October 1, 2012

Our Hands in God's Hand

Scotty Ross tells his story:

Being raised by divorced parents and hearing nothing of the Gospel in either home, I grew up in ignorance of what God can do. I lived with my mother for a couple of years and then with my father. In my mother’s home I learned about card playing, theaters, and dancing. In my father’s home, it was astrology, philosophy, and trying to live right.

During World War II, I enlisted in the Army and there I met a man who I knew was different. He hummed in the mornings while we shaved, and he had a sparkle in his eyes. He would often invite me to church, but I told him it was no place for me. It was during this time that God began to talk to my heart. Everything I was doing to try to enjoy life began turning empty and flat. I would say to myself, What is wrong with me? I feel terrible. A voice would answer every time, “You have to change your way of living.” This conversation took place time and time again. I told myself that if I ever got out of the Army, I would quit every sinful habit I had learned there.

I thought I would die in the war, and the Lord began to be very much on my mind. Then, while I was on the island of Iwo Jima, the announcement came that the war was over. I looked up to the sky and said, “The Lord must have something for me, because I am still alive.” My family met me at the train depot, and the first question I asked was, “Where is Granddad?” I had been told that he was a preacher, and it was on my mind to ask him about God. My mother’s reply was, “Your granddad passed away just a few days ago.” So that avenue was closed.

For a time I went back to school, but after a year I returned home to take care of my mother when my stepfather was killed on the job. A man at work asked me to double date with him, his girlfriend, and her younger sister because he had no car. I didn’t think much of the idea, but went anyway. I was pleasantly surprised by my date, Phoebe, and within two months we were married.

Her folks were holding Gospel meetings in their home for her grandmother who was ninety-six and unable to leave the house. They invited us to join them. I didn’t want to go to church, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt because it was in their house. It was there that the Spirit of God got hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I began to pray in their home, and in my home, and in their church, and anywhere that I could.

One Sunday morning I was ready to give up; I just wasn’t getting through. Right then that same voice that had talked to me before said, “Have mercy on me a sinner.” Immediately I began to repeat that prayer, and before I got half-way through, Jesus came into my life and made a change. I had tried in my own strength to quit my sinful habits, but I couldn’t. However, Jesus took them away in a moment! There was no more trying to quit, and no more desire to do any of those things. I wanted more of God, I wanted to go to church—and the services were never too long.

Soon I found myself praying, “Lord, I need something more, but I don’t know what it is.” I prayed that prayer many times. The Lord answered it about a year after He saved me. I was lying on my bed one night when I had a vision of a searchlight coming down. It came right to the foot of my bed. Inside that light was an ordinary chest of drawers with three drawers. The middle one was open and I could see that it was full of white clothes. They were so beautiful it made me long to have them. Then the light disappeared and I wondered what it all meant.

A short time later, during a cottage meeting, I was asked to start the service by reading something from the Bible. I began to read, but suddenly I said, “I don’t care what the world says or thinks, I’m going all the way with Jesus.” Down came the Spirit of God and everything in and about that room disappeared. I saw the Scripture, “Ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). There was a peace so strong I thought I could walk on it. I didn’t know what this great experience was, even though Jesus had shown me the vision of the clean clothes, but I knew I had received two definite works and I could not let go of either one of them.

The Lord could have told me what this second experience was, but instead He led us to the Apostolic Faith Church in Chehalis, Washington. There we heard testimonies in every meeting, and it seemed that they were all about sanctification. What a wonderful blessing. What a relief. Now I could tell about it too.

The Lord told me to seek the Holy Ghost. After that it should have been easy for me, but I kept expecting an experience like I had before. Gradually I learned that I had to believe what God was giving me was the answer to the prayer. God did His part many times, but I kept waiting for something different. When I finally said, “Lord, I believe this is it,” it was. He filled me with joy unspeakable and I received the witness. As I left the church that night, I was singing, “My wonderful, wonderful Lord.” Someone entering said to me, “You must have received your baptism.” God had done it, and I am still thanking Him for it.

I know that someday Phoebe and I will see our wonderful Lord and have continual joy and peace.

Phoebe Ross tells of her conversion:

My parents were both Christians, so I had the privilege of being raised in a godly home. There were eight boys and seven girls in our family. We lived on a large farm in Washington, where we enjoyed lots of love.

Mom and Dad saw to it that we were in church on Sundays. We had to walk three miles to catch the bus, and then return home by bus after the services. On Sundays, we would attend the morning service and then go again on Sunday night, after we had done the chores and milked the cows.

I was saved in that home at the age of ten, during the family gathering for Bible reading and prayer. Some times when my uncle came to visit us, we would have a meeting in our own home, as he was a minister. We loved to listen to him preach for us. By the age of thirteen, I had received all three experiences—salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost—and I was a happy little girl.

However, a little later in my teen years, Satan got a hold of my heart, and I started to listen to the other young people at school. When I was sixteen, I told my mother that I was not going to church anymore. I left home and moved to Chehalis, Washington, where I got a job and my own apartment. In a short time, I began going to the movies and running around with a wild crowd.

In spite of my rebellion, there were a few things I would not do. Dancing was one of those things. My friends also tried to get me to smoke and drink with them at the parties we attended, but thank the Lord, I would not touch such things.

Sometimes I would go home on the weekends and my dad would ask me to go to church with him. I always told him no, but my parents never quit praying for me, and God dealt with my heart. I was miserable! At times I would cry when I was alone in my apartment, and other times I would quote Bible verses and sing the hymns our family had sung around home, trying to recapture the peace I had felt as a child.

I am so thankful that my story does not end there. God kept talking to me all the time. I tried for eight years to find something that would make me happy again, but all the time I knew down in my heart where I should go to find it. One Sunday morning God got a hold of my heart once more. In prayer, I finally surrendered everything to Him. That was a wonderful day because I found happiness again. How my parents rejoiced that their prayers had been answered!

We had put our hands in God’s hand, and He held us up through it all.

I have had a wonderful time serving God since that day. My husband and I went through some rough waters when our children were sick at different times, but the Lord was with us. We had put our hands in God’s hand, and He held us up through it all.

After more than forty-five years of serving God, I look back and see the many blessings He has given us. It has been a good life, and I thank Him from the bottom of my heart.

apostolic faith magazine