Early yesterday morning one of my heroes went home to be with the Lord. Hiram Cassel was the Dean of Students and professor of Acts, Personal Evangelism, and several other classes at Manhattan Christian College in the 1970’s while I was there. Someone described Hiram as the man who “made the flat-top cool”. I don’t know that Hiram ever had any other haircut besides a flat-top his entire life.
But that wasn’t who Hiram was. He was a straight-arrow man of integrity. He always seemed like he was so out of what was current, but he knew exactly what was going on, he just chose to stay the way he was. While he could be strict and unbending, he was incredibly loving and a good listener. And yet, when he preached, he was a fire-ball. He had been the preacher at Oakley, KS and came to MCC in the fall of 1974, the same time that I did.
Hiram and Marcy lived next door to Loretta and me in our first apartment in the spring of 1979 (around the time the above picture was taken). They were an example of what a marriage should be.
There are lots of memories of Hiram, but for some reason what really sticks with me today was a poem that Hiram quoted repeatedly, but especially in our Leadership class. It both describes what God did in Hiram’s life, but also what God was doing in OUR lives THROUGH Hiram.
When God wants to drill a man,
And thrill a man,
And skill a man.
When God wants to mould a man
To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall praise –
Watch His method, watch His ways!
How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects;
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay which only God understands
While his tortured heart is crying and he lifts beseeching hands!
How He bends, but never breaks,
When his good He undertakes. . . .
How He uses whom He chooses
And with every purpose fuses him,
By every art induces him
To try his splendor out –
God knows what He’s about.
Thanks brother. Enjoy the presence of our Lord.
(If you are interested, it appears that Hiram [or someone] “Christianized” Angela Morgan’s poem “When Nature Wants a Man.”)