Restoring The Past – II

July 28, 2017

Image result for photo restorationJoel 2:21, 25, 26

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Patterson Grove has been the place where God has done much healing in my life.  We own one of 110 cottages at the grove, and have been an active part of that place since 1982.  I want to share some of the divine healing that has taken place there.  And the featured Scripture that represents that healing power is Joel 2:21, 25, and 26:

      Fear not…be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done marvelous things! 
      …I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the
      crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust….And you
      shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your
      God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be
      put to shame.

In the last blog I shared how my life fell apart when we had to sell the family dairy farm in Connecticut after my father left the family in 1956.  I was ten years old.  I did not understand for many years how rootless I had become!  I loved that farm and now it was gone!  I shoved the pain and disappointments deep down inside to where I would not feel them, and medicated myself with alcohol.  I lived through my teenage years with little purpose and direction – rootless!  The rootlessness was compounded by my becoming a Baptist pastor.  The first five churches I pastored all provided adequate parsonages, but Hope and I desired to own our own home – to put down roots somewhere!

I was 36 years old when we stumbled upon Patterson Grove.  One of my hobbies is treasure hunting with a metal detector, unearthing the past!  If I find an old coin, say an Indian Head cent, it is as if I am reaching back across the years and was touching the hand of the boy or girl who lost it a hundred years ago!  In my treasure hunting research I came across Patterson Grove, an old Methodist campmeeting dating back to 1868!  I told Hope, “Wow!  We ought to check this place out! ”  On Labor Day Monday, 1982 we headed 45 miles south and found the grove, nestled among the trees and farmlands, looking much like it did at the turn of the 19th century.  I, being a nostalgic person, fell in love with the place!  Receiving permission, we walked among the 110 cottages and found one for sale.  Its Victorian style suggested it was built in the 1890’s – after the big fire that destroyed all the cottages in 1893.  The asking price on the ‘For Sale’ sign was $5,500 – way out of our range!  But I called the owners anyway, talking to the husband on the phone, and found they had lowered the price a thousand dollars.  I said to him that we didn’t have that much money.  He replied, “Make and offer.”  I told him, “I am embarrassed to tell you what we can afford.  It is $2,500! ”  He spoke briefly with his wife and then told me, “We will sell it to you for $3,500! ”  I confessed, “All we have it $2,500 – and that includes our Christmas Club money! ”  He again conferred with his wife, and they invited us to meet with them the next week for dinner.  After dinner we sat in the living room.  The husband told us, “We have prayed about it, and we both agree you two should have our cottage.  We will sell it to you for $2,500!

In the attached photo  above (from an early 1900’s postcard), our first cottage is the one on the right.

Yes, it required a lot of work!  I studded out the walls on the inside, insulated it, and paneled the walls and ceiling downstairs and up with knotty pine lumber from a local mill.  I installed a kitchen – bought second hand from someone in our church who was remodeling – and a new toilet, sink, and shower.  But here is the healing part concerning our cottage at Patterson Grove:  I could drive a nail, cut a board, do major remodeling – without first clearing it with the church Trustee Board!  This cottage was mine – was Hope’s and mine!  And at last we owned our own ‘house’!  I was no longer rootless!  God had healed something that had been broken within me when our family lost the farm – 26 years before!

Since then the Lord has allowed us to buy our own home where we now live.  This was another miracle He worked out, giving the house to us at about one fourth of its value!  I had always had the desire to build my own house, and I rebuilt our present home from the foundation up!  Then I added a three-car attached garage with an apartment above it.  After that I added two more garage bays with storage above them.  Every guy needs a five-car garage!  My wife calls it my ‘barn’!  My daughter says, “It’s a garage with an attached house!”  Somebody in our tiny hamlet of 44 houses nicknamed it, “The mansion! ”  It is far from amansion,but it is ours – another of God’s gifts to us!

I am fulfilled!  God has applied these verses from Joel 2 to Hope and me:

      Fear not…be glad and rejoice…I will restore to you the years that the…
      locust has eaten….you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the
      name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you….

But that is not the only miracle He has done in my life through our involvement at Patterson Grove…!

Leave a Reply