by J Roesler
Granddaddy Romine was a poor Texas farmer. I don’t remember much about Granddaddy except for old faded family pictures. He was a tall man with dark, deeply wrinkled skin from the hot Texas sun. He sported a full head of white hair, and big, bushy white eyebrows. I remember him coming for a visit once, riding the bus all the way from Texas to Michigan. That’s about the extent of what I remember as I was only 4 when he died. But Granddaddy Romine left a spiritual legacy that I will never forget and will pass on to my children. This is the incredible story of God’s miraculous protection and healing and the legacy he left.
Farming is a never-ending job and the day’s work is long and hard. Plowing on their rented land in eastern Texas in 1946, Granddaddy Romine worked the field up and down alongside a ditch. As he backed up the tractor to get closer to the ditch and continue to plow, the tractor tipped over on him and he was knocked unconscious. When he came to, he realized that he was pinned under the steering wheel and prayed, “Please God, don’t let me die like this.” And with that, he passed out again.
When Granddaddy didn’t return home for dinner, his oldest son, Valton, went out looking for him. He found Granddaddy lying in the field, not pinned under the tractor, but his chest was crushed. Granddaddy was taken to the hospital in Greenville about 15 miles away. Dr. Joe Becton, head of the hospital said that not much could be done for him medically and that Granddaddy would not live long.
Valton, telephoned Granddaddy’s sister, Aunt Janie, living in West Texas, nearly 700 miles away. It was a time when one dreaded the words, “it’s long distance,” because such phone calls often brought bad news.
Aunt Janie and her husband, Uncle Forest, a minister, often listened to a local radio broadcast where people could call in prayer requests. After hearing the news, Uncle Forest but put his hand on the radio and prayed for Granddaddy Romine.
At the same time back in the hospital, Mama Romine stood by Granddaddy’s side. He said to her, “Vera, there’s an angel sitting at the end of my bed.” The very words scared Mama Romine because she thought it surely must be the Angel of Death; but from that point on, Granddaddy’s condition improved. The doctors took him into surgery to remove fluid from his chest. Dr. Becton later told Mama Romine that is was not what he and the doctors had done, but Someone else had saved him.
My mother, living in Michigan, arrived three days later by train. She and Mama Romine slept at the hospital until Granddaddy was completely out of danger. When Granddaddy finally left the hospital, my mother heard a friend of Granddaddy’s comment to him that he was a very lucky man. Granddaddy Romine responded, “I don’t know about that. I just figure the Lord had something he wanted me to do before he took me home.” Granddaddy lived another 11 years, until 1957; time enough for me to be born.
While I may not remember much about Granddaddy, this story has kept me in the faith during those times in my life when I had my deepest doubts. I would think, if space were infinite, where is heaven? And if there’s no heaven, then there can be no God. At that point in my life, it seemed fitting for there to be no God because then there would be no sin, and if there were no sin, there’d be no reason for guilt. But, if there were no God, then there could be no angels. And that I just couldn’t accept. There were angels, and they had saved my Granddaddy. And if there were angels, there had to be a God, and if there were a God, then His word was truth and that meant Jesus was real and that He died for my sins—sins that I had to deal with. I couldn’t walk away from the truth.
Many people have faith stories as real and miraculous as this one. Write them down now, for you never know it might turn out to be just that strand that a grandchild needs to hang on to and hold firm in his or her faith.
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