Gladys Churchill Robertson: A Mother's Prayer
Washington, D.C. society in the 1930s seemed tailor-made for my mother, Gladys Churchill Robertson. A beautiful and gracious Southern belle, she was a credit to the rising political career of my father, who was then a United States representative from Virginia.
As the world plunged headlong into the Second World War, my mother reached a crisis of a different nature in her personal life. Confronted by the wife of a Baptist pastor, Mother realized that church membership alone would not ensure salvation. In a powerful encounter with Jesus Christ, she was born again.
Throughout the 1940s, my mother retreated from the social scene which had been a major part of her life. And as she studied the Scriptures and learned about Jesus for herself, a desire was formed in her heart that her two sons would also come to know the Lord.
I was a teen-ager at the time and mother's conversion did not have an immediate impact on my own life. However, at prep school, and later at college, the barrage of gospel literature she faithfully sent gave me only an occasional moment of embarrassment. But while I could escape her preaching, her prayers followed me wherever I went.
The Korean War was an intense interlude in my otherwise peaceful life. In 1950, I was activated as a second lieutenant in the United States Marines and had to postpone my enrollment in law school. I was assigned to the 1st Marine Division and sent into the combat zone around the 38th parallel.
Though I didn't know it at the time, my mother was at home in Lexington, Virginia, praying for my safety and crying out to God that He would use me for His glory. In her spirit, she felt that events of momentous importance to my life were taking place in Korea.
What happened was this: I moved in to the assignment tent. Facing me was a captain in fatigues. In front of him was a first lieutenant who was a regular Marine officer. The assignment officer said to the lieutenant, "There's a position open with the division adjutant office, would you like it?" The first lieutenant said, "No, I need more combat experience with a line battalion. That's the assignment I want."
When I came up next, the captain looked over my records and said, "Would you like to be assigned to the division adjutant's office? With your educational skills, this would be a natural position for you." I was a Reservist and my future was to go to law school, and so I immediately accepted this offer and became the assistant adjutant of the 1st Marine Division.
Later in the Korean War, I moved to the forward command post of the 1st Marine Division. I was in the combat zone and in danger, but I survived.
There is no doubt in my mind that God answered Mother's prayers for my protection. It was while entering business in New York City that I first felt the call of God on my life.
Having grown increasingly disillusioned with my work, and hoping to fill the spiritual void I felt within, I considered entering the ministry and returned home to tell Mother about my decision.
While she was delighted to hear the news, she quickly pointed out the flaw of my well-meaning plan. Something was missing. As she put it, I just didn't talk right. I had never mentioned the name of Jesus because I had yet to surrender my life to Him. Wisely, Mother put me in touch with a missionary to Holland, Cornelius Van de Bragen, who quietly led me to the Lord over dinner in a Philadelphia restaurant. Finally I began to understand and appreciate what a prayer warrior my mother really was.
On one memorable occasion, Mother had a vision from the Lord concerning the very founding of CBN. I had been struggling to secure the finances to launch a television ministry. I had reached a point of extreme crisis and considered quitting the work altogether, even before the first broadcast had gone out over the air. I told God that if He had not supplied the money needed by a certain Wednesday, I would be forced to sell everything and return to the business world.
On the Sunday before that Wednesday, unaware of the impending deadline, my mother was in the midst of her usual intercession when she had a most unusual experience. In a vision, she saw me kneeling in prayer with my arms outstretched toward heaven. As I was praying, a packet of large bank notes floated down into my outstretched hands. In her words, it was as if I were kneeling unto the open windows of heaven and God was pouring out his wealth upon me.
As events unfolded, even Mother was amazed at the truly prophetic nature of her vision. On the Tuesday night before I was to quit, a friend from New York arrived in our home, saying he had brought something from the Lord. Then he proceeded to write a check and hand it to me for $8,000, the biggest check I'd ever had with my name on it in all my life, and enough to pay the bills to get CBN started.
It was nothing short of a miracle. But equally miraculous was the way in which the Lord had revealed his intentions to my faithful, praying mother. Never lowering her standards of witness, testimony or prayer, she had been privileged to look into the very heart of God.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, our heritage is very, very important. And I had a really godly mother. It was amazing.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.