Sunday, January 2, 2011

Simeon's Cave; Stepping Out in Faith - Past and Present Part 1 (The Whole Story in 5 Parts)

Several years ago, on a Sunday afternoon in Wichita, Kansas, I sat in the living room of my in-laws, Harry and Helen Edwards. I read from an old family history book that my sister-in-law had handed me. An autobiography that filled a chapter of the book was written by Helen’s great grandfather, Rev. Simeon Swartz and his children. Because of my interest in genealogy, I was immediately engrossed in Simeon’s story. As I read, I learned that Helen’s ancestors had their strength, courage and faith tested and proven much like the early members of my family, and the same as people sometimes are today.

The story that Simeon told was about a time soon after he and his wife, Sarah, brought their family from Woodford County, Illinois to Kansas in 1874. Simeon was a minister and he and Sarah trusted God to guide and protect them in their homesteading venture as they were headed into an area that had a reputation for being dangerous. Many times they prayed and relied on God; asking Him to guide their journey and give them direction in their lives. A few months after settling in Rice County, they had already experienced the ups and downs of life on the prairie. A baby had been born to them that summer and had died nine days later. A good corn crop had disappeared in three days, eaten by a huge cloud of grasshoppers. In the weeks that followed these heart-breaking, life-threatening, hunger-producing disasters, Simeon focused on God, scripture and prayer. After an entire week of seeking God, a mysterious thought came and settled in his mind. He felt that God was telling him to dig a cave on their land. The idea wouldn’t go away but instead grew stronger. He and his family dug the ten by twenty foot cave, amid questions from neighbors and friends. “What do you expect to do with a cave?” they asked. The only reply Simeon had for them was, “I might need it sometime.” The act of obeying what they believed God had asked of them relieved the feeling of despair and renewed their faith and courage to face what they thought might be a bleak future.

... to be continued...

Simeon’s story was taken from events recorded in

Simeon Swartz Family History: 1727 Ancestors to 1958 Descendents by Orvo Swartz

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