ONE -CLOSE TO DEATH
they hit! Shattering glass, mashing of steel. And then silence and the strong
smell of leaking gasoline.
a moment, both sat there stupefied, trying to gather their senses. Then, over
the hill came headlights and screeching brakes.
happened? Are you all right?”
can’t get out and the car may explode!”
and Ruby Grant were returning from a visit to friends on an unfamiliar country
road. It was late at night; when, rounding the top of a hill, Len saw a large
deer directly ahead. Swerving to miss it, he went off the road and struck a
baby! My baby!” screamed Mrs. Grant in the darkness. Suddenly she realized
her infant son was no longer in her arms. He alone had no seat belt.
the darkness, she leaned over—and felt warm cloth. It was his tiny shirt.
Little Larry was laying on the floor. But there was no sound from his little
longer worried about the danger of fire, Mrs. Grant pled with God to save her
by a cell phone, a police car and an emergency vehicle arrived very soon. Warned
in advance that the doors were jammed, they brought with them jaws of life,
an extraction device.
try to slide back from the door! We’re going to pull it off!” With a massive
wrenching sound, the door was ripped from its hinges.
whined as the rescue vehicles sped down the road to the hospital. But the couple
could think of only one thing: What had happened to their three-month-old son?
were fortunate to have seat belts on,” the doctor said. “You came away with
only scratches. Please rest quietly now. The baby is in surgery.”
an empty hospital room in which to wait, hours wore away as the distraught
parents sat there in an agony of suspense. Then a doctor entered the room.
am sorry, very sorry. But there seems to be something wrong. When your son hit
the dash, his bones were terribly shattered and he may never recover. We are
trying to do the best we can. Please be patient.”
hours passed, and night turned into morning. All the while, as Mr. Grant blamed
himself for the accident, his wife was on her knees pleading with God to save
please, God, please, if Thou wilt save my child and restore him to normal, I
will dedicate him to be Thy servant.”
10:30 a.m. the door opened once again. It was the same doctor.
I really do not understand—.”
Grant could not speak. “Tell us; we’re ready for the worst,” stammered
Mr. Grant, tears streaming down his cheeks.
seemed the child would either die or be a lifelong cripple. But,—but he is all
right! I do not understand it. About half an hour ago, he began breathing
normally and a natural pink returned to his body. New X-rays reveal no broken
bones at all!”
months passed and turned into years. Ruby Grant determined that God had
miraculously returned her only child to her, and she would dedicate herself to
raising him for God.
her son, Larry, had to make that decision his own. Although she repeatedly told
him of how God had saved his life, Larry did not share her concerns. Although
not a bad boy, Jesus and obeying God were not the center of his life.
one afternoon when he was ten, Larry was busily exploring the limbs of a large
maple tree behind the house.
out along one large one, he gripped another limb, just above, to help steady
him. Larry was sure he had a good hold on it. What he didn’t know was that it
was dead. With a loud crack, it snapped under his weight. Down they both
me, God!” Larry cried. A large limb was below him, but somehow he missed it.
he awoke, his mother was bending over him, weeping and praying.
What happened? Are you all right!”
he had not hit any branches as he fell and a recent rain had softened the
you all right, Larry?”
to his senses, the boy looked up into the face of his mother. It had been a
close call, and he could not forget it.
Larry listened as a physician discussed his findings.
could have landed on the back of your head and been a paraplegic the rest of
your life, without the use of your arms or legs. You could have landed on a rock
and broken your back. Instead, you landed flat on fairly soft earth.”
God had saved his life. Young though he was, Larry was convinced that if he did
not dedicate his own life to God, the third accident might be his last. He owed
so much to his parents and to God.
the doctor left, Larry went alone into his bedroom and knelt by the bed.
God, please accept me! I give You my life. Everything. Nothing held back. I give
You everything. Please guide me and protect me. From now on, I belong to You!”
he came out of that room, his mother could see he was a changed boy. Larry had
made the dedication of so many years earlier his own.
unlike many conversion experiences which do not last, Larry decided he would not
just be a fair-weather Christian. He had seen how other young people would ask
God for help when they had problems and then leave Him the rest of the time.
the months and years which followed, Larry’s decision to remain close to God
gradually produced in him great strength of character.
would need it. Little did he realize what was ahead.
here, we need to pause a moment. We want to get into the action—and there’s
a lot of it in this book. Larry has done many unusual things, and we’ll
discover the first of them in this book. But before we start, we need to spend a
brief chapter explaining why he was able later to take on challenges which even
adults around him feared to tackle.
CHAPTER TWO -
A SOLID FOUNDATION
the accident, Larry was determined to deepen his experience. It was not enough
to love God. He needed a closer connection with the source of wisdom and
already knew how to read fairly well. He now decided to only read worthwhile
things; no more trash for him. He especially liked the Bible. He found that time
spent with it did something for him that nothing else seemed to do. He was
better able to handle the problems and challenges that each day at home and
school brought. He recognized that this special Book must be his guide if he was
to succeed in life.
would you tell me how I can better understand the Bible?”
Son, as soon as I finish the dishes, I’ll sit down and show you a few
Larry helped dry and put them away. He found that getting the work done was more
fun than trying to avoid it.
by the dinner table, Mother said, “Well, Son, there’s one thing you’re
already doing; you’re taking time each morning and evening to read in the
found that if I miss just one day, something starts telling me I don’t have
time for it. You know how it is.”
that’s how the devil works, Son. He tempts us to stay away from God. It’s a
pity that so many people don’t believe Satan exists. He laughs because
they’re serving him and don’t really know it.”
what I want to know just now is how to find things better in the Bible.”
way is the cross references in the center margin,” replied Mother. “You
probably already know about them. And here’s another way.”
over to the bookshelf, Mother brought back a large book and showed it to Larry.
is Strong’s Concordance. It will help you find what you are looking for.
It’s far better than Cruden’s Concordance because it is complete; Cruden’s
isn’t. Larry, It makes me happy that you love the Bible.”
was silent for a moment. Then he said,
all that a lot of kids at school are interested in, is listening to wild music,
playing games, arguing about something, or reading stories about people doing
bad things. I want something better than that.”
God is going to give it to you. The Bible is the best place to start. Make it
the foundation of your life, and God will give you wisdom to meet what is
thought a moment and then said softly, “You know, Mom, I fell because that
branch had a rotten heart.”
have to live so I won’t have a rotten heart or I’ll fall again.”
conversion had changed him in other ways also. He decided he was not going to
let his mother wear herself out while he sat around idle.
not involved with school studies or reading God’s Word, Larry spent his spare
time carrying on a variety of duties around the home. He took total charge of
keeping the house clean, hauling in wood to the woodstove, sweeping off the
porches, and carrying out the garbage. Larry thoroughly enjoyed work.
few months had changed Larry into a studious, hard-working son. He was gaining
valuable lessons in self-reliance. He was also learning to tackle obstacles,
overcome them, and carry a job through to the end.
long, Larry had learned to use a chain saw, split wood, and drive vehicles
off-road. Whenever there was work to be done, he pitched in. Gradually he
learned a lot about carpentry, plumbing, and a smattering of electrical work by
helping a man who lived nearby.
might think all this made Larry a dull person. Far from it. The kids at school
found he was fast becoming a clear-thinking leader they could rely on. Yet Larry
knew the source of His increasing ability: trust in God, regular study in the
Bible, silent prayer when he needed guidance, and a cheerful willingness to get
in and do what needed to be done.
how can I build my body and get stronger physically?”
his mother replied, “Well, you’re doing pretty well already! Working about
the place is one way—and you’re already doing that.”
there anything else I can do?” asked Larry.
mother could see he was serious, so she thought a moment and then suggested a
Son, from what I’ve read, professional body builders eat very carefully of
solid, nourishing food. They eat no junk food. They do not eat between meals.
They have regular times to eat and work and rest. In other words, except for
emergencies, they stay on schedule. They make sure they get enough sleep at
night. They do little extras like drinking a couple glasses of water an hour
before meals. They even take vitamin and mineral supplements.”
that will help me build a stronger body, that’s what I want!” said Larry.
a result, they wake feeling refreshed every morning and ready for a hard day’s
workout, whether it be work or a sport.”
listened thoughtfully, jotting notes as she spoke.
Mom, no more Krispy Kibblers for me. No more junk food. No more soft drinks. No
more white sugar. No more candy. And no more eating between meals.”
you want, Son; it’s your life.”
my life, Mom, and I’ve got to get ready.”
for what,” Mother asked, puzzled.
don’t know. But I’ve given my life to God, and He’ll have something for me
to do; I’m sure of that. It’s my part to get ready. It’s His part to give
me the assignments.”
began a regular exercise program that started to build muscle and physical
endurance. He found that this meant eating a little more. But, since it was all
good food, he found he did not need to overeat. In fact, he quickly discovered
that trying to stuff his body, to help build muscle, only drained him of energy.
Moderate, careful, scheduled living was the answer.
to the library, Larry checked out several books on body building and started
taking vitamin and mineral supplements. But he avoided the pitfall of a
it out, he also discovered that taking steroids to build muscles was a way to
ruin yourself. Not only do they eventually damage body organs in various ways,
but when a person stops taking them, he generally gets fat.
a couple months the kids at school began noticing that Larry not only had a
clearer mind than they had, but he was becoming stronger.
others thought that entertainment was the greatest object in life, Larry had a
plan of action. Youth is the time to build a foundation, and that was what Larry
the time Larry was twelve, he divided his spare time between studying in the
Bible and in history and science topics.
do you want to learn so much?” asked his mother.
explains the past, so we won’t have to repeat its mistakes. And science is a
field of special interest.”
are you going to do when you grow up, Son?” asked his mother.
not sure yet, but I want to be ready for whatever God has for me.”