June 22, 2017

Getting Back to God’s Business

Phil Shuler

[Note: Events mentioned in this article happened some time ago, we are republishing it to enjoy again the benefit of the spiritual lessons learned then.]

I write this article from my home in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, where we are experiencing one of the worst floods in over 120 years. As I write, I look out my window at my neighbor’s home, unscathed by water, while across town most of the homes are still under water. I closed a one-week revival meeting at Fayette Bible Church in Washington Court House, Ohio, on Sunday, September 19, and wasn’t allowed home until Wednesday afternoon.

God is sometimes in the business of fouling up our business so that we can get back to His business again.

We learned this when we moved from Canoga Park, California, a year and a half ago. The Northridge earthquake had torn up the entire community in which we lived, our home being on the epicenter. We lost 60 percent of the value of our home, but the true tragedy was in the difficulty of finding a church in which to worship. Our church went down in the quake, and we could not find another church with suitable music. Churches we visited had taken on the Hollywood philosophy of entertainment, not content. Pastors whom we had worshipped with previously had set up a music program completely opposite to their previous convictions, just to keep a crowd. When we left California, the church situation was in complete chaos. This flood in North Carolina has taught me a lesson that had somehow escaped me in the California situation. The South is, in many respects, like the America in which I grew up. The fundamental churches preach the Bible and sing the tried-and-true songs of our faith. Local pastors fellowship whenever they can and make genuine friendships. So when the flood hit this country, it brought Christians together like nothing I have ever seen! My son-in-law, Ross Davis, who pastors the Falls Road Baptist Church here in Rocky Mount, had pastors call him immediately to ask what they could do to help.

Our church was not damaged, nor were any of the homes where Ross and I live, but at least 14 of our church members’ homes were flooded. Some lost everything. One couple in our church was rescued in their nightclothes—everything else was destroyed. Several of our members had businesses that were under water. Our druggist piled all of his merchandise high on the shelves and thereby saved some items; but his store, with Christmas displays to go up in the gift shop, was lost to the water. Lowe’s Building Supply, which is our only large source of replacements for the flood’s losses, was itself flooded. The Tar River had plywood sheets and all types of lumber floating downstream. A furniture store got about a foot of water. The floor was crammed with beautiful couches and velvet chairs. As I write this article they are on sale for almost nothing!

One of the men in our church tried to pull a woman out of a car that was trapped in the flood. Before he could get her out, she died of a heart attack. A woman from this locality was on a roof with a newborn baby. A chopper flew over, lowered a rescue chair to her, and as they lifted her toward the chopper, she panicked and reached for the rope with the arm that held the baby. The baby fell into the river and has not been found. One of our members, an older man, stayed in his home until the water was up to his chin. He then had to leave. But outside he realized that he did not have his Bible. He went back into the house and saw his Bible on the coffee table, floating five feet above the floor. It was bone dry! That night, as he stayed with a friend, he remembered a commentary by Oliver Green that he had left. He went back to find it floating in the water. He picked it up to find only the slick cover wet, but every page of that book dry!

Now, let me give you the upshot of all this. Our church was closed to the members, because of unpassable roads, for two Wednesdays and one Sunday. It opened this past Wednesday (September 22) and was packed with people who wanted to help. Prayers offered that night were rendered with tears in the voices. Praises were uttered by some who hardly had the nerve to testify. A fund was started for the 14 families of our church who were flooded out and for others in the community. Several other churches heard about this and said they would help. A friend called to say that his church would take an offering toward the fund. When you think of 14 homes that have to be rebuilt from the inside out, you are thinking of large expenses. Floors have to be ripped up, walls replaced, and so on. But friends, in this entire seemingly impossible situation, our church is witnessing revival! Our Christian body is reaching out to the community with materials, food, and the precious testimony that Jesus saves! Every person who enters the gym to receive materials receives the testimony of an all-faithful God who supplies not only physical needs, but spiritual ones! Our people are excited!

We have an Outreach 2000 revival in Rocky Mount this coming year. If the Christian community comes together then as it has now, it will be a great meeting!


The late Dr. Phil Shuler was an evangelist based in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

(Originally published in FrontLine • November/December 1999. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.)


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