|Floyd Christopherson ~ Aplington, Iowa|
The Day I Started for Heaven
Since I was five years old I was raised in a Christian home. My folks were the first to be saved in the first series of gospel meetings Oliver Smith had in the community of Hitesville in 1926. From my earliest recollection, I knew what it was to sit under the Word, under the sound of the gospel. We lived within a stone’s throw of Hitesville, so you know I didn’t miss any of the gospel meetings there, and I went on until I was 50 years old before God saved me. When you think of the goodness of God, it is surely manifested there. Many times, practically every day of my life, I thank God for the goodness of God in sparing me all those years. He could have cut me down many, many times, and I did have my close calls with death, but He preserved me until the day that I got saved.
In 1961 we had two teenage children that got saved. We watched them go down into the waters of baptism, and we watched them enter into the assembly at Hitesville, although neither my wife nor I were saved. It would about tear your heart out to watch your children get saved and know that you are going to be left behind, should the Lord come.
The meetings started in Allison in the summer of 1971 when Mr. Paisley came with the big tent. We went every night but we didn’t get saved. There was a man who got saved there that was older than I was. I thought if this man got saved and he is older than I am (he was raised in the same Sunday School that I was), and if he got saved, maybe God would eventually save me. It spurred me on.
In 1972 Mr. Paisley came back with the big tent again at the fairgrounds, and this time his partner was Fred Krauss. There was sickness in the home, and we didn’t go for the first couple of nights. The third day Mr. Paisley was there to see us. “Floyd, why aren’t you at the meetings?” And he started telling the goodness of God to us, for saving these children of ours, and sparing us in all these years. My, he knew just what to say because it was a sore spot in my heart, and I knew how good God was to me. Well, we said we would be there, and we never missed another meeting. We’d go to meeting, we’d go out of the tent. We didn’t want to talk to anybody, and we’d go to the car and drive home. Nothing was said unless something unusual happened on the road. But we were in soul trouble. I knew what it was to be in soul trouble. I knew I had to give it my all if I wanted to be saved, and to put it in front of everything. After all the gospel meetings that I attended, I knew that it had to be the most important thing. You had to put it first, and that’s what I was doing. Dear friends, you’ll never be saved until you put it first.
Earlier in these meetings our son would drive up from Cedar Rapids. He would come and sit down in the meeting, and it would speak to me. I would think … “There he is. He drove two hours to this gospel meeting just to see if his old gray-haired Daddy would get saved.” It would put a burden in my heart. It helped convict me, knowing that all the Christians at Hitesville and all over the state were praying that my dear wife and I would be saved. But, you know, God used all these things just to bring me down.
The preachers would preach right down there where I sat, and we’d sit in the same seat every night. They knew right where to look for me, and I thought … why don’t they preach to somebody else? They were preaching right at me, but I didn’t complain. I wanted to be saved more than anything else on God’s earth.
On August 28, we came home from the meeting and I got as far as the kitchen table. Usually my wife would go upstairs to read and I would get in the recliner by the old pole lamp in the front room, and I would read my Bible there until I couldn’t stay awake anymore. But this night, I got just inside the door and sat down at the kitchen table with my Bible. I said, “There’s nothing I can do to get saved, but I’m not going to take my clothes off this night until I get saved.” If there was anything that I could do, I was going to do it. You know, I soon found out there was nothing that I could do. I sat there until I fell asleep. I laid my head down across my arms and I fell asleep. And when I woke up, the clock said eleven o’clock sharp. I thought, “There you are. You want to be saved. You want to be saved all these years and you can’t even stay awake. What makes you think you’ll ever be saved?”
I closed my Book, and I said … “I might as well go upstairs to bed. It’s hell for me; I’ll never be saved. I’ll just have to get used to living and thinking every day that I’m going to hell.”
That’s just what I did. I went upstairs and I went to bed. I was just barely in bed, my eyes closed, and it was as though the Cross was right in my room. It was showing me that my sins were laid upon Him. And no sooner had I understood that my sins were laid on Jesus, that the Lord brought to my mind the verse that said, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
I sat up in bed and thought, “Is that salvation?” I didn’t wake up my wife, but I got up and went downstairs. I wanted to find the verse in the Bible but I didn’t know where to look. I thought of calling my mother, but it was after eleven so I thought I’ll wait until morning.
I told my wife at the breakfast table, “I thought maybe I got saved last night, but this morning I’m the same ole’ me. There’s no change. I thought I was supposed to be happy. I thought I was supposed to be full of joy. It’s the same ole’ me.” The devil told me, “you’d better not tell anybody.”
I went on for 12 days – not telling. One afternoon I was hauling manure out of the yard, and here came Allan again from Cedar Rapids. I said, “Allan, what are you doing here in the middle of the day?”
“Dad, sometimes there are things more important than work. I thought I’d come to talk to you.”
You know, I was already saved the day he was there, but I thought there was more to it so I didn’t tell him my experience. I went on a few more days until a friend of mine drove in the yard, and I told him what had happened. Before he was gone, my mother drove in and brought us some fruit jars. I told her what had happened. She said, “Who else have you told?”
“Well, I said, “just you and Bud and last night Mr. Krauss.”
She said, “Why don’t you try telling somebody and see what happens. See if you don’t know what joy is.”
“Well, alright, I’ll tell Mr. Paisley.”
I had to go to Ackley to get some veterinary supplies and then I went to see Mr. Paisley, but he wasn’t there. I would have to wait until afternoon.
But on the way to Ackley I had such joy because I had told somebody! By the time I got home, I called my dear mother on the phone. “Mother, Mother!”
She said, “Do you want me to come?”
I said, “No, I’m coming in.”
I went in my mother’s house and said, “Mother, I’m saved. I’m saved. I’m saved.” And there we were, rejoicing over a sinner like me being saved. My father had gone to Heaven four years earlier not knowing his son was going to be there with him. But before I left that day, the devil said to me again, “Are you sure you are saved?”
I said, “Mother, something tells me now I’m not saved.”
“Oh,” she said, “That’s alright. Your father had some doubts too; that’s alright.”
“Well,” I said, “you can’t tell anybody until I see Mr. Paisley.”
Before I could go back and see Mr. Paisley, he came to see me. He didn’t have to ask me if I was saved, and I didn’t have to ask him if that’s all there was to it. He could see it. All he said was, “Floyd, when did it happen?’
It really was true. Several days earlier, while lying in bed, the Lord revealed to me that all my sins were paid for on the Cross. That really was salvation. God had saved a sinner like me. A year later our youngest son got saved, and two years after that my dear wife trusted Christ as her Savior. The family circle is complete.
Dear Christian, don’t ever stop praying for your loved ones, as long as they’re breathing in this world. God is a good God, and He’ll save our loved ones. And if you have never trusted Christ as your Savior, it is my prayer that you will seek salvation with all your might. I want you to meet me in Heaven.
[Floyd Christopherson went home to be with his Lord on December 17, 2001]
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