“JUMP!!!”

Bale Wagon LeftBale Wagon“JUMP!!!”

I heard the command shouted in my head! I didn’t hesitate. Without time to think I instinctively jammed my foot against the wall of hay that was rapidly closing on me. As I pushed off with my leg I was catapulted high into the air. My body rocketed skyward from the 10,000 pound force of the pivoting table and as I looked up I saw a steel tie bar 12 feet above the platform. The leap had positioned me perfectly to grab the bar and like a gymnast swing my legs clear as the table slammed closed and locked. 5 tons of crushing force pinning the hay in place. This table of hay had been the last level on the stack and the table would not lower until someone operated the correct levers in the cab. I had just cheated death and missed by seconds being crushed to death, or at least having my legs trapped and crushed with no one within miles even knowing I was in danger. Correction, I had not cheated death. What had just happened? Who had shouted for me to jump? How did everything fall into place so perfectly without my thinking? How had my body behaved like a perfectly timed machine without ever practicing? I sat on the now closed table and stack, 15 feet off the ground, pondering what had just occurred.

I was around 17 years old when Dad bought a New Holland Hay Stacker Wagon. The years previous we gathered our hay off the fields with a slip drug behind a tractor. A slip was a sled made from two 2 inch by 12 inch by 10 foot long planks spaced 2 feet apart. A tractor was driven back and forth through the field by my youngest brother or one of my sisters, the four older boys would roll and carry the bales of hay to where we could throw them on the slip and Dad would stack them. Once the sled was full we would pull it to the barn where we would unload and re-stack it into a permanent stack. This was a lot of work so when Dad came home with the new stacker wagon it was exciting.

A New Holland stacker wagon was operated by 1 person who drove back and forth in the field catching the bales off the ground with a special chute that hung from the side of the wagon. The chute was filled with motorized gears, and chains with teeth that would spear and lift the bales onto a first staging table. This staging table was 20 inches wide and 8 feet long. Enough to hold 2 bales end to end. When the second bale slid onto the staging table it tripped a lever that hydraulically pivoted the table and threw the bales onto a second staging table that was 8 feet by 8 feet square and would hold 8 bales. When the 1st staging table lifted the last 2 bales onto the 2nd staging table another lever was tripped that immediately pivoted and raised the 8 bales onto a final staging table which were held in place by a sliding rack until 128 bales were stacked. Then the operator would drive to the stack yard, and deposit the stack.

After a week of my brothers and me taking turns riding with Dad, he turned the reins over to us. It was fun having so much power at my finger tips! I loved driving back and forth across the field and watching the machine do it job, picking up each bale to form a row, then next a layer and finally a stack. Dad had shown us how occasionally a bale would fall from the stack or table and the operator would have to stop the wagon to reposition it before continuing. In the entryway to the cab was a bar that had to be lowered in order to exiting the cab. The bar powered down all the power as a safety feature but in my young mind I discovered that it was so much faster to Jump the bar, make a quick adjustment and then jump back in the cab. However, in my young mind I also didn’t calculate the risk involved in bypassing safety features.

As I drove across the field with a full load minus one final layer I hit a bump and one of the bales rolled off the secondary table and onto the bales on the primary table. I had all the bales for the final layer on the two tables but they were jumbled so I had to climb out to reorganize them. I jumped the safety bar and scrambled up onto the wagon. I arranged all the bales except the last and as I swung the last bale into place it tripped the mechanism to raise the table. Because the safety bar was in place the hydraulics kicked in the final table rapidly began to pivot into place.

Moments later, I sat realizing, I had actually heard a voice. It had to have been a real voice because I could not have fabricated a thought that I was not even remotely anticipating. No one else was around. It surely had to be a guardian or ministering angel. As I have come to learn after many similar experiences, when I finally came to this conclusion and the thoughts formed in my mind, they were accompanied by a distinct emotional feeling that started somewhere in my chest and rushed over my entire body. The spirit or Holy Ghost was confirming to me, “yes”, it had been divine intervention. I sat pondering and reflecting. What a marvelous experience! What an incredible gift! What an amazing plan of grace that a loving God would provide to His children.

How many of my other spiritual brothers and sisters have experienced similar things? What are the prerequisites. The scriptures teach that faith precedes the miracle, hope the size of a mustard seed is all that is required, belief in God and in Christ are all that are needed to recognize.

Regardless, I know it is possible. I have for the most part have always believed. Do you believe? Are you hoping and seeking? Have you prayed for faith in God and Christ and miracles?

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