Stories of Faith for Inspiration and Proof that God can be Trusted Completely

It Was the Night Before Christmas–And NO Presents

     Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 by NN

Christmas Tree(The following is a true story that my mother had told me.  I recently verified the details with her surviving brother and sister.)

Growing up, I heard my mom tell this story multiple times.  Even after sixty plus years, that Christmas morning still remained a vivid and special  memory to her.  During the Great Depression, my mother’s family was very poor.  My grandfather had a heart attack at age twenty-five; that left him in a weakened condition for years.  And as the Great depression settled in, there were few jobs for someone in his condition and those he did get . . . paid little.   They had four children at the time and life was hard.

They trusted the Lord and survived on the generosity of family and friends, most of whom lived on farms, so during the summers, Grandma would can a lot of produce for the winter months.  Grandpa’s brother had a good job and always supplied the family with milk.  Beans were the main staple since meat was hard to get and very expensive.  A pot of beans was always on the stove, and my witty aunt jokingly said they ate so many beans that she understood why we are called, “human-beans!”   Staying warm in the winter was difficult, but they lived near a railroad track not far from a rail yard.  All the jerking of the cars as a train started rolling would cause loose coal to fly off the open coal cars.  Grandma would send the kids to go collect what coal they could find on the tracks for heating their home.

The Christmas of my mother’s memory had been an especially difficult year financially for the family.  The kids had their church play and received their little bags of candy, each with its one chocolate drop–the only chocolate they’d have for the entire year, so it was very special.  My mom was about six years old, and that Christmas had her little heart set on getting a stand-up dolly with real hair she could comb.  However, she and her sister and brothers had no idea how bleak Christmas was going to be.  Grandma and Grandpa felt terrible that Christmas Eve as they gathered together their children for bedtime prayers.

Grandma was always focused on the Lord and the practical things of life, so she never spoke too much about Santa and all that business.  The kids huddled around their mother as she said, “This has been a difficult year.  The Lord has provided, and we still have a home and food to eat.  And for this, we are grateful!  Your father and I have not been able to buy you the Christmas presents you would like for this Christmas.  Actually, it’s worse . . . we haven’t been able to buy you any presents this Christmas.  So, let’s try not to think about ourselves tomorrow morning on Christmas Day but remember the gift of the little baby Jesus that God has given to us.  He gave us the Greatest Gift of all!”

With that, they said their prayers and climbed into bed.  Grandma walked down the winding stairs gliding her hand along the old, worn banister as she descended, praying in her heart, “Oh Father, if there is some way, by some miracle you could give the kids presents for Christmas morning, I would be so grateful.”  And with tears, she stepped down into the living room to go read her Bible for the night and pray for relatives and other struggling families.  SQUEAL, thump, BAM! penetrated the house as metal hit the ground outside!  A large truck had pulled up to the front of the house.  Grandma and Grandpa heard it, the kids heard it, and then they heard the pounding at the door.  On the dark porch step stood a smiling man holding a box.

Stunned, my grandparents watched as this stranger carried in the box and put it under their empty Christmas tree.  Grandma saw the kids peering through the upstairs banister and told them to stay up there.  Then the man brought in another box, and another, and more boxes, and then, even more, boxes!!  He was a local businessman who every Christmas would pick out some poor families and give them the toys he had left over from his Christmas sales.  He brought in so many toys that Grandma filled a closet with them for future birthdays and the following Christmas!  The kids were beside themselves with excitement, but Grandma made them go back to bed.  She profusely thanked the man, and then in her heart said, “Thank you, Jesus, thank you, thank you so very much!”

Christmas morning came, and Grandma and Grandpa made the kids, wide-eyed with excitement, stand together around the gifts holding hands.  Grandma prayed, “Thank you again, dear Jesus, for providing Christmas presents for our children, and may they always see Your hand in their lives.  In Jesus name, Amen!”  The kids dove into the pile with giggles and glee, and my mom climbed out with a long box.  She opened the box, and her little heart nearly burst . . . inside was a stand-up dolly with real hair she could comb.

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalms 37:4 NIV

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6:33 NIV

Copyright © 2009 by William D. (Nick) Nichols


The Thing Behind the Curtain

     Posted on Friday, October 23, 2015 by NN

Red CurtainSnowflakes drifted past the glowing street lights, gently falling to the soft, fluffy white blanket of snow covering the frozen ground. It was a perfect evening for carolling. At ten years old, I could hardly wait for Christmas to arrive—not only the gifts, but also our traditional Christmas carolling created even more anticipation of the season.

Every year a group of folks from our church would drive around the neighborhoods and sing carols to the elderly folks from our church who had a hard time getting out; it was a festive way to spread Christmas cheer, bring a smile to their faces and lift their spirits!

When our group arrived at a home, after piling out of the cars, my friends and I always managed a quick snowball fight before the singing started. At some of the homes, we were invited in while at other homes, we would try to read our carolling booklet under the dim porch light while the old folks would stand smiling at the door, sometimes joining us in singing the old familiar tunes.

And often these old folks were ready for us! When the singing stopped, out came the cookies!! Instantly turning a chunky kid like me into all smiles! I loved the carolling and the cookies or maybe it was the other way around–the cookies and the carolling! But of all the old folks we went to sing to, there was one home I dreaded going to.

Old Mrs. Trimble’s home scared the willies out of me! She lived in an older section of town where we climbed up the crumbling concrete steps from the street to her side of an old duplex. Every year, for the last two years in my short kid memory, she had invited us inside, and she never gave cookies.

The house smelled old, with old wood and paint, and it always had the weird mix of nursing home and ointment smells mixed in. But the worst part was the solid black curtain, behind which was—the Thing. As we entered, the Thing made groaning noises, short grunts, and screams, and you’d hear it banging around like in a cage or something.

Everyone seemed to be ignoring this, like it was normal, but not me! I was terrified! Mrs. Trimble’s living room was long, narrow and dimly lit; she would always sit in the back in a large chair, which caused all of us carollers to have to stand right beside the black curtain at the opposite end of the room by the front door. This time as we all crowded in, I was forced to the back of the group and right against the curtain next to “the Thing.”

The carolling started and the Thing got more noisy and active–only the curtain stood between me and the Thing. I was always a very curious kid, and so, as scared as I was, my curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to gather up my courage and get a look at the Thing. When the moment was right while everyone was heartily singing, I slipped behind the curtain.

At first, all I saw was the end of what looked like a big baby bed with its sides pulled up to keep the baby from falling out. Slowly walking around the end of the bed, I stepped back shocked as the Thing came into full view–it shrieked, and I nearly wet my pants! But my curiosity kept me riveted in place.

The Thing had the twisted up body of a teenage girl!! Her legs and arms were twisted at unnatural pretzel-like angles, forcing her face down tight against the mattress, and she was looking right at me!!!! She made a low growling noise as foamy saliva drooled out of her mouth, puddling on the mattress. The wild look in her eyes was unnerving, and I stepped back further while the carols continued on the other side of the curtain.

I had never seen anything like this, and I was afraid at any moment she would leap out of the bed and attack me! Fascination and fear gripped me like a vice, but my eyes were locked on hers. Then to my utter amazement, in an odd sort of way, she smiled at me!

At that moment, I was no longer afraid, but completely confused as my ten-year-old little brain couldn’t process this at all! As I quickly moved back out to the other side of the curtain, she made some more grunts and shrieks and for a moment, it seemed like she was calling for me to come back. Slipping back into the group of carollers as they finished their last song, we waved goodbye to old Mrs. Trimble and left.

I didn’t tell anybody anything, not even my friends, about my moment with the Thing, or rather the girl, and what I had seen and experienced.

Over the years, as I grew older, I learned “the Thing” was old Mrs. Trimble’s daughter who was born with severe birth defects. She happened to be the younger sister of a lady I really respected in our church named Mary Ann and the Thing was the aunt to Mary Ann’s sons, my friends Dan and Terry.

On the rare occasion when old Mrs. Trimble would come to church, she would sit in the back, and when the preacher said something that touched her heart, she would shout out, “Amen, Brother!! Preach it!!” And even more rarely, she would bring her daughter in a kind of large mobile bassinet, and would park her in the aisle where her daughter squealed and grunted through the service.

One of the things I really started to admire about old Mrs. Trimble was she didn’t care anymore what people thought about her or her daughter! She had gotten past all that shallow surface junk. She just loved her Jesus and loved her daughter, and everyone knew it. She, along with her daughter, had actually become an inspiration to me to do what Jesus had put in my heart to do, and not worry about what people thought of me.

Now that I’m an old guy, I understand completely what was really going on when I met old Mrs. Trimble’s deformed daughter. When I slipped behind that curtain as a kid, I had really stepped into a love story—the love of a mother for her daughter that was so great Mrs. Trimble refused to have her daughter institutionalized but made the decision to care for her as long as she was able. It was love upon love and total commitment.

I have since prayed that the Lord would give me the same love for my family as old Mrs. Trimble had for her daughter–the same unconditional love that Jesus has for us!

After I’m dead and gone, I fully expect to be strolling along the streets of gold in Heaven and be tapped on the shoulder—turning, I’ll see a striking-looking woman, whose eyes spark recognition that tugs at a long-ago memory. She steps back, and with a graceful flourish, stretches her arms out wide, and with a glowing smile says, “Do you remember me?”

“I was the twisted up “Thing,” and look at me now!
Jesus, yes, my wonderful Lord Jesus……has made me whole.”


“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

–Rev. 21:4 NIV


—Best Regards! Nick & Barb Nichols

(This simple true story has been written to encourage you in your walk of faith, or if you want to know more about how you, too, can also experience a walk of faith with this loving God, follow this link >>> My Hope)


Copyright (c) 2015 by William D. (Nick) Nichols


In My Darkest Hour–Elisabeth Elliot Spoke

     Posted on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 by NN
Elisabeth Elliot Pic

Elisabeth Elliot 1926-2015

Dead in the shallow waters of a sandy river beach deep in the Amazon Jungle of Ecuador lay Elisabeth’s husband, Jim. Along with four other missionaries, they had approached the Auca Indians with hearts full of love to tell them about Jesus. Instead, their hearts were pierced by spears from the angry Aucans.

The Aucans were a remote and isolated people, and the missionaries’ previous brief encounters with the Aucans had appeared friendly. It would not be learned until later that the attack by the Aucans on the five missionaries was precipitated by a lie told by one of the Aucans to cover up his own indiscretion.

But on that day in 1956, the young wives with their little children waited anxiously around the radio at the communication station for contact from their husbands. None came. They huddled in prayer, weeping, fearing the worst but still believing God was in control.

They knew the dangers their husbands were facing as the Auca Indians had a fierce reputation as killers. The very act of continuing to trust in the LORD while waiting for news about their husbands showed the wives’ unwavering belief in the lines Jim Elliot had previously written in his jungle journal, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Somehow during this time, news had gotten out to the media in the United States, and folks all across the nation and the world were waiting to hear what happened to the missing missionaries. A pilot friend had gone searching for them and from the air spotted their small, bright yellow plane on the beach.

The Aucas scattered through the jungle as the assemblage of members of the Missionary Aviation Fellowship landed on the remote river beach accompanied by U. S. Military personnel and a photographer from LIFE magazine.

When the hacked up yellow plane was found along with the five dead missionaries, news of the massacre flashed around the world. In their jungle compound, the wives wept and grieved for their husbands and fathers of their children.

This was Elisabeth Elliot’s darkest hour.

On a day in 1992 I stood by my kitchen window listening to the radio sitting on the window sill. The fifteen-minute radio program, Gateway to Joy, by Elisabeth Elliot was about to start. I knew her amazing story chronicled in Through Gates of Splendor, and how soon after the killings, Elisabeth and another missionary widow bravely returned to the jungle and lived among the same Auca Indians who had killed their husbands.

Through these young, brave widows, the love of Jesus came to the Aucans and transformed them from a tribe of hate and murder to a tribe of love and peace! So much forgiveness had invaded the tribe that years later the grandson of the martyred pilot Nate Saint would call the man that killed his grandfather “Grandpa.” And grandson and adopted grandpa loved each other dearly! It was all an amazing story of sacrifice and miracles.

But at that moment, I could hardly hear what was being said on the radio as I was dealing with my own darkest hour. After seven years, my environmental consulting company was falling victim to the recession of the early 90s; however, God was using the recession and business failure to call me back from my focus on making money to my focus on Him!

My clients included a well-known international research firm, several Fortune 500 companies, and state, and local governments. But I was small potatoes in their books, and as the recession set in, instead of paying me in 30 days like usual, they started paying 60 days out, or 90 days, or not at all! This forced our family to live on credit cards till my customers paid so I could pay the card. However, this all quickly snowballed, and soon I was in over my head in debt.

As I stood looking out the kitchen window with the radio quietly squawking in the background on the ledge, I thought about the recent visit from the sheriff serving me papers and that the loss of our house to the bank was imminent. The house my wife and I had built in a good school district in a nice neighbourhood at the end of a road in a cul-de-sac so our four young children could play safely outside . . . would soon be gone.

Two credit card companies were suing me and setting up court dates. A well- known law firm in our area was forcing me into bankruptcy—something I never ever wanted to do! Our church started giving us food, which was very humbling to receive, but much appreciated. I never dreamed my life could ever end up in such a mess!

This was MY darkest hour.

In my heart I prayed, “Father, in the name of Jesus, help me! Thank you for using this mess to get my attention back on you, but right now I am lost, confused, and surrounded by deep despair, I’m trusting you to rescue me, but at this moment, I don’t even know what to do.”

Suddenly I heard a voice piercing my dismal gloom, and it felt like someone was speaking directly to me from the radio . . . and Elisabeth was! “When things are so dark and confusing, and you don’t know what to do, then you just—Do the next thing!”

It was an instant answer to prayer!! God had spoken to me through Elisabeth and her dark-hour experience! So….I thought to myself, OK, the dishes need to be done, so I washed the dishes. The next thing to do was to mow the grass, so I fired up the mower and mowed the grass!

Doing the next thing became a mantra for my wife and me for the next two years as we passed through this dark hour. Often during that time my heart would pray, “Thank you, Father, for speaking through Elisabeth Elliot!” Then, I’d go do the next thing!

Today, twenty-three years later, my wife and I are serving the Lord in Southeast Asia. All four children are serving Him in other parts of the world. The Lord completely restored the years the locusts had eaten.

Perhaps you’re reading this, and it’s YOUR darkest hour . . .

We encourage you to trust God in prayer and follow Elisabeth Elliot’s advice that when things become so dark and confusing, and you don’t know what to do–

Then just . . .

“Do the next thing.”



“You are loved with an everlasting love.  

And underneath are the everlasting arms.” –Elisabeth Elliot

~ ~ ~

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,

For the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”   –Joshua 1:9 (NIV)



Elisabeth Elliot: Through Gates of Splendor
“The true story of five young missionaries who were savagely killed while trying to establish communication with the Auca Indians of Ecuador. The story is told through the eyes of Elisabeth Elliot, the wife of one of the young men who was killed.” To see the book, follow this link: Link to Gates of Splendor Book

“Gateway to Joy”—Previous Broadcasts Provided by the Bible Broadcasting Network   Link to Past Broadcasts by Elisabeth Elliot

Copyright (c) by William D. (Nick) Nichols