My grandmother was the first person on both sides of her family and my grandfather's family to become a Christ-follower. She was rocking her beautiful 2-year- old daughter, who was suffering from pneumonia. In the 1920's there was not much help in small-town Kansas. Suddenly she realized her baby had died. She knew there must be a God someplace, so in her grief she cried out, "Lord, take me, too." She said God answered, "You can't go where she is going." Those words kept ringing in her ears. Then one day she thought of an older couple who were joyful and had praised the Lord. She made her way down a dusty road, fell into their arms, and said, "I am lost and need God." There in that small kitchen next to a wood-burning cook-stove, my grandmother repented and was enveloped by the love of Jesus.
She only had a 4th-grade education but did much self-education. My mother and grandmother both wanted my mother to go to a Christian college after high school, but my grandfather was not a believer and was antagonistic to the idea. He wouldn’t pay and thought that was the end of it. But my grandmother prayed and then put her faith into action. She began doing laundry for people and saving it toward my mother’s tuition. My mother worked in a “dime store,” saving every penny. When the day came to make the 500-mile trip to the Christian college in Colorado Springs, there was no money to pay for the trip. My grandmother prayed again. Just before the deadline, a phone call came.
“Sister Carter, I was praying this morning and I felt the Lord telling me to call you, but I don’t know why. My wife and I are driving to Colorado Springs tomorrow.” You can imagine the shouting my grandmother and mother did!
This faith, prayer, choice, and sacrifice changed the trajectory of my family now to the fourth generation and counting. Yes, Christian higher education takes sacrifice and faith in the 21st century just as it did in the early 20th century. And yes, “. . . He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” (Deut. 7:9)