A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE
By Elder M. A. Norman
I had one of the most wonderful experiences of my life one night. How vivid bright and precious it stands out in my memory. I was working for a lumber company, cutting saw logs.
One calm Sunday evening just about dark, some brethren and I were talking down under a hill from the house, where we were boarding. I was so heavily burdened, I could rest nowhere. How dark the clouds overshadowed me. My heart, my mind, my soul, and my spirit were crushed to the earth. How heavy my burden and how great was my load. It was with me, "Lord save or I perish." Darkness covered me. The howling storms of wind and woe tossed me about.
Some one of the brethren mentioned some old hymns that was dear to all our hearts. I suggested that we go to the house and sing it. I had hopes it would relieve my heavy load. We walked up the hill to the house. We were staying with an old Baptist sister and her husband. He was gone to the hill, night watching. Their children were still home, two sons, and a daughter. Brother Loyd Faught was with us.
The children and Brother Faught and I tried to sing the song. But we just could not. The old sister who had retired for the night got up and said, "I see I will have to help you." She led the song and we followed. Brother Faught, who was later ordained as a minister, asked me to preach. I was so fearful to try, but my soul was so heavy, that I was willing to try most anything to get relief.
One of the brethren read some from the Bible, another one prayed. We were out on the porch. No wind to bother our oil lamp. I got up with one of the heaviest burdens on my heart. I quoted the language of Paul in Romans, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ" Shall tribulation, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or famine or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us."
My text was, "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." In just a minute or so, I was raised up from the dark depths of despair to such great heights of divine glory. From the valley of darkness to the bright light, of the mountain of joy. From the shadows of doubt to the sunshine of the greatest and sweetest of faith and hope and joy in the Holy Ghost. My cup of joy ran over. "The joy that I felt cannot be described by the mind of mortals. "It was joy unspeakable and full of glory."
"My doctrine shall drop as the rain and my speech shall distill as the dew upon the tender herb and the grass." With me that was one of the most refreshing showers that ever fell upon me. How great the relief and how great the joy that followed. "I was a heaven below, my Redeemer to know." "Oh, how happy are they, who their Savior they obey."
My congregation consisted of five of God's little children. We were on the porch of an old log house. We were way back out in the pine clad hills and mountains. It was one of the most joyous meetings I ever witnessed. I saw something that night I had never seen before; and have never seen since.
There was a bright halo of light about the head of each of the saints of God. It shone as bright to me as any rainbow I ever saw.
At the close of this meeting we sang a hymn and shook hands with each other with tears of joy and praise freely flowing from every eye. It was one of the happiest times of my life. And I can still look back to it and the sweet dews of heaven distill in my poor soul and gives me great joy.
I was enjoying the "True Riches of Heaven." They are not deceitful. The riches of earth are so deceptive. I used to think when I had to walk to church, that if ever I got to where I was able to own a good car and ride to church and have money to buy the necessities of life that I would be so happy. Today, I have a new Chrysler and money to buy what wife and I need. But it is a far cry from what I thought it would be.
I hope that I am truly thankful for the natural blessings of life. But they do not bring to us the joys that the "True Riches of Heaven bring us." Lord help us to seek First the Kingdom of heaven. Not only are we promised and enjoy the true riches of our Lord. But we also enjoy the natural joys of life. But the greatest, sweetest joys are in the service of our Master. "If ye know those things happy are ye if ye do them."
A little servant in sweet hope.
[Elder] M.A. Norman Oden, Arkansas The Banner of Love, April 1974