WAYNE E. CALDWELL (Wesleyan)
[At the time this testimony was written, Wayne E. Caldwell was associate professor of
religion at Marion College.]
She sang solos in the Sunday services frequently. We boys of 12 to 14 years of age grinned,
winked, and nudged each other when the notes of her high soprano voice seemed to roll over the rafters of the sanctuary.
I am certain that the Mizpah Church, with bell tower and spire pointing heavenward from
the highest hilltop of the surrounding countryside where it stood, never had higher and more brilliant notes of praise sung within her walls!
Sometimes when she sang, a tear would trickle down her cheek and her voice would
tremble. She often requested prayer for her husband and her son and his family, all of whom were unsaved. At other times she testified of the grace of God, and always praised the Lord for His sanctifying power.
At such times we boys did not find our attention diverted or find amusement in her words.
A solemn hush would fall over us. We were deeply impressed.
Four high school years, three years in the United States Air Force, and eight narrow
escapes with my life in overseas duty during World War II, and I as back in that little white church on the hill.
It was Sunday evening, January 1946. I had been asked to lead the young people’s service
the very first Sunday after being honorably discharged. A few months prior, in August 1945, I had found quiet peace and forgiveness for a heavy, guilty heart. It happened at Clarke Field, Luzon, The Philippine Islands, after an especially close escape with my life, and all of the folks in the
church back home had been praying for me for many months. Their prayers were answered. I was born again.
From that time, things were different in my life, even when the battle raged within and
without. Now back home after Iwo Jima and Okinawa, I was to lead the lesson titled “How to Live a Victorious Christian Life.” The folks in the little country church all turned out that night, for they thought I should know something about victorious Christian living.
I did my best. Finally, the youth service was over. Many people shook my hand with
gratitude. They seemed blessed by my testimony, and all were happy that the war was over and most of the men were coming home.
The lady with the sweet soprano voice waited until last, then reached her hand. “Wayne,
that was wonderful! I just thank the Lord for what He has done for you. But you left out one very important point.”
With stammering words I said something like, “Well, if I missed only one point, I must
have done well. But I am curious. What did I omit?”
Said she, “You said nothing about the Holy Spirit and His sanctifying power!”
I replied immediately, “I am sorry. The reason I said nothing about the Holy Spirit and this
‘sanctifying power’ is because I know nothing about it.” Then I added, “But I really would like to know.”
The sweet-singing sister, with utmost sincerity and concern, spoke words that were
prophetic: “I shall pray earnestly that you will be wholly sanctified and soon!”
Ten days later the work was done in my heart. During Youth Week at Miltonvale Wesleyan
College where I had enrolled as a student, the evangelist spoke on the same theme the whole week. Nothing else! Every message was on holiness and the Spirit-filled life.
How providential! How amazing that the Lord would provide for me in such a wonderful
way. Immediately doors of service began to open, which in turn vindicated His call on my life to the Christian ministry. He has never ceased to amaze me with His love and grace and mercy!
The dear lady who was God’s vessel in speaking to me and praying for me?
A very brief time after this she suffered a severe stroke. She lived for more than 15 years
completely paralyzed, she never spoke one intelligible word or sang another note of music she loved so well. I have thanked the Lord dozen of times over for that lady’s witness. I visited her in her affliction and tried to remind her of how God had used her and how much I appreciated it.
I cannot be certain that she understood. Nor can I be certain what might have been if she
had not been God’s clear, clean channel of communication to me. Maybe there would have been someone else. Maybe not!
I shall ever be grateful for God’s faithfulness through His handmaiden who has now been
with her Lord and singing in the angel choir for more than 15 years.
Is it any surprise that through 20 years of pastoral service and ten years teaching in our
Wesleyan colleges that I have often said to others, “I shall pray earnestly that you will be wholly sanctified and soon!”
Source: “And They Shall Prophesy” Compiled by George E. Failing
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts