Each of my maternal grandparents brought a son into their marriage. Two divorced people marrying each other in the early 1930s was a rare event. Their union lasted more than fifty years, and well into retirement, they were still holding hands. A little more than a year after their wedding in May 1931, they had their first of five children together.
If Grandma was as good a mom as she was a grandmother, she was great. I have never heard anyone refer to her in a negative tone, even to this day. Everyone loved Grandma, and Grandma loved everyone, especially her children. However, she loved Jesus more. Spending time communing with her Savior was unequivocally Grandma’s favorite thing to do. Truly, she was “drawn” to the Lord.
At that time, my grandparents and their children, as they came along, attended the Free Methodist Church about five miles from their Michigan home on the farm. Grandma spent many hours studying the Bible, and discovered the seventh-day Sabbath truth at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. She believed that she was the only person on earth who saw its certainty. At least in her circles, Grandma was the only one. Grandpa also saw the truth when she presented it to him. Not knowing what else to do, they continued to attend Sunday services. That did not deter her growing relationship with God, however.
Years later, when it was time for Grandma to go to this earth’s final resting place, she closed her eyes in the wee hours of a Sabbath morning. The last word on her lips was “Jesus.”
Life on the farm was always hard, from milking the cows to making sure the tractors and equipment were running as well as possible to planting, weeding, and harvesting. Just like the wheat and the weeds, the children grew right along with them. The cycle continued year after year. The twin boys followed in their father’s footsteps and became farmers as well, helping their dad in the fields.
Every spring, a lush carpet of green covered the fields where Grandpa and the boys had planted the hard winter wheat the previous fall. As the days of winter segued into spring, then spring into summer, the wheat grew and flourished. By July, the fields had become “amber waves of grain” as Katharine Lee Bates so eloquently penned in the 1893 poem “America the Beautiful.”
One summer, on a sweltering July day, they were in the middle of harvesting the tawny wheat. An older brother was driving the combine when it erupted into a flare of combustion. Quickly, the summer breeze swept the fire toward the house. Grandma could see the blaze making a path directly toward her for the wind continued to whip the flames into a frenzy, but she knew she could count on God. Did He not make the promise in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”?
Not to be deterred, Grandma raced out the door on the east side of the house to meet the inferno head-on. Praying as she ran, she pleaded for God’s mercy on her family and their farm. She crossed the yard to the north of the house to the edge of field of fire to the west. By the time the last glowing ember reached her feet, the hand of God extinguished it.
Another Miracle for Grandma
My mother was their first child together, and she was born in 1932, during the days of the famed Dust Bowl. While Michigan did not experience the drought-like conditions as did Oklahoma, Kansas, and other areas, the farmers were still hit as hard financially as the states with the wind-driven earth. The economy was terrible all over the country. Even though they always seemed to be scrimping for cash, they were happy people. They did not give the impression that they lacked the things others considered necessary to life.
Years later, in 1970, my mother graduated as a nurse. Even though she was raising the three of us by then, mom wanted to keep us in church-run schools. The added income of being a nurse would pay for our tuition.
In the card that Grandma gave mom upon her graduation, Grandma’s love for her was exhibited beyond measure. Grandma expressed that God could not have given her a dearer daughter. Grandma apologized to mom for not being able to provide her with everything she needed. Then she shared a little miracle with mom about living in the time of the Dust Bowl.
Mom needed new winter boots, but Grandma did not have the $5 that was necessary to buy them. True to form, Grandma took it to God in prayer. When she rose from her knees, she saw a $5 bill on the floor. Grandma asked others in the household if it belonged to any of them. No one claimed it, so mom received her much-needed boots.
How Long Has It Been?
So often, people think that God does not work miracles anymore, even for His people. Yet, how long has it been since they presented the issues at hand to Him? How much time do they spend getting to know God? “How Long Has It Been?” is a hymn that comes to mind.
How long has it been since you talked with the Lord
And told him your heart's hidden secrets?
How long since you prayed?
How long since you stayed on your knees till the light shone through?
How long has it been since your mind felt at ease?
How long since your heart knew no burden?
Can you call him your friend?
How long has it been since you knew that he cared for you?
How long has it been since you knelt by your bed
And prayed to the Lord up in heaven?
How long since you knew that he'd answer you
And would keep you the long night through?
How long has it been since you woke with the dawn
And felt this day is worth living?
Can you call him your friend?
How long has it been since you knew that he cared for you?1
The miracles of the Bible happened because the people of God were in constant communion with Him. When they pressed an issue before His throne of grace, they knew they could count on God to do His part because they had done theirs. Grandma knew firsthand the miracles God would work because she had that kind of relationship with Him. The legacy she left her family was to take every detail to the Master.
Call to Action
Jesus often “stayed on [His] knees till the light shone through.” Follow His example and devote much time with Him so that when an issue arises, you can trust Him with the outcome.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from the King James Version.
- Thomas Mosie Lister, “How Long Has It Been?” (Nashville, TN: Mosie Lister Songs, administered by The Copyright Company, 1956).