God Uses His Word!Published May 31, 2019 | Precious Truths, Bill Jenkin III
Early one beautiful winter morning in the mountains of southwestern Montana, I woke up to 10 inches of fresh snow and 3°F. A teenager, I was getting ready for school when I got a call from my friend Butch’s mom. It was a brief call. She sorrowfully told me that Butch’s dad beat him up and during the night he had run away from home. She asked me to find him and persuade him to come home. She told me to assure him she’d taken steps to ensure a beating would not happen again (and she had).
Butch was a neighbor. We lived about a mile apart and I set out to locate him. Because of the fresh snow, most of the tracks were covered, but I had a fair idea where he might be. A couple years earlier, Butch and I had discovered an old miner’s cabin up the valley toward Twin Lakes Creek. The cabin was basically sound, though drafty. To keep out the cold, we stuffed newspapers between logs where mud chinking had fallen out over many decades. We fixed the stove pipe and made some other rough repairs. That old stove would heat the place up in no time, so I assumed he had headed up to the cabin for warmth and safety. We always left a good supply of firewood for the next user.
As I made my way up the valley I saw snow-covered tracks about a mile from the cabin. I was pretty sure they were his. I figured he took his rifle, so as I got closer to the cabin, I hollered and made myself known so I would not get shot. Butch welcomed me calmly and without enthusiasm or emotion. Two 15-year-old mountain boys wouldn’t likely share sentimentalities, but he knew I was there because I cared. The cabin was warm as he greeted me in his T-shirt. I did not comment on the black eye or bruising, never asked how he was, but made myself at home as though this was a prearranged rendezvous. There was little conversation at first, but after a good meal of elk steak, potatoes, and green beans he had taken from home, we talked about his situation.
Someone else had been using the cabin and they left gospel tracts on the lone shelf. I was not a believer, yet I read the tracts and somehow managed to comfort and encourage Butch with them. This amazes me, because I had absolutely zero understanding of the meaning or significance of their message. All I saw were words on a page, and I am ashamed to admit that I pretended to preach, even mocking what I was reading. Yet even so, God used His Word to comfort and encourage Butch. With that, and his mom’s promise, he agreed to go home.
In my testimony, I say I heard the gospel for the first time at Flint Creek Baptist Church where I responded and accepted Christ as my Savior. Yet as I think back to that cabin four years earlier, I have to admit I was exposed to the Word, yet the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit (First Corinthians 2:14).
The experience made no lasting difference in our lives at the time. Butch went on to shoot and kill a mutual friend and lived the rest of his life riddled with guilt. He died young while looking old; low-living demanded a high price. As for me, I was oblivious at the time, but later realized that even in those circumstances God’s Word is quick and powerful (Hebrews 4:12), a mighty truth that affects me every day of my life!