A Faith That Never Dies
Having been raised in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, I had the privilege of enjoying nature at its best. I remember well the Sabbath picnics, hikes and nature walks our family enjoyed. Jesus seemed so near to me when I was sitting by a cool, clear, laughing stream.
Since I was introduced to music at an early age, I could hear an orchestra all around me in those majestic mountains—the whispering of the pines, the songs of birds and the occasional waterfall. God was real to me as I would sit by a crystal clear lake and look up into a beautiful blue sky with floating white clouds.
I was born into a family with four older brothers, three of which had already moved away from home; and the fourth left in a short time. My mom and dad were special people, and I loved them very much. Dad spent his days working on cars. He was known by everyone for his honesty and kindness to others. Mother was always helping those in need. She would take a freshly baked loaf of bread to a shut-in, visit the sick, or buy groceries and do banking for an invalid. Both of them were diligent workers in God’s church and had a strong faith in His Word.
One night when I was five years old, I awoke with a terrible ache in my legs. After turning and tossing for quite some time, I called out to my mother for help. She came to my aid and rubbed my legs until I fell asleep. The next morning the pain returned, and my parents decided I needed to see the doctor. After many tests, it was determined that I had Rheumatic Fever.
One of my brothers had suffered with this disease two times during his youth, which resulted in a badly damaged heart and an early death after two open heart surgeries. The doctor decided that I was to have complete bed rest, without even a pillow for my head. Each morning, my father would carry me like a board to the sofa in the living room, and again at night to my bed. I was not allowed visits from my friends. If you are five years old, or can remember when you were, you can imagine what it would be like to lay flat on your back for hours, days, weeks, and, yes, even months! Mother would read me stories and sing to me. I looked at books and put puzzles together. To this day, I can close my eyes and tell you where each picture, mirror or clock hung on the walls of that room.
The greatest fear I had was the visit of the doctor when he came to draw blood, which was at least once a week and sometimes more often. As I began to improve, I was allowed to lie on the swing which hung from the roof of the porch. When I would see the doctor approaching, I would scream for mother to come to my rescue.
Mother loved flowers and the yard was filled with the fragrance of Lily of the Valley and Lilac trees which lined both sides of our property. Since we had no television I had to invent my own entertainment. On the side of the house, mother had some Hollyhocks and I would ask her to pick a few of the buds and a few of the flowers. I could put these together and imagine they were beautiful young ladies in flowing gowns—what fun that was!
The best part of the day was when my father would return home from his work, sit down and sing Norwegian songs to me and tell me stories of his childhood growing up amongst the Chippewa Indians on Lipsi Lake in Wisconsin. Sometimes they had nothing to eat and he would have to walk across the frozen lake at night in search of food while listening to the coyotes howl.
Many days, week and months went past until finally the last blood test revealed that all was well. My parents took their requests of healing to their best friend, Jesus, and then decided to take me to a Chiropractor and see what he could do for me. After working with me for some time, my legs were fully restored and I could run and play with the other children.
That was not the only time I saw my parents live out their faith in God. They endured many trials in their lifetime, but they loved the Lord with all their hearts and instilled in me the same desire to direct my every care to Him who loves us unconditionally.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. I have had my faith tested many times, but I can say with assurance that God will never let us down. He will always be there for us and give us the strength we need to endure.