The following incident is from the life of Rev. H. W. Hodge, who was saved and entered the ministry under my husband's labors in Atlanta, Georgia.

That was a lonely day when I had been at school in Lee County (Ala.), "Rocky Ridge" Schoolhouse, in 1869. I was asked that day to memorize seven pages of ancient history and was informed by the school teacher that missing one word I would "have the hide taken off" my back. This happened when I was eleven years old, and while the teacher, with his eyes dancing in his head like yellow lights, pointed me to my seat and fixed the next morning at ten as the hour of recitation. Over that mountain road with tears in my eyes I wandered, and reaching home soon informed my precious mother of the impossible task and the doom awaiting me next day.

For once I found that no human help could avail. Mother sat up late trying to coax into my head the triumphs of Caesar and Hannibal. The fear of coming punishment deterred me from memorizing one word of that seven-page history lesson. Mother persuaded me to retire and rise early when memory would be fresh and the lesson easy. I retired, but sleep fled; my flesh was cold and clammy; yet rising I fell to the study, but alas, of no avail. My hope sank. I could even then feel the seasoned hickory cutting great, long furrows in my quivering flesh. Mother said, as she handed me my little tin dinner bucket, "There is one chance for you, my son. Go down in the woods just this side of Rock Ridge Schoolhouse and ask God to help you learn the lesson, for He is a God who will answer prayer!"

Over the road I trudged with steps of lead, reaching the deep pine woods within five hundred yards of the school. I took mother's advice and crept down under a great pine tree, crying to God as a poor boy all undone and helpless, for assistance to learn the long lesson. In a moment, like a flash, I was conscious the help had come to me from the eternal world, my first message which ever went through to God and my first conscious prayer from God. I sprang up with a new life and bright hope, my mind working like lightning. I ran to school, opened the history, and literally ate the seven pages of history, kernel and core, until the teacher called me at ten o'clock. My answers were so perfect that the irate teacher looked me over (a rapture betrays itself) and said: "Young fellow, you saved your hide; go to your seat." It was God who answered my cry that day.


From: THRILLING STORIES For Young And Old By Julia A. Shelhamer, God's Bible School and College, Cincinnati, Ohio. No Date