When I was a young man, a boy really, my family moved from the city to fulfill the dream of my mother to live in the country. There were many challenges.
We experienced miracles regularly in my home when I was growing up. Surprised? No. Grateful. Absolutely. And this continued in earnest when we moved to the country.
There were many chores we did regularly in Castle Valley, depending on the time of year. Many tasks were performed in earnest regardless of the season. For example, watering and feeding the animals, milking, and caring for livestock were tasks done every day. Chopping wood, breaking the ice on the animal watering troughs, and shoveling snow were reserved for the winter time. And then of course summer months included gardening, planting, and harvesting the fruits of our labors.
And so it was during the summertime that I found myself working the soil in a field just in front of the cabin. It was a hot day, and Mom had asked me to till a portion of the garden. I complied. Before long, however, the tiller ran out of gas and I still had some to do to be finished. So I pushed the machine out of the field and down the road to the corner of the house. It was hot, and I was impatient to fill the tank with gas and get back to completing my job. The cans had been sitting in the hot sun at the edge of the tree line. I grabbed a five-gallon can full of gas and began removing the gas cap. As I did so, the pressure in the can began to escape. This was common. But remember, I was in a hurry and didn’t really want to wait so I just continued removing the cap before all the pressure was released. Because the can was hot and the gasoline had expanded, the lid came off with force, and it was followed by a stream of gasoline which shot into my face and high into the air. It caught me by surprise and sprayed into my open eyes. The gas had so much pressure it continued onto the cabin and roof beside where I was standing. At first I thought the gas might blind me. So I quickly looked for some way to wash my eyes and hair. Fortunately, there was a water spout on that side of the cabin, so I tried to wash the gas from my eyes. There was no hose, so it was difficult to wash and get cleaned up.
I don’t remember if my younger brother, Jeff, saw what happened, but he was soon encouraging me to come around the back of the cabin and use the water hydrant there. He was adamant about having me come behind the house to wash up. I had gas in my eyes and hair and all over my clothes, and the nozzle without a hose wasn’t working too well, so I consented and walked behind the house to wash up with the hose. Dad and Gregg were coming down the road now in the truck, when suddenly the gasoline exploded. The house logs and roof were on fire now as was the tiller and the fumes from the open gas can. Gregg and Dad jumped from the truck and dragged hoses to the scene to extinguish the flames. The deafening explosion rocked the home. I was confused and surprised and unsure what to do. Fortunately, the others put out the fire before much damage was done to the house, tiller, or surroundings.
Then I realized that if Jeff hadn’t convinced me to come behind the house to wash the gasoline from my hair, skin, and clothes, I would have ignited right along with the explosion. This was another of many situations where the Lord was watching out for and sustaining our family.
We are not so much unique. But we, like you, notice and give thanks for the miracles that regularly bless our lives, even amid hardship.
And when called to pass through challenges, we must remember, this is not forever. This is not the end. This is not the final product.
It has taken a lifetime to realize the blessings that have come from our experience in the country, and we are just now grasping its impact on our lives and futures.
But for those that wait on the Lord, the greatest miracle of all, Eternal Life, is still coming.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.