God was there!
By Pastor F. M. Riley
March 25, 2014
“…..call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me,” Psalm 50:15.
The year was 1938, the middle year of the Great Depression. I was four years old. Our family, like hundreds of others in those depression years, was struggling just to survive. We were living in an old farmhouse in the country seven miles west of Higgins, a small farming community in the panhandle of Texas. In years past someone had planted an apple orchard around that old farmhouse. The apple trees were many years old and grown large and high. It was a warm summer day and all of us children were playing in the orchard. The apple trees were covered with apples, and as we played someone suggested picking some apples. I walked over to one of the trees and shinnied up the trunk of the tree. I picked a number of apples, placing them in the fold of my shirt, and started to climb back down the tree. Trying to hold the apples and hold on to the tree at the same time didn’t work real well. I slipped and fell to the ground.
Around the base of that old apple tree were many stobs, shoots, suckers, or whatever they are called growing around the base and sticking straight up. They were large and stiff with the ends of them broken off due to the cows eating the leaves off of them. As I fell I hit one of those stobs which pierced my leg just above the ankle, and due to my weight then kept severing my flesh all the way up my leg nearly to the knee, before I hit the ground. My right leg was ripped wide open exposing the leg bone, and severing one of the arteries in the leg, and blood began pouring out of the wound. My brother and sisters began screaming for my Mom and Dad to come and help me.
My Mom wrapped a towel around my leg and open wound as tightly as she could to try to stop the bleeding. But the artery in my leg and several veins had been ripped wide open and I was bleeding like the proverbial “stuck hog.” My Mom and Dad placed me in our old car and began the trip to town to get me to the hospital. The old car wasn’t much and didn’t run real well. 1938 was the middle year of the Great Depression, and my family was making do with whatever the Lord provided.
I had been laid in the back seat of the car and my Mom was trying to comfort and take care of me. The towel she had wrapped around my leg was soon soaked with blood and blood was still pouring from the open wound. I remember hearing My Mom tell my Dad, “Drive faster if you can. If we don’t get him to the hospital soon, he is going to bleed to death.” Of course, hearing this statement from my Mom, and being just a four year old child, this frightened me and I began to cry and scream even more. However, both of my parents were Christians, and my Mom was praying earnestly for the Lord’s mercy and help as Dad drove the car towards town and the hospital as fast as the old car would go.
About half way to town we topped a hill and suddenly the old car quit dead and rolled to a stop. And it would not start again. I remember my Mom hysterically crying as she begged the Lord to help us. There was little traffic on the old gravel roads back then, and we might have waited half a day before anyone else would have even come along to help us.
But almost instantly after my Mom had called on the Lord for mercy and help, over the top of the next hill came a car toward us. Driving it was my uncle, who just a short time before had decided to come see us. I was quickly moved to his car and taken on to town and the hospital. Our dear old town doctor soon had the bleeding stopped and bandaged my leg. I still remember him telling my parents that in another hour I would have bled to death. This happened to me now 76 years ago, and I still bear the scar of this event on my right leg to this day.
As I look back and remember this injury when I was a child, I cannot help but see the hand of God in it all. Why did my uncle suddenly decide to come visit us, apparently just about the time I fell out of the apple tree? Why did he arrive on the scene just after our old car had died and my Mom had
cried out in prayer for the mercy of the Lord? Folks, clear back then our gracious God had a plan for each of our lives, and when we needed His help GOD WAS THERE!
Now let’s go forward nine years to 1947. I had received Christ as my own personal Savior two years previously when I was 11 years of age. The day was April 9th, 1947, a warm, cloudy, muggy Spring day. That evening my parents and I set down to eat supper. We had just started eating when hail began crashing into our house. This is the only way I know to describe the hail, for the hail was the size of large softballs or grapefruit. The windows on our screened in porch were immediately broken out. Then before we could realize what was happening a terrible tornado suddenly ripped away the entire roof of our house and the ceiling of the kitchen where we were seated collapsed downward into the kitchen.
My Mom and Dad and I took refuge behind the kitchen door, and my Mom began crying out to the Lord for mercy and protection. I can still vividly remember the three of us kneeling behind that kitchen door and crying out to the Lord for help. After that tornado had passed through our little town and was gone, all that was left standing of our home was a piece of the wall and the kitchen door behind which we had taken refuge and prayed. It took the tornado just three minutes to pass through our town and half the town had been blown away. Forty-six of our friends and neighbors had been ushered into eternity in those three minutes. Why were our lives spared? Only because our gracious God heard our prayers and saw fit to spare our lives. When we desperately needed His help GOD WAS THERE!
God is here!
Folks, we today are living in the “perilous times” clearly predicted to come upon humanity “in the last days,” 2 Timothy 3:1-9. Human society today is exactly as described in these inspired Scriptures. With every passing day now there is another major tragedy occurring somewhere in the world, and hundreds of minor tragedies which go unreported. Drive by shootings, muggings, robberies, rapes, kidnappings, cold blooded murders, child molestations, adultery, pornography, drug overdoses, fires and floods, plane crashes, and many other tradgedies have become common place and the “norm” in our present day immoral society. Today we not only experience these things, but as a people we have come to expect them. Who will be the next victims? What major catastrophe will write the news headlines tomorrow?
On the news today even as I write, the major news stories are still dealing with the plane that vanished carrying 239 souls into eternity, or where [???], and an entire town in Washington State was suddenly obliterated by the collapse of the entire side of a mountainous cliff in a wall of mud twenty feet high. The news reports this morning that 14 people in that town are known to be dead and there are still some 176 of the town’s people that are missing, apparently buried in that muddy mess.
What is next? What will happen before this day is over? What will tomorrow bring upon this God hating, Christ rejecting world system? Folks, it is still true that “…..whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,” Galatians 6:7. But this principle applies not only to the individual, but to nations and peoples as well. At some point in time this generation of humanity made the choice to turn their backs on the Lord God who created us, and who graciously gave to us here in America the highest standard of living enjoyed by any generation of people which has ever lived in human history. We have shown our gratitude to God by turning away from the great truths of His Word and His person, and going ever deeper into gross sin and immorality. Now we are seeing with our own eyes and experiencing for ourselves the folly of turning away from our Creator and the only true God. As long as mankind persists in such wickedness and folly, we can expect everyday life and the whole world system to grow only worse and worse and worse. Are you listening?
However, I want to remind our readers that God is here! After the 9-11 catastrophe occurred, dozens of people testified that they were spared because they missed their ride to work, they decided to take the day off, they became suddenly ill, etc. Many who were in the building that day testified that their lives were spared when they suddenly moved just a few feet out of their position, or decided to step out of their office for some reason. One fellow testified that his life was spared when he decided to take a different stairway to get out of the building. The stairway he first intended to take collapsed, carrying several people to their deaths. Folks, God is still in control! God is still watching over the lives of those who have made the choice to receive Him as their Savior and live for Him, or even those whom He foreknew will eventually seek Him as their own personal Savior and Lord, Ephesians 1:3-6. I want to remind every true believer, and those who are seeking the Lord, that in times of desperate need, heartache, and trouble, God is here! Call upon Him and trust Him with your whole heart, and He will hear and will still answer you, for even in the midst of this wickedness and immorality all about us in the world today, God is here! Read Matthew 28:20..
God will be there!
Darker days than anything we are now experiencing are on the horizon. We are indeed living in “the last days,” and the terrible seven year Tribulation period is staring humanity in the face even as I write. This present age is going to suddenly end in a great world cataclysm. The entire earth will shake with a mighty earthquake and be plunged into darkness. Volcanoes will explode into eruption all over the earth. Some land areas will sink beneath the oceans, as gigantic tsunamis sweep across whole continents, and perhaps other land areas will emerge from beneath the seas. That will be one day of absolute chaos for those living on the face of the earth.
But those who are true believers in our Lord Jesus Christ need have no fear of this present age ending in a world catastrophe, for “the same day” this world catastrophe occurs will also be the very day the resurrection and rapture of God’s people occurs, Luke 17:26-30. Just as ancient Israel was lifted “on eagle’s wings” at the time they were delivered from the land of ancient Egypt, so our Savior and Lord is going to lift His New Covenant believers “on eagle’s wings” out of this present evil world and take us “home” to glory, where we shall “ever be with the Lord,” Luke 17:37; Galatians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:17. On that desperate, swiftly approaching day, our God will be there!
Then the terrible Tribulation will begin on the earth and it will last for seven years. Those who are left on the earth after the rapture has occurred are going to experience such judgments of God as have never previously been experienced in all of human history. Life on earth during the Tribulation can best be described as living in a daily “hell on earth.” For those left on the earth during that time who choose to ignore and reject the message of salvation preached by the 144,000 Jewish evangelists and God’s two witnesses, every day of their life will be a struggle just to survive from day to day. Words cannot adequately express the sheer terror of living on the earth during the seven year Tribulation period. It will be like man’s worst nightmare, except that it will be for real and those in it will not be able to wake up and shrug it off!
But during that time the Lord God of Heaven will still extend His mercy and grace to those left on the earth who choose to take heed to His messengers, Revelation 7:1-17; 11:1-6; Joel 2:32. For those left on earth who will truly believe His Word as preached by His messengers, and turn to the Lord with their whole heart and soul, they will find that God will be there for them. Glory to God! Hallelujah!
I am sure that many elderly readers who are true believers, who read this study, can take these same truths and apply them to their own lives. I am not the only believer who has had dangerous experiences in life, and graciously learned that “God was there.” Praise our precious Lord God who loves and cares for all of humanity. He proved this when He gave His “…only begotten Son” to die in our place at Calvary, and pay the sin debt for us that we could never pay. If any reader does not truly
know the Lord as your own personal Savior, I plead with you to seek Him and receive Him today while you still have the time and opportunity to be saved. Read John 3:3-8, 3:16, 3:36, 14:6, Acts 4:12, 16:30-31, 20:21, Romans 10:8-13, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5, and believe and act upon “by faith” what you read and meet me in glory. Call upon the Lord with your whole heart and soul and you will find that God is there! Written in the love of Christ Jesus for your soul.
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