God's Sovereign Purpose

Part 4 - A Ride on a Tree

The next two summers, before I graduated from Bible School, I spent working at the Brainerd Indian School, in South Dakota. One day we were lowering a cement septic tank lid in place with a large crane apparatus mounted on a truck. I was under the crane guiding the lid in place with my hand on the cable. The cable going from the top of the crane to the front of the truck, which held the crane up, broke. The large steel pipe arms came down with the extra weight of the cement pulling them down also, and touched my clothes as it crashed to the ground. It was over before I knew what had happened, and didn't bother me at all. But the fellow I was working with, just a few feet away, saw it all happen, and it scared him so bad that he couldn't work, so he dismissed work for the rest of the day.

After I graduated, I had the mission at Kyle, S.D.. I had gone up to Potato Creek, to help Rev. Burchfield work on his log chapel-home. It was almost supper time when Danny Long Soldier, came rushing in. His sister had a heart attack and he wanted Burch to take her to Kyle, where they could get the ambulance to go on to Pine Ridge. I said I would ride along, because I wanted to get my mail at Kyle. I really wanted to go, and as I was about to get in the car, though I didn't recognize what was happening, God stopped me from getting in. I was having quite a struggle over this, and without knowing why, I told Burch I'd stay and fry up some deer meat, and when he got back we could eat. He never came back. At least not with that car. They were in a terrible wreck. The only thing that saved Danny's life was a heroic medi-vac flight to Ellsworth Air Force Base, and I would have been right beside him. I don't think I was as tough as Danny. I remember picking up his huge eye teeth from the dash later. Thelma survived to go on to the hospital, because she was stretched out in the back, and the front seat cushioned her.

Shortly after we moved onto the Sunchild Reserve, in Alberta, Canada, the Sunchild Band hired me to supervise a work crew that was cutting the timber where a new road was going to be built. It was only a few months, and it gave me the opportunity to get to know a lot of people here. One winter day, we were having a tea break, and we were all standing around in the snow by a fire. I figured it was time to get back to work, so I picked up my saw and walked over to the timber near by. The first tree I cut got hung up at nearly a 45 degree angle. The other fellows were finishing their cup of tea, and of course all eyes were on me since I was the only one doing anything. Well, I decided to take the tree down by cutting another one to fall on it. This I did with precision, and when the second tree hit the other one in the middle, it acted like a seesaw. The bottom flew up like a flash, hit my leg which forced me to bend over it and then picked me up and lifted me high in the air. When it stopped I rolled completely around the trunk, and then both green trees came down with me under them. Everyone watched as I was wrapped around the underside of the big pine and it came from high in the air and smashed me into the ground. But something was wrong. I could feel the weight of the tree pressing on me, but not real hard. I could tell I was OK, but how could that possibly be. I must have been able to see almost immediately afterward, because I rolled my eyes back as I lay flat on the ground, and could see everyone with their mouths hanging open and their eyes big as saucers, and none of them moved. They didn't move because they couldn't believe I was anything but a crushed pulp in it's dying throes.

Then I realized there was another immediate danger that I was going to have to deal with since no one could move to help. Somehow I never let go of my saw. It was running wide open with the big .404 chisel chain so close to my leg I couldn't move at all without my pants touching the chain and pulling it into my leg. My thumb was smashed into the trigger guard causing it to run wide open. My arm was twisted upside down, and of course the tree was on top of my chest. This had to be the maneuver of my life to get my contorted hand out of the saw in that position without the fabric of my pants snagging the sharp saw chain. Once it would have caught the fabric, it would kind of balled up on the chain and pulled it deep into my leg. With the power that big saw had I would have lost my leg in a flash. I remember all I could see was the tip of that saw teasing my pants leg, and the only way I could twist, caused the tip of the bar to move in, but somehow I did get the saw shut down by myself.

It was then I could give my attention to a very perplexing matter. What was going on with the tree? I turned my head to the other side from where I had been occupied with the saw, and looked under the trunk. There, a few inches from me, was a little rotten stump of a small tree, maybe not much bigger than about 3 inches in diameter. The trunk had landed on it so perfectly centered that instead of glancing off, it just kept obliterating it until just a few inches from the ground where it stopped. I had weight on me, but not enough to damage me. I still had no help, so with difficulty I squeezed my way out. I hopped around to try to walk off the pain in my leg where the tree had first hit me. The outstanding thing was the conscious sense of the Lord's presence. After I walked off the pain in my leg, I went back over to marvel at the precision of the placement of those logs, but one of the fellows who didn't want the others to meditate on what God had done, quickly had cut them all up! One of the fellows, who later was to become a good friend, immediately left, went home, and never came back to the job.

To be continued - Part 5 The Angel

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