opened every sermon with, “I need the prayers of all God’s people.” Reverend Burkhart spoke at length about the creation and the stars in the heavens and the heavenlies and he ministered that to Doyle. I have heard that same appreciation for all that God has created in conversations with Doyle. He said to me once, “How can one look up at the stars in the sky at night, and not know there is a God?” He didn’t know Reverend Burkhart personally and never had any conversations with him but he learned years later after a conversation with a neighbor and family friend, Paul Smith, that when Levi came to visit his [Paul] home, he always had his bible, it was almost always in his lap and it was underlined. That made an impression on Doyle. Doyle believes God told him the reason Lyle took his family to Redwood Church was for Doyle to hear Levi Burkhart speak.
Elliot Hodge was another minister that seemed different to Doyle. He had faith, as his testimony “A Sketch of My Life” demonstrates. In his testimony he tells that from the result of a hunting accident he ended up gravely ill in the the hospital and the doctors believed he would soon die. A friend called church members in Independence, Kansas and asked them to gather the Holiness people to pray. A number of people came to the hospital to pray, including Doyle’s aunt, Neva Dodson. Later Doyle’s Uncle Floyd Davidson and his Grandfather Luther Davidson came also. Hodge died and went to heaven three times, and tells of the experience in his testimony, but God answered their prayers and Hodge lived and recovered, a testimony to the faith of those who prayed. Doyle obviously recognized it in both Burkhart and Hodge, even as a young boy. He admits it was easier for him to accept that it was faith in those visiting ministers, than it was to accept his Dad’s faith.
Doyle said, “I didn’t believe a word I heard all those years, which proves that you can sit in the middle of a people and not hear one word, but one day, God can open a person’s heart to hear and believe.”
Doyle went on television in the Joplin area in the 1990’s and his family was questioning his ministry and the things he was teaching. Paul Smith told them after a lengthy conversation with Doyle in Alba’s kitchen, that he could find nothing wrong with his doctrine. Paul Smith was a student of John Wesley doctrine.
While Doyle was a practicing veterinarian God was constantly speaking to him and he tells of an angel riding with him in his car:
“But God had been visiting me for about 12 years, and the last two years, 1968 – 1969, God spoke to me day and night. In fact, I know now that He put an angel of the Lord in the right front seat of my automobile. I drove hundreds of miles practicing veterinary medicine in North Texas and other areas in the United States. That angel sat in my car day and night.
Every time I would get in the car he would be there asking, ‘Why don’t you preach the gospel? Why don’t you obey God?’ I was so frustrated, I thought, ‘Why don’t you get out of my car? Why don’t you leave me alone?’ But I thank God that He did not.”
He kept a bible with him under the seat of the car those two years and he said when he would pull it out to read it, the words would stand up on the page, looking three-dimensional—God was illuminating His word to him and teaching him. He showed him in Ephesians 1 about the baptism in the Holy Spirit being a second experience to being born again:
13) In whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.
14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Just as Paul said in Galatians 1 that he was taught of God, so it was with Doyle:
12) For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Other chapters of "A Life Lived Wholly Unto God:"
Chapter 1: Early Years
Chapter 2: Heritage
Chapter 3: Like Jonah and the Whale
Chapter 4: Sell Out and Obey Me
Chapter 5: Return to the Land of Your Fathers
Chapter 6: Florida
Chapter 7: Back to Texas
Chapter 8: Israel - Called Into the Ministry
Chapter 9: Argyle
Chapter 10: Carrollton
Chapter 11: A Prophet to the Nations
Chapter 12: Water of Life Ministries
Chapter 13: Terry Mai
Chapter 14: Radio and Television Ministry
Chapter 15: Live Stream Broadcasting
Chapter 16: The False Anointing
Chapter 17: Water of Life Christian Training School
Chapter 18: Africa
Chapter 19: Medicine is Witchcraft