I woke up in the middle of one night and felt like I should have this conversation with you.
Dad was 16 when he and his brother and sister started attending the Missionary Baptist Church at Pace Town. He asked his mom in the kitchen how he would know if he needed to seek the Lord. She said, “You’ll know.”
A man stood up one night and said he had been under conviction awhile but refused to seek the Lord. Then the Lord withdrew His spirit from him and now he tried to seek but couldn’t.
Mom and Dad took me to maybe a hundred revivals when I was growing up. The preaching didn’t bother me one bit. I would run and play with my buddies until church started.
I got under conviction during a revival at an abandoned schoolhouse northeast of Jerico Springs, Dad and Virgil Wells were holding.
One night while he was preaching, Brother Virgil came around the east end of the front row to the end of the second row where I was sitting. Suddenly I felt guilty.
Rachel and Earl Benham attended almost every meeting in the three county area. The Lord let Rachel know I was lost. She’d ask me about it every time we had a handshake and I’d deny it.
Then I’d go home and go to bed and was afraid to go the sleep because I knew where I’d wake up. This went on for a long time at various revivals and it wasn’t just Rachel who asked about my soul.
One day I was riding my horse going to check Dad’s cattle when a pleasant man’s voice said in my left ear, “Boy, if you are going to do anything about it, you’d better do it now.” I knew Who it was and what He meant.
In about two weeks, a revival started in Grace Missionary Baptist Church with Brother Marshall Henderson preaching. I went to the altar every night that first week because I was afraid not to. I didn’t seem to get anywhere the first four nights then on Friday night the Lord started giving me things to do. Something would come to me. I’d think about it a little while then I’d tell myself, “You’d better try it. You won’t be any more lost and you don’t have anything to turn back to.” A couple of times I had to say, “If God’s people have anything to do, I wish they’d do it.”
A few years ago I told Dad I thought he was praying when I was saved. He said he might have been because every time I said that it hit him.
I was lying stretched out on my face on the floor under the altar bench when it seemed I was stepping down into a black pit with each heartbeat. Three steps and I was in total blackness. No sounds. No thoughts. I have no idea how long it lasted.
Suddenly I was being lifted gently like coming up out of a well. When I reached ground level I looked west and saw nothing in particular. I looked east and saw people praying and I had perfect peace. It was June 23, 1961.
I didn’t tell it for a year, but I wasn’t afraid to go to sleep any more.
Now if I pass a pond about sunset without a ripple on the surface, I say to myself, “Salvation smooth.”
So if the lord deals with your heart, don’t wear out the welcome.