My Granny Tharpe was not what one might consider proper in the way society defines proper. She was a bit gruff and a bit tough and altogether one of the neatest people I have ever known. She was such an odd combination of tenderness and toughness, of kindness and strictness, of femininity and don’t mess with me, that figuring out what she was going to do next was not the easiest thing to do; but in certain instances there was no doubt what she would do.
When I was a kid and we were down at the Dead Lakes helplessly watched as three young men drowned in a whirlpool; or when my brother’s appendix ruptured and came very close to killing him; or when the day was particularly pretty; or when the mood just hit her; at such times she would rush into action and pray.
I don’t recall her being particularly religious, strictly speaking. Yea, she would go to the Saint Andrews Methodist Church every Sunday, with the express purpose of sitting behind my Grandmother Rowell and pestering her; but aside from that she wasn’t one to attend circle meetings or serve on committees. She was what I call a blue collar Christian, living the simple life of loving her family and her God. When the need arose however, she would pray and she didn’t care who was around or what anyone, and I mean anyone, thought about it. Granny was for lack of a better term, unwavering in all she did.
Now the Bible was not often read aloud at Granny’s house, but to the best of my recollection it was never dusty either. In the privacy of her time with God, Granny read His word and knew what He expected; and through the eyes of a loving grandson, she didn’t appear to disappoint Him all that often. As I have watched the world go from bad to worse since Granny’s passing, I have wondered what my Granny would have thought about the current state of affairs.
I can’t say she ever had much use for the government to begin with, but when our government started attacking God in schools, on the city square and over the airwaves, Granny got angry. Granny lived with my mom and dad for a year of so before her death; and during that time, she and I talked about such things and she was, to say the least, appalled. Now with the escalation of the attacks on the Christian faith, I wonder what she would say to you and me. What advice would she give to help fit us for battle?
As I thought about it, it came to me what her first response would be. Her first response, I have little doubt, would be a simple question directed at those of us who claim Christ as our Lord and Savior. She would look each and every one of us in the eye and without a hint of self-consciousness she would ask:
“So tell me, what are you doing at home?
Are you reading the Bible or the T.V. guide? Are you praying at anytime other than the few well-rehearsed words you say over your meals? Do you offer anything other than lip service to God? Where is God in your life?
How can you expect your children to pray in school or at a ball game or anywhere else for that matter, when you have not taught them how to pray in their own home?
Never forget that change starts at home. Fighting for prayer in school, a nativity scene on the courthouse lawn and the like is all well and good, but praying at home has always been available and seldom is it exercised.
God’s Word is available, I dare say, in every household where this writing has found rest; and yet I’ll bet you that the majority of the Bibles are left dusty and forgotten. Just ask yourself, “When was the last time I opened God’s Word at home?” Ask yourself, “When was the last time I opened the Word of God?”
Fight for prayer at school and at ball games and anywhere else where the freedom of religion is threatened; but remember this: before you can go into the world and fight for God, you must first fight for Him in your own home.
I believe that is what Granny would say, or near abouts at least.
I can hear her voice and see her weather worn face right now in my mind’s eye. I can see those black eyes staring into mine. I can sense the years and the wisdom in her stare, and I can feel the shame welling up in me as I thank God that she is not present to hear my answer. How about you?