We are privileged today to hear the perspective of Mr. Rolan Waters. Rolan is 84 this year, has been a member of West Park since 2017, and is a man who knows the Lord. His wife Ginny is currently in Shannondale Nursing Home, and he’s not able to be with her during the current Stay-At-Home order. But the key idea that Rolan repeated over and over during my interview of him is “God is sufficient.” I hope you will agree as you listen to Rolan share about his life during Coronavirus.
Rolan, thank you for talking with me today. As we start, what can you share with us about your background and what you are seeing the Lord do in your life in recent days?
My background is God’s blessed me so bountifully! A lot has happened in my background. I don’t know how far back you’d wanna go, but when my mother was to have me she went to my grandmother and granddad’s house and left me there. Then my granddad died when I was five years old. My grandmother died when I was 15, so I lived with my aunt and my uncle till I was out on my own. And then got married in 1957. In 2005 my wife died suddenly while in surgery so that was a shock… I was there by myself and now with all this going on my wife [Rolan’s second wife Ginny] is now in Shannondale Nursing Home too so I’m by myself but I’m concerned about her too. But God is more than sufficient. He’s right there with me every moment of every day, and I’m lonesome, yes, for a physical person to talk to, but God’s here and God’s Word too, I have that. That is just a blessing. He’s been with me so many times and shared so much with me that I’m just… All I can do is just praise God ’cause He’s sufficient for anything that takes place. That’s one thing about this, yes, we’re isolated but we’re not isolated ’cause Holy Spirit is here with us and He’s showing us the way if we’ll just open our eyes and listen to Him.
That’s so encouraging to me already, and that was just my first question! Thank you for sharing that. Can you tell us now when you came to know the Lord?
It was November 29, 1964, and it was on a Sunday and I was in a church service (it was a Baptist church, in fact it was known as the Swedish Baptist Conference then in Marion, Iowa). I was in a liquor store the night before and bought some liquor, and I smoked and my mouth was foul. I went to church that day, and the pastor said, “Is there anyone who wants to talk to me?” and my hand was raised (I didn’t raise my hand, my hand was raised!), and he came down to our house in the afternoon and at 2 o’clock that afternoon I accepted the Lord and poured out the liquor and threw all the tobacco products away, and He came in and cleaned my whole life up.
Well praise God! How do you account for that? What made that sudden shift?
I was under conviction, and, here’s what we should be doing too, there was a Christian couple that kept inviting us to their house and no matter what they kept being a presentation of God in themselves and in how they shared the Word and through all that and through that minister, that’s when we came to know the Lord.
So that family just kept reaching out to you and showing love to you?
Yeah, they were a blessing to us. They’ve graduated to glory now too.
And if I heard you right you said that’s what we ought to be doing right now…
Exactly right. We can’t lead anybody to the Lord; we can just show them what the Lord’s done for us and it’s between them and God.
Rolan, how did your life change from that time forward?
Yeah, my life did look different all the way around, and it just made life worth living. One of the things: in 1983 my mother had advanced cancer, and she wasn’t expected to live so we were able to take her into our house. We gave her our youngest son’s bedroom, and he slept out on a cot in the dining room, and we were able to minister to her as long as she needed. That was a blessing for us too.
I wonder if you could put into perspective our current situation with the Covid-19 and economic hardships that will follow with some hardships you’ve experienced. How should we be thinking right now?
This will be coming to an end, but the Lord is sufficient during this time. And also that as far as financial hardships, I don’t want people to be too proud or unknowing but they can reach out to the church and they can be helped and ministered to. On the other hand to, maybe we can too, if there are difficulties, be there to reach out to others to help others too through telephone calls or whatever we can do.
Rolan, how have you been able to keep up with your wife at Shannondale?
Up until after this took place I’ve been talking to her twice on the phone, and now I was able last Monday to talk through the window to her by our phones, and this next Monday also. Since we both have cell phones we’ve been able to talk to each other. And the grandkids in Iowa have been very good about calling her and talking to her. And my daughter is here in town too, and they’ve reached out to me. I thank God for that.
I’ve got one more question for you. If you could imagine someone from our church, a young man. He’s got a wife and kids but he’s lost his job. He’s facing an unknown future, and he’s fearful, what advice from God’s Word and your experience would you offer him?
I would say in scripture where God says “I am with you, I will never leave you; I will not leave you comfortless.” It’s a difficult time when you look around you and see the job situation, but God is sufficient. So keep looking up. I trust in God’s Word, for He says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” and He won’t.