January 1, 2013

God Has Never Failed Us

It was 1935 and the Great Depression was felt in all our land. My husband and I were the parents of two little girls, who at this time were six and eight years old. For the past five years we had operated a concession stand in a golf course clubhouse. Conditions were not as good as they should have been, in either our business or our once happy home. My husband had dedicated his life to Christ as a young man and had sincerely tried to serve God. I had believed in the Lord ever since I was a little girl. However, I did not understand real salvation. I thought if I went to church, did my best to be a good wife and mother, and treated my neighbors right, I would go to Heaven someday. I did help anyone who came to me hungry or in need. When I was a small child I had known real hunger, for my father was an alcoholic and my mother worked at anything she could find to try to feed her four children.

In the depression years there were many men walking the highways in search of work. They came to our clubhouse offering to work for a little food. We could not turn them away, but our profits dwindled. Also, to my great disappointment, my husband started to drink and to smoke the big cigars we had for sale. Our profits dwindled even more.

Then, my husband narrowly escaped a speeding train that almost struck his car as he was crossing the railroad tracks. The Lord, in His mercy, began talking to each of us. We knew that we should leave that town and try to get back to where God wanted us to be. But we didn’t have the money to move, and we wondered if anyone in those days had enough money to purchase our concession stand. We put an advertisement in the paper and had an answer soon from a couple who had to come to our climate for their health. They had little money, but we didn’t care. We only wanted enough to move away from that place.

We left in an old Model T Ford, partly held together with hay wire. Our two little girls were in the back seat with our dog and several cats in a cardboard box. We also pulled a trailer with a few boxes of clothes and a crate of chickens. As we left, I looked back and said, “Thank you, Lord,” for I felt that we were like the Children of Israel leaving Egypt, trouble, and sin.

The only place we could stay temporarily was in my mother-in-law’s home. It was not very far from the Apostolic Faith tabernacle, and a camp meeting was in progress. The building was open on all sides in those days and we could hear the music—the songs of many happy Christians singing the praises of God.

One evening we went to hear the music, or I should say, the Lord led us there. As soon as I stepped onto those holy grounds, I knew that God was there, and somehow a hope sprang up in my soul. What an inspiring evening that was. I marveled at the testimonies and sermon and the praying of many voices in unison that sounded like the surging rush of mighty waterfalls.

I was given a church paper to take home. I took it out of courtesy, not really intending to read it. I had read so many religious papers over the years, and I was still all wrapped up in my own miserable thoughts about our unhappy home and the fact that I was fast becoming a cripple with arthritis. But the Lord was leading us to paths of glory. One day as I was ironing, so ill I could hardly work, the Lord spoke to my heart. The words were so real. He said to me, “Read that Apostolic Faith paper.” I began to weep, and with trembling hands I picked up the paper from where it was rolled up on the table. The tears blinded my eyes and I could not see to read. But suddenly, as if they were written in letters of fire, I could plainly see these words, “Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” At once my spiritually blinded eyes were opened and I knew that I was a sinner—a self-righteous one trusting in my own goodness and good works to get me into Heaven. I remember holding that paper over my heart and earnestly praying, “Oh, Lord, forgive me and I will serve You the rest of my life.” Such a simple prayer—but what marvelous results. Instantly all my burdens left me and such wonderful peace flooded my soul as I felt the cleansing power of the Blood of Jesus wash away all the sin, doubt, and unhappiness from my life.

My husband was late coming home that evening, and I thought he was out looking for work. As he came in the back door, I looked at him with wonder for he looked young again—just as he looked when he first started to serve Jesus, before all the sin and trouble had overtaken him. I said, “What has happened to you?” He replied, “Jesus has saved me, and today as I was praying at the Apostolic Faith camp meeting Jesus sanctified me. I am not going to drink any more or cause you any more trouble.” With joy I answered, “I didn’t know what to call it, but something happened to me, too. As I was reading the church paper and as I prayed, Jesus completely changed my life. I forgot to finish my ironing. Instead, I have been reading the Bible. I never knew it was such a wonderful Book with so many wonderful promises.”

In the days ahead, the Lord carefully took us through many hard trials to prove us and also to help us increase our faith in Him. One day He showed me that I needed to forgive someone for a great wrong. I knew I could say that I forgave, but could I really mean it in my heart? I prayed much about it and one day I told the Lord, “Yes, I can really forgive.” At that moment I was instantly healed of the arthritis.

Our younger daughter had been ill from the time she was an infant. Physicians had not been able to help her. After we were saved, we decided to trust the Lord for her healing. For a long time she grew worse. One night as I prayed beside her bed, I looked out of the window at the stars and said, “Oh Lord, what have I done that You do not hear my prayer and heal our child?” A Scripture came to my mind, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward” (Hebrew 10:35). My husband and I prayed all night by her bed. Then on another night, she went to sleep ill, as usual, but in the morning she was entirely healed. Jesus had touched her during the night. The illness never returned.

The time had come for our second camp meeting and we wanted to stay on the campground. We were told that we could use a tent, and we did have some furnishings, but we needed a stove and money was scarce. Our family prayed together in our kitchen that God would help us go to camp meeting. Kneeling in a corner of the room, the daughter who had been healed was praying very earnestly, “Lord, give us a stove so we can go to camp meeting.” After prayer my husband went for a walk and passed an old house that workmen were taking apart. In one of the rooms was a small cast iron wood stove. My husband asked the foreman if he wanted to sell it. He replied, “If you can take it away, you may have it.” That stove served us very well for several camp meetings. I could even bake biscuits on it!

I looked at my husband and wondered, “What will we do for lunch?” He looked thoughtful but said, “We will trust the Lord.”

One Saturday night, I looked through the cupboard to find something to feed my family. Finally, we sat down and thanked the Lord for a very thin soup. The next day was Sunday, and we always took our lunch and stayed all day at church. I looked at my husband and wondered, “What will we do for lunch?” He looked thoughtful but said, “We will trust the Lord.”

At that moment there was a knock at the front door. We all hurried to answer it. There was a young woman from the Apostolic Faith Church standing there with a box of groceries. As she brought them in, she said, “Mother was doing dishes when the Lord laid it on her heart to send you this food.” There was stuffed breast of veal, bread and butter, milk, fruit, and vegetables. We dropped to our knees in a great prayer of thanksgiving, not only for the food but for people who were close enough to the Lord to know when some of His children were in need. We thanked God also that He had revealed to us that we could trust Him in hard places.

In our first year as new Christians, we found that we should trust, believe, and do God’s will. Through many years He never failed us.

apostolic faith magazine