This month my husband has a birthday. It is a big one! Last week his cousin sent a story she found written by Gene’s mother in 1964 about an incident from 1945. My Mother-in-law loved to write and share stories of how God worked in the lives of her family. We have many of them, but this one is special. She wrote it in the voice of her husband because it is his true story. It is long, but worth the read. With little editing, I want to share it with you. (The image is a google image and not the actual place of the story.)
The river was aimlessly winding its way down stream at the rock quarry. It was a perfect day along this riverbank where I loved to come to meditate. I felt closer to God there among His handiwork of nature. The water was crystal clear flowing over the rock bottom. Often big fish would come down stream and one could almost catch them with their hands.
Other times, when the gates of the dam were open upstream, the water came rushing along in torrents, seemingly in such a hurry to join other rivers far beyond. But the sound of the water was so fascinating as it rushed on its way.
I went to the rock quarry with my pick shovel to dig out layer upon layer of the most beautiful colored sandstone. Perhaps it had lain in this place thousands of years for it was the Master’s hand that formed all those different shapes, colors, and formations.
Builders had contracted me to furnish sandstone for those beautiful stone houses they were building. This place was like a sanctuary to me. This was where I could sing at the top of my voice, laugh, cry, and worship my God for there was no one near for miles. Often, I would look up to the sky and visualize one day soon my Lord would come and stand, over there, beyond that knoll. I was constantly looking for Him because His presence was so real.
One day I brought my small four-year-old son, Gene, with me. He would play along the bottom of the quarry throwing rocks into the river. To him this was like a picnic as we would bring our lunch. When he got tired, he would lay down in the seat of the truck or on a blanket on the grass and go to sleep. On this day I was digging out stone under a big overhanging cliff. Some days I would place a stick of dynamite far back under the rock to get the dirt and scrap out, but this day the stone was coming out in such beautiful layers of rock, all I had to do was put in a wedge and pry it up.
Suddenly, my small son, Gene, came running to where I was working and said, “Daddy, let’s pray!”
“Well sure son in just a minute we will.” I thought it was nice that my son wanted to pray, but this stone was coming out so easy that I hated to stop. Little Gene went on and played a little while longer. Finally, he came running over where I was under the cliff. Emphatically he repeated, “Daddy lets pray!” This time I listened thinking, “This is wonderful. If my child wants to pray that badly, then I better stop and pray with him because I always taught him prayer was important.
Gathering my tools, I went over by the riverbank and knelt down. While we were praying, without any sound or warning, the entire side of the overhanging cliff came crashing down into the bottom of the quarry. Tons and tons of rock and dirt fell covering the exact place where I had been working.
Needless to say, I really did pray then! This had been no childish whim but had been the divine hand of God using a child for both our protection. So overwhelmed with thankfulness to God, I really did laugh, cry, and praise Him.
While we were still kneeling, my nephew arrived at the quarry. As he came down the hillside and saw us kneeling, he looked at all the tons of rock in the quarry and stopped short. He asked, “Why did you put all that dirt and rock down there?” With a choked-up voice, I answered him, “I didn’t…God did!” We were so happy that God protected us, we cried tears of joy.
We had many experiences that summer. This place had truly become God’s sanctuary to me. I know God saved both my son, Gene, and I for a purpose.
Now many years have passed since that day. As I reminisce over the goodness of God and His protecting hand, I feel that my son and I both owe a debt of gratitude to God. God saved our life that day. Now the least we can do is dedicate our lives back to God.
Written by Priscilla Davis Grounds for Murl Grounds
In later years, Murl Grounds became a minister of the Gospel and Gene Grounds became ordained into the ministry as a Crisis Chaplain.