Before I embark on several posts of sharing stories of God’s proofs in my life, I felt it only right to go back well over one hundred years.
In the late 1800’s, my great-grandfather, William Walter Gressett, had an encounter with Jesus Christ while plowing in the field behind a mule team. Apparently he had been exposed to the Gospel in a “camp meeting” but had not had any kind of “conversion” experience or had not expressed any personal “commitment” to Christ up until that point.
One day while plowing my great-grandfather had a revelation of the reality of God’s love for Him, as revealed in the historical death of Jesus Christ for his sins. Suddenly he knew that not only was it true, but that it was true for him! He was loved by God and God had provided a way for His sins to be fully forgiven. He delighted in these thoughts, accepted them as absolutely true, and found himself suddenly filled with a joy he couldn’t contain.
William Walter Gressett had been born in 1847 in Jasper County, Mississippi. He had twelve children, and some of them were at home when he came in from the field that day. Apparently he was still shouting for joy over his fresh experience with the love of God in Christ Jesus. It seems that some of the smaller children were initially afraid of their daddy, as his entire countenance had changed. He went on to become a circuit-riding preacher, of the old-time Methodist variety. On my shelf I have a well-used leather-bound Pastor’s manual that was his. It was printed in 1898 by the Methodist Episcopal-South denomination. He died in 1917. My grandfather, Robert Evans Gressett, was William Walter’s youngest son and was only nine when his dad went to be with the Lord. Forty-seven years would separate William Walter’s departure from this earth and my arrival in 1964.
But I have the same shouting variety of faith that found him in the field that day. God is still a God who speaks to His people. And His voice brings joy. He hasn’t changed. He is as faithful to me as He was to my great-grandfather.