On March 8, 1991, I purchased a Canon PC-1 copier to keep on file all letters that I write in reply to the countless prayer requests and inquiries I receive. Two years later (March 10, 1993), while our grandson, Michael, was photocopying part of a book, the print cartridge ran out of toner. The operator's manual suggested turning the cartridge 90 degrees in both directions, but that didn't help. It was totally empty. About a month before, expecting the thing to dry run at any time, I had called several office supply stores to see where I would get the best price for a replacement. The best price was $79 for a black ink cartridge (all other colors were more expensive).
But now I was in a bind. On March 15, just five days away, we would move into our new apartment that had just cost me $1,200. We had paid the first month's rent and a security deposit of $300. In addition, we had put down a $400 deposit to cover any damage that our little dog or cat might do. (Hilda and I were learning that California is an expensive part of the world to live in.) As a result I realized that the copier would have to remain out of operation for at least a month before I would be able to spend any money on it.
During the middle of that night, I woke up and began counting my blessings and thanking God for the glorious ways His Holy Spirit was blessing the lives of so many people I had been praying for. As I prayed, a surge of joy flooded my heart and prompted me to ask the Lord for a special favor. "O Lord my God, if it be pleasing in Your sight, would You please cause my copier to produce copies again? You know that I am on a limited income with no possibility of buying another ink cartridge for quite a while."
As Hilda and I had breakfast I told her about my conversation with the Lord in prayer, and how I felt certain that we were going to see a manifestation of His creative power that morning. "Why wait until breakfast is over to witness such a great blessing?" she said. "Let's see it right now." We went to the copier, turned the power on, placed a letter under the cover to photocopy, fed it a bright white sheet of paper—and behold, a spotless copy came out at the other end. Praise to God filled our hearts.
About three weeks later—again, in the middle of the night—I found myself reflecting upon the great number of people who were opening their lives to me in their letters, telling of their innermost feelings. One particular concern came up more often than any other: the time of trouble. This subject, I have discovered, appears to distress, perplex, opress, discourage, and dishearten the minds and lives of God's commandment-keeping people like nothing else. It seems that thoughts about the time of trouble instantly drain the faith of many people.
As I conversed with the Lord in prayer about their fear, and as I longed to help them in some way, a thought suddenly entered my mind. "O Lord my God, Your people need a manifestation of Your creative power, a sign to remind them of how You will provide for them during the time of trouble that will soon break upon the world. Precious Lord, if it be pleasing in Your sight, would You please allow my copier to produce high-quality copies beyond the time that I have already asked for. I believe that as I share this experience with others, it, under the influence of Your Holy Spirit, could do wonders for the Christian walk of great numbers of people. Thank You, Lord, for Your love and Your grace."
As of the date of this writing, more than 22 months have passed. That cartridge has already produced more than 3,000 copies, and it is still going strong. From the time that I bought the coper until now, I have used more than six reams of 500 sheets each. The person who sold me the machine stated that the print cartridge would give me about 1,200 copies, but with the blessing of the Creator, it has made more than 3,000. If God is willing to keep an insignificant ink cartridge operating as a sign of His care and concern, how much more will He sustain each one of us through the perils of the last days. My copier is but a humble reminder of His infinite and loving power to protect His people, and I share the experience with you to encourage each reader of this book.
These two experiences I value greatly. They are teaching me to seek with an even greater desire and effort God's rich blessings. Ellen G. White wrote: "The more earnestly and steadfastly we ask, the closer will be our spiritual union with Christ" (Christ's Object Lessons, p. 146). In other words, an even more wonderful walk with the Lord is ours for the asking.
One of the reasons that prompted me to request the Lord to re-create my being was that it would enable me to do more effectively those things that are pleasing in His sight—especially my being able to pray for others without being distracted by an aching body. A verse of Scripture that means a lot to me reads: "Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight" (1 John 3:22).
The copier experience continues to fascinate me. Day after day clear beautiful copies keep coming out. A couple months ago I went to a sign shop to have a 12"x8" plastic sign made. It reads:
"GOD'S MIRACLE COPIER
"This copier ran out of toner on March 10, 1993. It is now running on a prayer, producing beautiful high-quality copies.
GLORY TO GOD INTHE HIGHEST!"
When I handed the layout that I made to the owner of the shop, he read it and stared at that message for some time without saying a word. Finally I broke the long silence by asking what he thought of it. "Amazing, amazing!" he said. "What a marvelous experience you are having, sir." We chatted some, and then to my surprise, he stated that it would be his pleasure to give me the sign at a 50 percent discount.
Not long ago I was working with the copier, and as the copies kept flowing out, a thought passed through my mind: I wonder how long it will be before the Lord ceases to create copies for me? The next sheet of paper came out totally blank. Shocked, I said, "Father in heave, please forgive me if I have offended Thee in thoughts, words, or deeds. There is not one good thing in me, Lord; You are dealing with an individual that is very evil by nature. In fact, distrust and unbelief saturate me, and how can any good thing be expected of me? For that reason, Father, I trust totally in the merits of the divine blood Christ shed on Calvary for the salvation of most undeserving human beings, of which I am at the head of the class. Thank You, Father, for the father that You do not deal with us poor mortals after our sins, nor reward us according to our iniquities, but Thou has pity upon us and rememberest that we are dust" (see Ps. 103:10-14).
Then with total reliance on God's goodness, I placed that same blank sheet of paper back in the copier and quickly watched it exit as a beautiful reproduction of the letter I wanted to copy. A sense of great delight thrilled my being as I realize that my heavenly Father was accepting my dependence on His dear Son's merits as a perfect atonement, making everything right between us.
It is interesting to me to see the various reactions people have when they come into my study and read the sign. Hilda observes their responses more closely than I do because as I tell them the copier's story I am removing the letter basket from the top of it, uncovering the machine, turning the power on, then making them a copy of the one-page article I wrote about it.
For instance, two ladies from Utah accompanied our daughter for a short visit. As I removed a photocopy from the machine and handed it to one of the women, she very slowly took it with both hands as carefully as if it were made of fine crystal. "This is a miracle!" she said. "This is a miracle!"
Just recently a man range the doorbell, and as Hilda opened the door he held up one of my books on prayer and asked, "Is this the place?"
"Come right in," Hilda told him. He had driven seven hours hoping that he might be able to talk to me. It was 11:00 a.m., and I had decided to put off seeing any visitors that day so that I could dedicate as much time as possible to working on my book. But when I saw the burden reflected in his face, I couldn't ask him to return another day.
For two hours we conversed about the deep things of God, and the Holy Spirit blessed both of us. Before he departed I invited him into my study to see God's miracle copier. As he held the copy I made for him, I could see that he was deeply moved. And when he left our home, he stated that the trip had greatly blessed his life.
It is wonderful to observe the Spirit of God at work directing the minds of individuals to Christ as their friend and Redeemer, and for me to have a small part in helping Him.
Note: In one of Roger's later books, he wrote that the copier continued making copies for years until one of the components broke, rendering it inoperable. It still had toner though.