Oxford, Nova Scotia, Canada
Saved: Fall of 1937
My name is Margaret Patterson and I live in Oxford, Nova Scotia. I was born into a family of seven just before the depression of the '30's. My parents attended the local church in the area. My father had been pointed to Christ by an old Presbyterian elder and my mother was saved in meetings held by Mr. Isaac Mc Mullen. Both were baptized later by Mr. W. N. Brennan in a small river on our farm. The Brennan family kept in touch with us by sending gospel tracts, calendars, and eventually Mr. Brennan had children's meetings in our area.
When I was about five or six, I had my first thoughts about eternity. Lying on top of a lumber pile in our farm yard, looking up at the starry heaven listening to stories by my older brother and sisters talking about God. When I asked my big brother where God was, he said that He was in Heaven. Then I asked 'Where is Heaven?' to which he replied something like this: 'way up there beyond those stars, and if we trust God we will live forever and ever.' That philosophy was too big for me right then, but left its mark.
Soon after my parents changed churches and went to one where the gospel was preached. The old time fiddle music which had frequented our home was replaced with hymns and children's choruses. Sometimes the Christians gathered in for a Bible study.
My parents began reading the Word of God and praying with us each night. Father prayed for us all by name, that we would come to know the Lord while young. As a child this touched me, but I did not know that I was totally lost. Somehow I held onto a hope that because my parents were saved; at the Lord's coming He would not leave me behind because I was not of age, no doubt one of the devil's attempts to keep me in my sins. Then I began to realize that if I was capable of understanding my sinful condition, I was old enough to be accountable to God.
Gospel meetings came to the neighbouring district, and a number of people got saved. I recall that one of the preachers had been, before he was saved, quite a man to drink and was well known for it, but he seldom preached the gospel without telling how God saved him, bringing tears to his own eyes as well as to ours. You could have heard a pin drop as he presented the issues of sin, God's judgment and God's remedy. I took it all in but the remedy, and will never forget the sinking feeling when the meetings were over and I was still not saved.
I had an aunt who had a great impact on my young life; she witnessed for the Lord in her public health work place, and she would often take us children for a walk into the bush, and sit down on a log or grassy knoll, read the Bible and explain it to us and sing choruses.
My oldest sister got saved in the meetings mentioned above, my oldest brother was saved at a conference in July of '37. A month later my mother took very ill and was taken off to the hospital for emergency surgery. As an eleven year old, fear gripped me that she might never come back. While my father visited her in hospital, Aunt Lu took over our bedtime Bible readings and prayer.
One night she read John chapter one, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' She read on 'He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.'
As she explained John 1, I realized for the first time that Jesus was in Heaven before he came to earth. I thought Bethlehem was where he had his beginning. That night I learned - that Jesus is the Son of God. I have often wondered how much children really know, when we presume they know it all, if they have been brought up in the gospel.
Aunt Lu recognized that this had dawned on me, and mistook it for salvation. My brother and sisters did too. It was easy going along with it, but I had no joy in telling my parents when they came home. Everyone was happy about it but me. I had no peace, and my sins still weighed me down.
During the weeks that followed, my soul tossed about in anguish. My thoughts, as I recall were something like this: 'If I'm saved, I can't get saved over again; if I'm not saved, I don't want to give up what I have got - in case there is nothing more. What am I going to do?'. I needed help, would God answer me?
One day I was so burdened about my sin, I longed for peace with God. I went up to my room, dropped down by my bedside desperately lost. There God revealed to me, 'that is why the Son of God came, it was to die for me', and I trusted Christ and simply thanked Him. Getting up off my knees, peace and joy filled my soul for my sins were gone!. And now when Christ comes, I can go with him sheltered by the blood of Christ - not on my mother's apron strings, as I used to think.
I have failed and disappointed Him many times, but He has never failed me once, and best of all - he never will. ' . . . for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.' 2 Tim 1:12.