In 1958 I was 18 years old when I faced my biggest lifetime confrontation with God.
Newly married, right out of academy, I was trying to make a living at the minimum wage of $1.10 per hour, working as a Linotype operator for the Garden City, Kansas, Daily Telegram. Just the day before, I had been lectured by a stern foreman: “Get more work done, or you’re out of here.” I was afraid, wondering about God—wanting to serve Him but tempted to say, “I’m going to forget God. He’s not for real.”
The Linotype is a complicated machine. Part of its mechanism has a unit with more than 90 reeds that fit into a comb-like part. The machine jammed, making five or six reeds fall out. As I loosened the screws to return them to their proper position—bang!— all the reeds fell out of their proper place!
“God, what am I going to do now? It’s impossible to put those reeds back quickly. I’ll be fired. I want to curse You. No! God, I’m going to ask You to help me. I really want to serve You. I’m in trouble. I’m trying. Will You help me get those reeds back into the right place?”
Still angry and upset, I managed to hold the comb-like part up as close to the proper position as possible. Suddenly, amazingly, all of the reeds slipped perfectly into place.
I was humbled; I couldn’t believe what God had just done. I knew it was a sign in my behalf, and I was very thankful. Right there I prayed, “God, I want to be a partner with You and share with others the love and concern You have for us, especially in the little things of life.”
My wife and I began returning tithe and giving offerings. We made a commitment to help out with the evangelistic team coming to town. We started a savings account. I made only $62 a week, yet even after fulfilling our commitments to God, we still were able to save $15 to $30 each month.
We are now in our late 50s and have experienced many sorrows—the typical sorrows of life experienced by many who are reading this book. One of the greatest was when our son, at age 18, broke his neck in a gymnastics accident and became a quadriplegic. Our sorrows have come in many forms, but God’s blessings have always been given in a greater portion.
As I look back over the years, my most precious memories are those of being able to participate with God in giving our tithes and offerings, and donating our time in projects to tell others about Him through the printed word.
My greatest thrill came when God allowed me to be a part of developing Steps to Christ in the Happiness Digest format. We also found joy in sharing with others the book Terry . . . Follow Your Heart, the story of how God helped our family survive our son’s tragic accident.
God loves us as His children, and I can recommend Him in times of happiness and sorrow. When we give of our time, labor, and treasure, we form a lasting partnership with Him that nothing can shake for eternity.
“God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17, NKJV).
By Gilbert Wilks
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