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Trials And Triumphs Of Faith by Mary Cole

Chapter XX A Battle with Smallpox

Soon after we began work in the city, my brother George went out to assist in a meeting at Edgewood, Iowa. A mother desired prayer for her little girl, so my brother and another minister laid hands on her and prayed for her healing. The mother said that some one thought her child was taking smallpox, but that she was sure it was a mistake. The ministers saw a few little pimples on the child's lip and asked her if the same breaking-out was on other parts of her body. The mother's answer was, |None to speak of,| and they reached the conclusion that the pimples on her lip were fever-sores. Under the impression that the child had nothing seriously wrong with her, my brother went to Roseville, Illinois, to begin a series of meetings. When the meeting had continued about a week, my brother began to be sick. Still in ignorance as to the nature of his sickness, he continued the meetings a few days longer. His illness increased and the first fever came upon him. The congregation was exposed before he knew what was the matter, but God overruled, answering the prayers of his children to protect all in attendance. When the nature of my brother's disease came to be fully understood, it seemed that all hopes of doing good at that place were blasted. Nevertheless, some seed had fallen on good ground, and these later brought forth precious fruit.

A sister who had been present at my brother's meetings, accepted the truth, got a good experience, and began living the life of a saint. Her nephew, Bro. John Murphy, now a minister of the church at Farmersville, California, came to visit her, bringing with him Bro. John Hauck. These two young men had been attending a Baptist college at Ottawa, Kans. A traveling minister who visited that place preached the doctrine of entire sanctification and these two young men sought and obtained the experience. The next morning after receiving the baptism of the Spirit, they started out like Abraham of old, not knowing whither they went, nor did they know where the Lord was leading them until they reached the home of Brother Murphy's aunt. Here they found a copy of The Gospel Trumpet.

As soon as they read The Trumpet, they knew where the Lord was leading them. They made their way to The Gospel Trumpet office, where Brother Murphy remained as a worker for two or three years and Brother Hauck for nearly ten years. Both are now ministers in this reformation. At least four ministers and four other workers at The Trumpet office, besides a score of other souls, have entered God's service through this sister's influence. So in spite of the fact that my brother thought that his labors at Roseville ended without results, many souls have been brought into the kingdom. |Cast thy bread upon the waters, and thou shalt find it after many days.| |Drop a pebble in the water, just a splash and it is gone; but there are half a hundred ripples circling on, and on.| |He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.|

My brother wrote me a card that he was not feeling well. On its receipt I was greatly burdened and felt led to go where he was, though I knew nothing about his condition. I waited until I received another message from him, which said that he was worse. I thought that God was leading me to go to him and felt a great burden as though I were going to meet something very serious, quite out of the ordinary. A number of other workers and I met and prayed for an hour before I went. I sent a telegram that I was coming. Some of the saints thought that I should wait until I got an answer to my telegram before starting; but I said, |No, God wanted me to telegraph that I was coming, and then start as quickly as possible.| The Lord gave me this scripture: 1 Peter 4, commencing at the twelfth verse. The thirteenth verse was an especial comfort to me. I understood that I was going to meet something unusual, that I was going to have a severe battle in some way; but with this knowledge I had the admonition, |But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings.| Two weeks before this God gave me the same scripture, with the impression that I should see its fulfilment in the near future.

I arrived at Roseville about twelve days after my brother had prayed for the little girl and found him already beginning to break out. We learned that the other minister who had been with him, took the disease about the same time. For a day or two after my arrival, however, we were not certain that my brother had the smallpox. As soon as we were convinced of the nature of the disease, we sent for a physician to come and quarantine us so that others would be protected, and the battle began.

The doctor called every day, said he had to come to protect the home where we were staying. He vaccinated quite a number, including me and Sister Elizabeth Hill, who was helping me care for brother George. Sister Hill trusted the Lord that the vaccination would not take. Her faith proved effectual. I thought I had to let the vaccination take, did not resist, and so had a severe time of it. I was the sickest when my brother needed the greatest attention -- just as the scales were falling off.

The doctor did his best to get a chance to treat my brother. He worked by strategy and seemed to have some new scheme every day. He shut me out of the room and tried to force my brother to take medicine when he was too weak to think. He made my brother promise to use the medicine and then tried to make me promise that I would see that it was used. I told him I would do as my brother said. After the doctor's departure, I had a little talk with George, and he decided to continue trusting the Lord.

From the very beginning he had put his case in God's hands. When the fever reached its height and the disease was at its climax, God rebuked it, and soon my brother was on the road to recovery. Inside of an hour the fever was going down and in twelve hours it was entirely gone. The same evening the fever was rebuked, the doctor came. My brother said, |Doctor, I am better.| |Yes,| he answered, |But not permanently so.| |Yes,| said my brother, |permanently, and I know where the healing came from. God sent it, and I know I shall not get worse.| From that time forward his improvement was rapid.

Soon after that the effects of the disease settled in his eyes, and for a time it seemed that his sight would be destroyed, but in answer to prayer his eyes began to recover and were soon all right again. Then the pox attacked his nose, closing the nostrils so that it seemed almost to kill him to breathe. It was during one of these times that the doctor was most determined to push his remedies on him, and he succeeded, too, in a small measure. The medicine was applied once or twice, but God made it very clear to me that he had the case in his own hands, and we applied ourselves to prayer. In less than an hour the obstructions were removed from his nose, and he breathed like a little child, so easily that we could scarcely hear his breath across the room.

Then came the doctor's last attempt to push remedies on us. He said we needed something to keep his face from pitting, declaring that unless some remedies were used it would pit badly. Again we sought the Lord in prayer. There was but one pit left on his face, and that would not be noticed unless attention were called to it. God proved the doctor wrong in every point by not leaving a trace of the disease on my brother's body.

After the fever went down, it was with difficulty that my brother was kept warm. It was late in the fall, the weather was cold, and my brother's blood was so thin it would have been very easy for him to take cold. The doctor carried out smallpox laws to the extreme, putting up a wet sheet in my brother's door as he was scaling off. I felt rather bold: as said of one of old, I wasn't afraid of the king's command. So at night I put the wet sheet back so that my brother could get the warmth of the fire. In the morning I put the sheet back across the door before the doctor came.

But we had not fought this battle through alone. His church in general were praying earnestly for us. It seemed when we plead the promises we touched an agreement, and it was like a mighty cable. We felt so secure and were so hedged in by prayer and faith that when I thought of the danger of taking the smallpox, it seemed I could exercise faith so easily in agreement. It was very easy for me to say, |By faith I know God will not let me take it.| After I was vaccinated, some one said to me, |Now you feel more safe, don't you?| My answer was |No, I have no confidence in that at all. My confidence is in the Lord. It is he who has protected me. He shall have all the glory.|

What few letters we had a chance to write, had to be dictated to some one standing about thirty yards away from us. During this time I concluded that if ever there was a disease followed by the persecutions of the devil, it was the smallpox. Before this I had sometimes thought that Job's affliction was the small pox, but I now came to the conclusion that I was mistaken. Had his disease been smallpox, his three comforters would not have hung around him as they did to torture him.

The enemy tried to inflict punishment upon us in every way he could. A great many in the neighborhood felt hurt because George had unconsciously brought the disease to that part of the country. Then the doctor, besides trying to push his remedies upon us and to make us as uncomfortable as possible in trusting the Lord, created all the sentiment he could against us in the neighborhood. At the same time he was making all the money he could by vaccinating others. One woman that was vaccinated at that time, had varioloid, so the doctor said. The county built a pest-house for her and her husband. This, together with his other charges, cost the county eight hundred dollars. This woman, so I was informed, thought she was immune from the disease and when smallpox broke out the next fall, undertook to nurse those who were having it. Again the doctor's words were proved false. She took the smallpox and died. It will always do to trust God; man is weak at best.

When George was about to recover, the authorities wanted to raise the quarantine too soon, thus exposing others to danger. Defeated in this attempt, their next move was to hold us longer than necessary. I had been praying that if the enemy tried to work in either way, God would defeat their purpose.

I am sure it would have done your soul good to hear my brother when he had recovered sufficiently to get up and walk around. He walked the floor singing this song:

|How can you part with Jesus,
So loving, so kind and gracious!
His service to me is precious;
I am happy as I can be.

I love my Lord; He loveth me.
The life of a Christian suits me;
I am happy as I can be.|

He would sing the song over and over and then praise God. It was good of the Lord to so wonderfully sustain and protect him and all of us through this affliction.

I do not know that any of us are able to appreciate as we should even the prayers of the saints during this trying time; not to speak of the generous offers of help made by some of the dear ones in the Lord and the unsaved members of my own family.

One of my unsaved brothers and a sister minister, both having families, volunteered to come and help me care for George if I needed them. But I felt that to accept their offer would endanger their families unnecessarily, and told them that the Lord would help us and that we would get along. It touched our hearts, however, to think that they would risk their lives for our help and comfort. We appreciated all this to the extent of our abilities, and our hearts were melted in real thanksgiving because of such kindness.

Every now and then during the quarantine I would get real hungry for encouragement and consolation. At such times my prayer was, |O Lord, give me some scripture that will be a help to me.| The Lord would invariably point me to 1 Peter 4:12 and 13, laying emphasis especially on the thirteenth verse. The Lord showed me that he wanted me to rejoice more. I would reply: |Lord, I thought I got out of that scripture all there was in it. I thought I had rejoiced all I could.| At such times his answer would be, |You can rejoice more; there is more in it for you yet.| Like a good teacher, he held me to the lesson until I learned it well.

When we are in affliction, remember there is some lesson in it for us which we must leam. If we do not get it, the Lord will have to repeat the experience -- give us the lesson over -- because it was not learned the first time. By learning the lesson thoroughly the first time, we avoid its repetition.

I remember a prayer that was much on my lips during this trial of which I have been speaking: |Lord, help me to get out of the fire what you have in it for me, and help me to leave in the fire what you want me to be rid of.| Even with the preparation this trial gave me, I was none too well prepared to encounter some things I had to meet soon afterward. God knew his business. He knew what was coming, knew the lesson I needed and gave it to me at the proper time. It pays to be submissive to God. If we are fully submitted into his hands, he will prepare us by the proper schooling for every test of life and in every difficulty bring us off more than conquerors.

While my brother's illness was so severe, we were so wonderfully held up by the prayers of God's children that we did not feel the weight of the affliction that we were passing through. When my brother was sufficiently recovered, however, that the church got the news that he was getting better, their prayers were not so constant. By that time the sister at whose home I was staying and who had assisted me so faithfully in caring for my brother, was almost overcome by the long strain she had undergone. In fact, we were both almost ready to collapse. In our weak condition we felt the need of the prayers of others, but as the church had the impression that my brother was so far recovered that he no longer needed help, we had to fight the battle alone. I learned this, that no matter how much others help us by their prayers in time of trial, when we become able to take on responsibility ourselves, God requires us to do all we can for our own help and protection. It was at this time that I felt very keenly that I should have rejoiced more when the trial was on.

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