Word of the Day
In the middle ’60’s, while I hesitate and am ashamed to admit it, I rebelled against the call of God on my life. I stooped so low as to start drinking(AGAIN!), running the bars and the(then-called) “honky tonk”. Now, I am an ulcer patient, having bled first in 1965. At that time I had lost, according to the doctor, about 65% of my blood. It doesn’t take a PhD to know that alcohol and ulcers don’t mix very well. But, I was dumb, as well as rebellious. It was MY life and I was going to live it MY WAY. No matter that I had a family to support. Because it was MY life, I could live it MY way with no consequences whatsoever.
At the time, we lived in DeQuincy. La., our hometown, having moved back there from Houston, Texas. I was working as a mill-wright in DeRidder, La., where we were constructing a paper mill. I had been there 4 or 5 months, when on a Friday morning(remember it very well), at about 10:30 A.M., I began to bleed into my stomach. I knew exactly what was happening(it had happened once–and you don’t forget that sensation). I was bleeding very quickly. When this happens, you have bowel movements that are quick and running off(sorry for the crudeness) and, after bleeding once, you don’t forget.
I went to the foreman, who sent me to the doctor because he thought that possibly I was taking the flu. The doctor verified the foreman’s diagnosis, which I KNEW was wrong, but what could I do? When I started to leave the doctor’s office, I went to pay and was told that I owed them nothing. I didn’t ask who had paid, and to this day, don’t know.
But, I knew what was happening, and I knew WHY! DeQuincy and DeRidder are about 25 miles apart. I was swapping rides(the term “car-pooling” was invented yet) with a friend by the name of Douglas O”Connor and I was driving that day. I had an old 1957 Ford pick-up that had the tie-rods worn out, which meant that the steering was so bad that, at any speed, you had trouble keeping it between the ditches. You dared not drive over about 45 mph.
One thing that happens when you lose blood is that you get very, very thirsty(that is why Jesus cried out, “I thirst” while on the Cross; John 19:28). When Doug and I left the work site that afternoon, I was so very thirsty that I had to get something to drink. I really like Baptist Beer(Root Beer, for you who don’t know). This was before convenience stores, but there was a small store beside the road that I was familiar with.
Again, before all the big coolers, so all they had was a cold drink machine that you dropped coins in and pushed a button to make your choice. I remember dropping my quarter in the machine(drinks really were a quarter) and I fell out cold on the floor. When I regained consciousness, I was on the passenger side of the pick up and Doug was driving–at about 65 mph(remember the tie rods, above?) After realizing what had happened and what was happening, I asked Doug to slow down or we were going to have a wreck(I was accustomed to the steering, and would only drive about 45 mph). Here he was, not accustomed to the bad steering and driving over 65. When I warned him and asked him to slow down, he refused, because he felt he had to get me to the hospital in DeQuincy.
When we drove up to the hospital at about 5:30 P.M., I had lost so much blood I couldn’t stand up nor walk. Doug carried me in his arms into the emergency room like he would carry a baby. The doctor told me that I had lost at least 75% of my blood, and should be dead, or at least in a coma. Well, to shorten a long story, they put me to bed and raised the sides so I wouldn’t try to get up. I couldn’t anyway–I couldn’t even turn over in bed. I remembered late that night, knowing why this was happening, looking up at the ceiling in the dark, I cried out to God. I told Him that if He would give me back my health, He would never have to hunt me again. If He could find in His grace to forgive me and heal me, that I was HIS, lock, stock and barrel.
Well, 4 days later, I was released from the hospital, my blood normal, no bleeding, no problems at all. We had no insurance at that time, so I went to the business office to make payment arrangements. When I got to the office, I was told that I owed the hospital nothing. There were no charges whatsoever(this was not a charity hospital) To this day, I don’t know why I didn’t owe anything(I didn’t ask any questions).
I got out of the hospital on Friday and on Saturday night, I told my wife that I was going back to church the next morning. She told me that if I went, she and the kids were going with me. Well, we did, and for reasons that I don’t know today, the pastor didn’t show up that morning(small rural church). When it was obvious that the pastor wasn’t coming the deacons came to me and told me that they would look to me to preach(no preparation at all). To this day, I wouldn’t turn back on God if I was offered the world and all the wealth that it held.