He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed…Matthew 17:20
Living within earshot of Detroit, the WJR radio station used to be on in our home constantly when I was growing up. I will come back to this thought in a moment…
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord…Romans6:23
As some of you might know, I’ve been missing my Mom a lot lately. I don’t know why for sure, but I’ve really been grieving her death more deeply than usual, and she’s been gone now 27 years. I think a lot of it has to do with some sad news I received lately about one of my favorite Aunts. It’s brought up a lot of those memories of going through my Mom’s breast cancer battle with her that I mistakenly thought were long gone. Those were dark days.
…remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:12
When the Lord called me out of darkness 13 years ago, one of my greatest concerns was whether or not my Mom was in Heaven. Our family grew up “Lutheran” but we didn’t attend church, never talked about spiritual things at all, and the closest we got to being Christian was celebrating a secular Christmas by putting out a nativity set in the farthest corner of the living room.
I remember as a little girl, with a little girl’s mind, arranging “those religious figures” in the manger with no idea the depth of significance they really had. I especially remember being drawn to the baby Jesus. He had a halo around his head, and just looking at this baby in the manger brought out those maturing maternal instincts in my adolescent heart that had been placed there by my Creator, who’s man’s-best-guess-at-an- image I was holding in my tiny hand.
Baby ceramic Jesus would sit in the corner of our living room in that nativity set, but no one ever told us kids the significance. No one ever explained it. How can they when they didn’t really have a clue? So that was the extent of our spiritual life…a ceramic baby Jesus. So, if you are a Christian, you can understand my concern about my Mom’s eternal dwelling.
As I prayed earnestly 13 years ago for an answer to whether my Mom was in Heaven, an extraordinary God-thing happened! I per-chance (I don’t believe in chance anymore) ran into my Aunt, my Mom’s older sister, at a resale shop. She told me she had something important to share with me but she wanted me to come to her house. It took about 2 weeks, but I finally made it over to see her. She shared that she had recently had surgery, and that on the operating table she had had an out- of-body-experience.
‘In the last days, God says, I will pour my Spirit on everyone. Your sons and daughters will speak what God has revealed. Your young men will see visions. Your old men will dream dreams. Acts 2:17
She was floating above the operating table and in the corner of the room she had a vision of my Mom running through a green valley just as free as can be. Everything was peaceful there and my Mom was happy and at peace.
The LORD is my shepherd. I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. Psalm 23:1-2
At that time I could only view it as an answered prayer. After my Aunt told me about her vision I had such a deep peace about my Mom’s salvation. I didn’t know how at the time, but with this fresh faith, I knew my God had given me a glimpse of his grace, answered my prayer, and let me know that, yes indeed, my Mom was in Heaven.
Surely… God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries. Daniel 2:47
Returning to my original thought…the Lord saw my renewed sorrow over my Mom’s death these past few days, and he cares enough that this morning my husband, getting ready for work and seeing me awake, asked me out-of-the-blue, “Renfro Valley is on…do you want me to turn it on for you?” Now mind you, we haven’t listened to Renfro Valley in ages. As a matter of fact I haven’t listened to “secular radio” since being called out of darkness.
As he tuned the station in and the music came clear, all of a sudden my heart was overcome with childhood memories of numerous Sunday mornings waking up and Renfro Valley would be playing in the kitchen as Mom, always the first one to rise, would be putting the coffee on for Dad, and preparing breakfast for all us kids.
The Lord was showing me that we hadn’t lived a completely empty spiritual life growing up, but that Renfro Valley was my Mom and Dad’s church! See, my Mom and Dad didn’t “go to church” because they had been deeply hurt by church people (Satan is alive and well and religious, and loves to go to church) over some snide comments they overheard on the one day they did perchance to venture to a Sunday service.
A large forest can be set on fire by a little flame. The tongue is that kind of flame. It is a world of evil among the parts of our bodies, and it completely contaminates our bodies. The tongue sets our lives on fire, and is itself set on fire from hell. James 3:6
After my husband left this morning, I lay there listening to the music of Renfro Valley and I was just consumed with the love of Jesus as the Holy Spirit quickened me to bathe in the songs that were emanating from the radio…snippets of verses like “church on a hill” and “Jesus is my eternal life” drifted over me, and I was awash in gratefulness to God for Renfro Valley and WJR. I knew in my heart that my Father in Heaven was once again conveying to me the comfort of reassurance that my Mom is by his side waiting patiently for our future reunion, whenever that might be.
As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted…Isaiah 66:13
He even opened up my ears and let me hear my Mom singing over me in another woman’s hauntingly similar tones as the lyrics “I will meet you under the old apple tree” played through my mind. Even as I think on this, another song about an apple tree comes to mind…
He had used that program oh so long ago to keep that tiny little mustard seed of faith alive in my Mom. Something I had long forgotten. And he was using that program this morning to bring precious memories and comfort to his grieving Child.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Cor 9:8
He is a God of immeasurable grace!
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22
Father Daddy, Thank you for this morning. Thank you for WRJ and Renfro Valley. Thank you for my husband. God, bless him for being used of you to bring comfort to me. Tell my Mom I said Hi, and continue to maintain your Holy Spirit in my life and in the lives of my family and friends, even if it is only a ceramic baby Jesus, or Renfro Valley kind of faith. Your grace is great and it is amazing! In the powerful name of Jesus Christ, Amen.