Jim Sire: Excerpt from “Rim of the Sandhills”

James W. Sire

James W. Sire (Ph.D., University of Missouri), retired editor of InterVarsity Press and author of The Universe Next Door and other books on worldviews and apologetics.

Yesterday, the Emerging Scholars Network kicked off a Worldview Question-and-Answer series withJames W. Sire.* As I have considered the development of Sire’s thought on worldview, I have come to even more deeply embrace the importance of how one’s life story is understood in the context of God’s Story, such as what Sire shares in his newly e-published memoir Rim of the Sandhills (2012).

In Chapter 3, he writes:

My imagination did not need to be the source of other experiences of the holy. Once Marjorie and I came home from school in early spring. The weather was warm and we were carrying our jackets. We had already ridden a couple of miles when we heard a tremendous roar coming from the valley ahead of us. “What is that?” I exclaimed, a bit frightened. When we reached the top of the hill above our house, there below us in the valley, Eagle Creek, bloated with water from the melting ice upstream, stretched out like a lake. Ahead of us, Honey Creek spread wide and sparkled in the declining sun. Even after heavy rains, I had never seen the Honey and the Eagle so full of water.

When we reached the house, my terrified mother explained it all. An ice dam from the breakup of the winter freeze had formed a few hundred yards above our house. It would not long remain in place. If it broke to the south, our house and barn and outbuildings would be saved. If it broke to the north, we would be flooded. That, however, was not her present concern.

The channel in front of our house still remained frozen. But almost our entire herd of Registered Herefords was on the other side. A small stream had already broken to the south, so they were trapped on a newly formed island. My grandfather and my mother called to them (my father was still in O’Neill where he worked as County Assessor). The cattle milled around sensing danger but had no idea what to do. So my mother and grandfather called to them. “Hyah, Come Bossy, Hyah, Hyah!” over and over. They stirred but did not dare step into the water which now ran a couple of feet above the solid ice beneath.

So my grandfather hitched the team to our two-wheeled utility cart, drove across the ice and tried to drive the cattle back across the stream. But to no avail. I stood by my mother. “Pray, Jim, pray!” she said. “Pray like you’ve never prayed before!” I did. But nothing my grandfather could do would budge the cattle. So he gave up and drove back across the ever deepening stream.

Rim of the Sandhills

Rim of the Sandhills (James W. Sire, 2012) cover.

And the cattle followed. The next morning, the temperature had dropped and Mom bundled up us kids. The former main channel of the Eagle was now little more than a trickle. During the night the ice dam above the house had broken and the river had cut a channel to the south. Huge blocks of ice from the broken ice jam now littered the island where the cattle had been. Had they not followed my grandfather and his team of horses, perhaps sixty cattle would have been crushed and slaughtered. As it was, we kids stood up on the huge blocks of ice taller than we were, and Mom took our pictures. I remember the reality far more than the photos.

“I lift my eyes to the hills,” says the psalmist. “From where will my help come?” And he is quick to answer: “My help comes from the LORD who made the heaven and the earth” (Ps 121:1-2). Indeed it was not the hills who helped. It was their maker – a lesson I learned early and have not forgotten. The hills have, however, provided the context for profound hints that God is there and not completely silent.

Jim, Thank-you for sharing testimony. To God be the glory!

*Don’t miss Is Atheism a Worldview? AND the offer to ask Jim Sire your questions about worldview!

Updated profile picture/caption. 11/12/2012. 11:21PM CST.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

More Posts - Website

One Comment

  • shuranceb@yahoo.com'
    Ben commented on October 19, 2012 Reply

    Nothing like a good dramatic narrative to renew faith! Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.