I was sixteen years old and was working on a farm for a man and his family of nine children. This man was a very quiet, but deep thinking Christian, who enjoyed sitting around the warm living room fire at night with all of his children singing songs and telling stories together.
My job was to take care of his 3,000 sheep and to help plant the crops. We grew 400 acres of oats and 200 acres of barley, and in addition to this, we raised chickens for their fresh eggs and had a few Jersey cows for milking. I also grew vegetables for our consumption, since we lived 100 miles from the closest town.
One day we had decided to clear the property of debris and unusable lumber and proceeded to pile up quite a large stack to burn. I was on the other side of the sheep pens, which was about 100 meters away from where the farmer was standing, when I noticed that he had poured a large can of liquid over the pile of debris. He then struck a match and the stack began to burn in an instant.
During the course of the day, I had been driving the tractor, pulling a large trailer behind it, loading up everything I had been assigned to put on the fire to burn. Late in the afternoon, the fire began to burn very slowly and I had yet another large pile to add. Remembering that the farmer poured a liquid on the fire to start it, I had the idea to go to the barn and look for what it was that he used to ignite the fire. All I could see was a large drum of gasoline which had a hand pump attached to it. I noticed that the same can that the farmer had used was sitting on top of the gasoline.
Unaware of the consequences of a flaming inferno that could explode within my hands, I filled the can to the brim with the gasoline, which was about one gallon, and started walking across the field towards the smouldering fire. Approaching the fire, I paused to get a firm grip on the can, ready to toss the liquid on the waning fire, when all of a sudden I heard the farmer calling out to me from a distance, in an alarming manner! Because he was so far away I couldn’t hear exactly what it was that he was saying, but his tone got my attention. I hurriedly put the can down and ran towards him until I could hear what he was saying.
“What have you got in that can?” he questioned. When I told him it was gasoline he threw his head back and looked Heavenward and said he had just heard a voice telling him to stop me from pouring whatever it was on that fire! This remarkable voice from Heaven warned the farmer to stop me in my ignorance!
Earlier that day, when the farmer had initially ignited the fire, he had used a mixture of diesel fuel and a very small amount of gasoline. Unaware of this mixture, I had unwittingly assumed that the container was filled with gasoline. If I had poured straight gasoline directly onto the fire–which contains highly explosive gases and is extremely volatile–I might not be here today to tell this story!–Barry Stevens