Lord, Help Us!
Sandra and I were married on June 7, 1970, and two weeks later we were appointed to the Freeman Circuit in Newnan, Georgia. The parsonage at Freeman was in bad need of repair, and the people were apologetic about the condition of the parsonage. They told us that they were in the process of remodeling a two-story home beside the church in Whitesburg. The new parsonage would be ready in August.
True to their word we moved into the newly renovated parsonage in August. As we moved in that day I noticed we kept going over a railroad track near the parsonage but didn’t think anything of it.
That evening after moving in we were exhausted, and after dinner we went into the lovely living room and sat down on the couch. Sandra cuddled up next to me and in a few minutes, we were sound asleep. Suddenly we were both awakened by a roaring in the room. We opened our eyes and saw the furniture dancing around on the floor. Even the pictures on the wall were shaking.
Sandra asked, “What is happening?”
I exclaimed, “I think it is an earthquake. Let’s get out of here!”
I grabbed Sandra’s hand, and we went running out the front door, across the porch, down the step, into the front yard. We turned around expecting to see the house collapse behind us.
Suddenly our attention was drawn to this monster of a train with 5 engines trucking across our side yard–bells ringing, whistles blowing. We stood there in shock watching and feeling the hot breeze of the trail as it passed by. We stood there, dazed until the trail was gone and the quiet sound of the summer night returned. I looked at Sandra and said, “We have a big problem. How are we going to survive this? Lord, help us?”
I discovered early in the ministry that God is bigger than any problem we can encounter, and he gives us the ability to overcome.
A few months later, Sandra’s sister and her husband came to visit and stayed overnight. The next morning, they came down to breakfast all bleary-eyed asking, “How do you two get any sleep around here?”
I asked, “What do you mean, get any sleep?”
He said, “I mean the three trains that came through our bed room last night and moved our bed from one side of the room to the other.”
Smiling, Sandra and I looked at each other and assured him. “I guess we have overcome. We don’t’ ever hear them anymore. They don’t bother us.”
I know this is a minor problem compared to the greater problems God helps us overcome.
I am reminded of the life of Fanny Crosby, who was accidently blinded when she was 6 weeks old. How was she going to survive this? Early in her life she turned to God for the solution. When she was 15, she entered the New York Intuition for the Blind. She was such an excellent student, she became a teacher. During this time in her life, she developed a passion for writing poetry and song and would eventually write over 6000 hymns in her lifetime, praising God.
In the United Methodist Hymnal, we have “Rescue the Perishing,” “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior,” “Jesus Keep Me near the Cross,” “Blessed Assurance,” “I Am Thine, O Lord”, and my favorite. “To God Be the Glory.”