Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The man who traveled 9 hours to give "one hour of grace"

Grace.  Our heavenly Father has it.  My earthly father had it.  Grace: goodwill, favor; mercy or pardon; the favor and love of God.
I was 19 and attending Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky. 
My dad and mom had packed up my brothers at a young age, left the comfort and security of a big extended family in Steubenville, Ohio, and set up housekeeping in the G.I. barracks at this same college.  My father was 27 and mother was 28.  They had given their lives to Jesus and heard the calling of God on dad to be a minister.  You see: he had made a deal with God in a stark, freezing, lice-ridden, filthy barracks in a German prison camp where he spent 4 months after being captured in the Battle of the Bulge.  God kept His end of the deal and when He reminded my dad, then dad kept his end.
I was born during their stay at Asbury College.  Mom was bed-ridden with rheumatic fever; Dad was working 3 jobs and attending Asbury full-time.  Dad barely graduated high school, but mom badgered the dean until he permitted Dad to enter on probation.  He got off that in his first semester and didn't look back. I've heard the stories so many times, but they don't get old. God's grace fell on them numerous times starting with that battle in Germany.
The article I still have reads:
         Berlin broadcast today a report that one American division, described as the 106th infantry,
        had been virtually wiped out.  It said the division had 11,800 men Dec.16, but 8 days later
       'consisted of 212 men who are wandering about the Ardennes and are perishing in a snowstorm.'
        The enemy asserted 'most of the men came from Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.'
My mother's handwriting below it: "This was my first knowledge that Roy was no longer safe in England."

Dad had told mom, " If I come up missing, don't assume I'm dead; assume I'm a prisoner." And he was.  He suffered frost bite up to his knees that plagued him to his death.  But he survived and as a result ultimately spent a lifetime doing his utmost to spread the news of  God's grace.

Well, this preacher's kid strayed some.  I did manage to end up at my dad's college, but I cried when I got the list of rules in the mail.  I thought I'd get kicked out the first semester.  And I should have.  But God's grace intervened.  In response to His grace, I decided to recommit my life to Christ.  I called and told my parents--they were each on a separate phone.  Dad asked me if I wanted him to be there.  I remember thinking, "What a stupid question!"  After all-- the man was 4 1/2 hours away!  I told him yes, but that I understood he couldn't be there and that I'd be okay.  I had a guy friend who would pray with me the next day.  One girl persistently tried to get me to let her lead me back, but I was adamant.
The next day was a free day for us.  I'm a night person and everyone knew that I did my homework until the wee hours of the morning and then made up the sleep sometime during the day.  EVERYONE knew not to call me on Monday mornings (our free of classes day)!  But lo and behold, there was a pounding on my door and a voice proclaiming my mom was on the phone.  I stumbled out of bed and down the hall to the one telephone.  I was not happy.  But mom's words immediately quelled my anger.  She said, "Honey, I just had to get hold of you.  Your dad's on his way, but he only has an hour.  He canceled one meeting, but  he has to be at the other one(and he really did).  So don't leave."
Talk about stunned. I don't remember anything between that moment and the moment I knelt with my dad at the college chapel's altar.  Before I prayed my prayer of rededicating my life to God/Christ/the Holy Spirit, my dad took my hand and said, "Now I imagine you have done some things you're not happy about.  But --and I mean this--that stuff is between you and God.  No one else. Not me, your mom, NO ONE ---JUST GOD."  Grace.  God's and my dad's.  We prayed and then we went to the cafeteria to eat.  He was there one hour folks.  Then he hugged me like only he could, got back in his car, and drove 4 1/2 hours back to southeastern Ohio. God's grace was alive and well in a man called "Big Roy."

  Dad had a "bucket list" before the movie made it a popular term.  He had his list of things he wanted to do and people and places he wanted to see before he died.  I was laid off my job for a year.  Dad and I became road buddies with me driving and him clutching a "hold handle" and praying. :)  We both sensed that we only had that year and we were right.
A cold, rainy day in Washington, D. C.  my husband and I drove Dad to one the home of one of my brothers near D.C. and together--he and his wife and my husband and I took Dad to see the war monuments---most importantly the WWII monument. 
He was thrilled despite the weather.
I have been blessed with so many wonderful moments that are now precious memories.
I just shared two of them with you. 

For more on grace visit the blog carnival.

The older of my two older brothers (I'm the only girl and the "baby") with his wife and Dad.

Do you see Dad laughing? He found joy in everything--even a chilly day in D. C.  My brother is pretending to race! 


  1. I think I should have liked to have known that man ... a man after God's own heart.

  2. An absolutely marvelous story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  3. i love this.
    thank you.

  4. Wow! What a story. Thanks so much for sharing it. It was very touching!

  5. What a beautiful memory! You are so blessed to have such a legacy, for your dad to embody grace.

  6. What a beautiful tribute to such an amazing man.

  7. Wow! You have so touched my heart with your story. What a blessing to know him... hopefully one more person I'll be able to appreciate personally when I reach heaven.

  8. That is such a wonderful memory to hold in your heart. Thank you for sharing that.


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