Not everybody was raised as I was, but here is what I learned as a child. I was born on a farm outside of Sanborn Minnesota April 22, 1940. I was the third child. My brother Allen was the oldest, then came my sister, Darlene then me. Two of my mother’s brothers were also farmers living within a mile or so of us and each other. Dad farmed the ground, and mother had a coop full of laying hens, up to 1000, yes, that is not a misprint, 1000 or more. You could say they were doing well, were successful in their work. Now in the summer of 1943, as I recall, my father and mother were attending revival meetings in Germantown, at their Lutheran Church. After one of the meetings, Dad was quite moved by the Spirit of God, and throughout the next day all he could think about was what would he be willing to do for God’s glory. Just the year before Mother’s sister Loraine and husband Stanley, had felt called into the ministry, and that was on Dads mind as he began milking the cows. Let me have my father tell the story in his own words.
“That evening as I sat down to milk the first cow, I looked up and saw a dove alit on the lower half of the barn door. A peace came over me and I smiled, enjoying the moment. Then I heard a question inside of me, like the Spirit of God testing me about my commitment to him. Yes, I had accepted Him as Lord, but now what?
“What would you be willing to give up for me? Would you give Me these cows, if I asked you to?”
I said, “Yes Lord.” And the sweet peace increased over me.
“Allen, would you give me the flax field?” Now I was very proud of my beautiful fields of flax. There was good profit in the crop, and everyone talked about how beautiful they were this year. This would be a very good year for the flax harvest.
I thought for a moment, then said: “Yes Lord, if you asked for it, I would give it.” That sweet peace remained with me, I felt God’s presence so strong.
“Allen, would you give me your Berkshire hogs?” I thought, oh boy that would be tough. My hogs are the envy of many of my neighbors. They are very profitable, and I have worked so long to build up my herd—-but if God wants them——.
“Yes lord, I’d give you my hogs.” The blessed peace was now a part of my being,
Then there was a long silence. I began wondering if I had really been having a conversation of commitment with the Lord, or if I was just imagining the whole thing. But the feeling of love and peace was like nothing I had ever felt before.
“Allen, would you be willing to give up the farm for me?”
What would I do? Where would we go? How would I support my family? “Oh no, Lord I can’t do that!!
At that moment the dove on the barn door, flew away. The peace and the love I had been enveloped in, disappeared, and I was devastated. I felt alone, abandoned, and afraid.
I finished the milking, took the milk to the separating hut, then went into the house and told Mae everything. We cried together, prayed together, then cleaned up and headed to the revival meeting at Church. I don’t remember what was preached that night, I was anxiously waiting for the Altar call so I could go down there, get on my knees, give it all to God, everything, and get back under His peace and love. And that is what your Mother and I did.”
Mother told me this story many times. It became a part of our family lore or history. But think about it a minute. Dad asked some very good questions. Yet God had all the answers, once the commitment had been made, they lived out their lives one day at a time.
I asked Dad one time when I was 16 years old if he ever regretted leaving the farm to go into the ministry. I was thinking about all my cousins, realizing that they all had a planned future because of the family farms, and I didn’t. He said: “I don’t believe I could have lived with myself if I had not obeyed the call of God on my life.”
Each of us has a “God in my life story.” Mine is as follows
- Born 04/22/1940
- Born again 1947 or 8
- On my knees accepted my calling August 1958
- August 1978 committed my life to Christ
- August 2018 recommitted and entered my promised land for the rest of my life.
The rest of this book is my journey from “saved” to total commitment. It means I laid my body on the altar of God, and said: “Do with me as you wish, and I will be obedient to your call and will live out my life humbly before you, standing on your promises, resisting the Devil, looking forward to the joy of being with you for all eternity!”