Joy and I were completing our first semester at Bible school. I was having difficulties making the payments on our 12 x 70 mobile home, even though I was working a job evenings and weekends. Joy was working nights typing depositions for a legal firm in order to help out, and I was becoming depressed.
One evening, instead of studying, I sat up late reading a book entitled “Prison to Praise” by Merlin R. Carothers. It seemed simplistic, but I decided to follow the author’s advice, and I went to bed that night praising God.
When I awoke at 5 AM, I realized that a song was going ‘round and ‘round in my mind, so I rose and quickly wrote down four verses that seemed to burst forth.
This may not seem in any way remarkable to you, but I am not a poet, and yet all of the verses fell into perfect meter and even rhymed. (Joy would make fun of my penchant for rhymed verse; she prefers free verse.)
I later learned that the melody that accompanied the words was, “The Church’s One Foundation,” but the words were original, and I knew they were given me by the Holy Spirit
I wrote the words down in less than five minutes, and five minutes after that, I was only able to remember one or two phrases. I happened to run into Mrs. Emery, wife of the school’s president, and she started rooting through old hymnals. She found “The Church’s One Foundation,” but the original words were far from those I wrote that morning.
That very day I received a cassette recording — an oral letter from my best friend — explaining how he had been unable to assist us as we set off to follow God’s call to Bible college. He went on to say that he had put out a “fleece,” promising the Lord that, if he received a raise in pay, he would give all but his tithe and taxes to us. At that time, his employers were not giving raises in pay.
When he didn’t receive a raise within a few weeks, he acknowledged to the Lord that perhaps He wanted to grant the raise, but not to help us. So my friend offered an alternative prayer. If the raise was received by end of business on such and such a date, then the money would go to us. If not, it would be used for another Christian cause.
God answered his prayer as he was preparing to leave the building at the end of the very last day of his “fleece.” For the remainder of our time at Northeast, he faithfully sent us $150.00 per month toward our expenses. That would easily be $1,500 per month in 2015 dollars.
It was only recently that I realized that those who heard my testimony were worse than skeptical. Although they claimed to believe in miracles, they did not believe that I received the song in my sleep, nor that I recorded the words in less than five minutes
It was then that I realized (a) that we Christians can be cynical at our own cost, and (b) the Lord may do remarkable things in our lives for a variety of reasons. Apart from providing some needed blessing, he may simply remind us of his grace, either to encourage us or others.
In this case, he provided Joy and me with an experience that we are able to look back on for the remainder of our lives. “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”
These are the words to the song the Lord gave me that morning: