I’VE GOT SOMETHING BETTER THAN THAT Andy Hollifield 10-29-19
Psalms 13:6 I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. (KJV)
Sometimes as a writer, you just don’t have it. Or maybe I’m not a writer and the real ones don’t have that problem. Either way, I wanted to share a few thoughts about October 28th. I didn’t realize what a big deal it was for the rest of the world until I looked at History.com.
Did you realize that it was on the 28th in 1965 that construction on the St. Louis Arch was completed? It costs less than 15 million dollars to build. The foundations go down 60 feet in the ground and it has a frame made of stressed steel designed to withstand wind and earthquakes. Apparently, it has worked. It is 630 feet high with an internal tram going to the top. There is as much as 30 miles visibility from the top.
I am embarrassed I didn’t know or didn’t remember why it was built to start with. Although it is an engineering marvel, that wasn’t why it was built. It was built to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase made by Thomas Jefferson on April 30th, 1803. The purchase made from Napoleon more than doubled the size of the US and stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada and from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. It provided the way for westward expansion following the War Of 1812 as multitudes of people began to come by wagon train to St. Louis. The city has since become known as “The Gateway To The West” for that reason. It was also a supply point for fur traders and explorers including Lewis and Clark.
A sad note on the history of the arch is that the designer, Eero Saarinen, died in 1961 of a brain tumor and never lived to even see the beginning of the construction. He had won a nationwide contest to design the structure in 1947-1948 honoring the spirit of the western pioneers.
Also on the 28th in 1886, President Grover Cleveland presided over the dedication ceremony of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. The statue was a gift from France commemorating the alliance between the colonists and French during the American Revolution. The statue arrived from France in over 200 packing crates. It was reassembled and the last rivet was put in place at the dedication ceremony.
It was also on this date in 1919 when Congress overrode the veto of President Woodrow Wilson and passed the Volstead Act. This act provided for enforcement of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. The prohibition amendment as it was called, passed Congress in December 1917 and by January of 1919 had received the two-thirds majority of the states’ approval to become law. The Volstead Act created the Treasury Department but was unable to prevent the large scale distribution of alcohol in the US. The amendment was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment. By then the 18th had already helped organized crime to flourish in part due to their involvement in alcohol distribution.
On a note not generally covered in the history books, prohibition was also largely responsible for the growth of a family business that was carried on for generations even including today. Prohibition drove the makers of bootleg liquor into the woods to conduct their operations. It also provided basic training for a sport that would become an international phenomenon; NASCAR. Many of the early pioneers of the sport had learned to drive running the illegal booze through the south especially on the mountain roads of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
I have written a lot about historical events in our country but I’ve got something better than that. It was on October 28th, 1983 when I was released from the North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC following my kidney transplant. That was 36 years ago and even though I had been told by my doctor before surgery that transplants could last as much as 20 years, the Lord had other ideas. I had spent 24 days in the hospital, been prodded and poked like a pin cushion, endured a fever of 105.3 with no known long-term effects, lost my kidney, God miraculously restarted my kidney, had been humbled by a 12-year-old boy wanting a chocolate milkshake and had survived solely on the prayers of God’s people and not my own.
Little did I know or would have possibly imagined that I would be sitting here in 2019 with a perfectly working kidney telling you how good the Lord has been to me. Even though he had to work around the arrogance of a cocky 18-year-old, God was performing miracles and setting up his purpose in my life when I had no idea of what he was doing and wasn’t even living in a way pleasing to him. I was “churchy” when I needed to be and “worldly” the rest of the time.
Looking back I am still amazed at the long-suffering of the Lord and his mercy and grace. He could have used others far more worthy than me and accomplished great things with them. Instead, he chose to be merciful and bless me at a time when he wasn’t really a priority in my life. I am thankful God knows all things and can do all things as it pleases him.
I hope I didn’t bore you with the history but I wrote all of that for a reason. As great and important as those things were in regards to our country, they can’t hold a candle to the events God was working in my life on October 28th, 1983. It was also a pretty good miracle that my dad made it from Woodfin to the door of the hospital in Winston in around two hours. It was normally about a two hour and fifteen-minute drive minimum. That was 154 miles at a time when the speed limit was still 55. Needless to say, he wasn’t doing the speed limit. The normal time was moving pretty good but dad’s time was unheard of. It’s a miracle he didn’t get a ticket. I guess God just took pity on him because his family had been through an unforgettable ordeal and had been apart for 24 days.
I just wanted to share a little of my testimony of how thankful I still am for the Lord’s blessings in my life. See, I told you I had something better than that. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!