I talked to Carina and she said, “Can Jesus come in my heart like He comes in yours?” I said, “I suppose so.” And she said, “How does it happen?” And I said, “Well, I think you have to ask God to forgive you for your sin.” She had never been to church. She’d only ever heard “Jesus” sworn. She lays in her bed and she puts her hand up with little fat fingers and tears roll down her face and she says she’s sorry for her sins. She looks at me and says, “Mommy, is your Jesus beating in your heart like He’s beating in mine?” I said, “Yes, but we don’t tell anybody.”
One of the things I want to say is that this was an incredible experience for Treena and God takes us wherever we are for the type of people we are. I’m extremely grateful that this church prayed for this wild lady. Not only did this church pray, but the pastor and his wife came that 100 miles to babysit my Carina while I went to find Jesus. In another church, in another denomination and in my heart it’s like God says, “This is true love.” When we pray. And we’re not all mucked up with what our own denominations or whatever they are. But this dear Pastor George, and his wife, babysat knowing and believing because they had prayed and they had fasted for this white lady to come and know Jesus. They believed I would. Otherwise they would never have come all that way to babysit, would they?
Don’t you think that is a wonderful story? But you know, it’s not a story. It’s the truth. It changed me overnight. My mouth, which was violent and horrid, and I used to swear like a trooper, was cleaned up overnight. My anger, my critical spirit, my rejection I’ve had to work on. There are still things we have to work on. But all the biggies, Jesus was good enough to clear up in my heart. And he can do that for anybody but he has different ways for each one of you. Just as he had for my darling.
It really doesn’t take much to understand that, if in God’s case, if you really wanted to reach a person like me, very much looking in the mirror and thinking that I was terrific stuff with an ego and possessions and everything else getting in the way, you really have to use some marvelous kind of lure to get his attention. He used Treena.
We met when we were 11 at school. In fact my mother invited her up to a strawberries and cream party at our hotel. We played badminton on the lower lawn at the hotel grounds. She bashed the shuttle cock into a rhododendron bush that had been there for about four hundred years. In the quietness of an English garden on a summer afternoon with strawberries and cream on the side we both rushed into the bushes to get the shuttle cock and our hands touched. And that was it. As far as I was concerned that was the end of soccer.
Later I sold my MG to get married. I just want to show you the commitment level. As I said earlier on, the hop, skip, and jump is really what I’m about. The hop in my case is really the conversion period of time. The skip was a period of time when I felt a commitment coming upon me that I needed to make a very serious commitment and that God would test this as it turned out. The third part was the jump, which was really the character building phase of life which will go on hopefully until eternity. I was asking the Lord, “Why it is that Treena took off that day in that church in Bethlehem, Maryland, and will not land until she’s face to face with Jesus?” I think the reason behind that is because she saw Him face to face. At the moment that she saw Him and He touched her, then she was propelled, literally, by that loving touch into eternity. I’ve seen her go through all kinds of stuff in the last twenty years and I want you to know that I live with someone that who I deeply admire and respect for her spiritual life. I’m very grateful to the Lord for giving her to me as someone to watch and really to model a good deal of spiritual behavior upon. I do it differently because I’m different. She’s very special to my life.
At this time, she didn’t share with you, she had been diagnosed, not as a manic depressive but as someone who is actually capable of taking her own life and our lives at the same time. Her rage was so completely obliterating when it hit, that it was really fierce. You could not imagine the same person as you heard speak tonight. When next you brush your teeth, look at yourself before you rinse your mouth out and imagine what that would be if it was combined spittle under huge rage in which you couldn’t control your limbs. You were just simply shaking with rage. This was this is this woman who spoke to you tonight. I was afraid and the doctor said to me, “We’re going to have to face the fact that she’s going to have to be placed into a mental institution, voluntarily for an indeterminate amount of time until she can be brought round and made well again.” When I looked over my shoulder and saw the kind of person that I was and the kind of pain I had inflicted upon her, much that I loved her it, it’s never failed to amaze me that I would have hurt her, but I did. She couldn’t forgive me before she had the Lord. She had no means by which to understand the word forgiveness. She’d say it, but then something would happen and out would come the skeleton out of the closet again and bingo we were into another area of distress. It was a horrendous life. In this case, he had said we were only two weeks away from a commitment potential for her when this whole event took place. It was literally within fourteen days.
The very next day (I came back a few days later from being away). That very time when I returned home, I was being loved unconditionally for the first time in eight years. There was not a single moment of rage. There was no lack of control. There was a beautiful smile that she had. The children were sort of saying, “What’s going on?” Our youngest daughter knew, but they were coming back home. The home was a home again. Frankly, I thought, “It’s Christmas and that was what was doing it.” It was very nice and very neat but I didn’t know how long it was going to last and of course I didn’t ask what had happened. I just accepted it and received it and thought it was great stuff.
I only have one witness in life and this witness, Treena, just lived out her testimony in front of me. She didn’t say anything about the Lord at all. She just kept this “golden zipper,” as she called it, shut. I never knew a word. All I knew was that she was under the stairs where we kept the vacuum cleaner with Ruthie praying. I didn’t know she was praying but there was this muttering every now and again and they would come out from underneath the stairs. I didn’t understand that she was going on the scriptural context of get into a closet and pray and the only closet we had was under the stairs. They would do nothing else but talk about the weather. Whenever I would come upon them they would be talking about the weather. I know that it was me they were talking about before that, but I didn’t know that at the time.
She prayed with Ruthie for me. I got to know about this in an unusual way and it really doesn’t matter. It was in Safeway, really. The checkout girl said, “Hallelujah, I was baptized in the same way as your wife was.” I thought that was hugely funny. Obviously a mistaken identity and so I went rushing back home and got everybody in the house together and told them this story and said, “Wasn’t that hugely funny?” And Treena said, “Well, I was.” That was the first piece of humility.
So I sort of got out quickly from the room where everybody was gathered to listen to my funny story. I asked her whether she wanted me to become a Christian too. See I’d done all the other things that she’d done to try to find peace and I hadn’t done very well. I thought, I’d try this as well. I wonder how many men or women have said yes to their mates because of wanting to keep the peace in some way, but not truly believing or having that personal faith. I don’t know the answer to that, but I know what she said to me, which is just a knock out of a statement. “Look, I need Jesus, but I don’t know about you. Why don’t you ask him about that yourself.” It was an amazing statement you see because I was off the hook. I didn’t have to perform anything for her. I was actually allowed to have a look and see and ask questions if I wanted to.
Well I decided not to ask questions, but I decided to watch her. I slid her under the microscope of my mind which is quite analytical and watched how she went. Now, remember I’ve known her since we were eleven. We were forty at this stage. There’s very little wool that you can pull over someone’s eye that knows somebody as well as this. I have to tell you that she became absolutely radiant. I got to be rather hungry and thirsty for the first time in my gourmet life. She had a relationship with God, obviously, and I didn’t know how that was done and I didn’t know how she’d done it. She hadn’t told me. But I was watching and watching and waiting to see when it would break down and fail like all the rest had failed, but it didn’t.
Then the doctor came. This was a key thing for me. The doctor was Roman Catholic and he said, “Now, listen, I’m a man of science and I have never, ever seen a miracle. I suppose it’s because I know enough science to say, ‘Well, that could have been a reversal because of something else, you know’, but I’ve never been able to say it.” He then started to tear up. His eyes filled with tears and I was amazed because He stopped talking for a moment. And then he said, “But now I have seen a miracle and it’s your wife, Treena. She was taking up to sixty milligrams of Valium a day to stay on track and she went cold turkey over- night and you can’t do that,” he said. “You’ll go into a coma if you try. You have to trail off. She is a miracle, Graham. God has definitely healed her. She’s the same as anybody I know, a wonderful woman.”
He left and I went out into the garden where we had a four hundred year old elm tree. It was a great big tree. Now I had not read how Jesus spoke to fig trees, just as well because otherwise I might have killed it, but I walked up to this elm tree and I put my head quite close to it. I didn’t look around because there was nobody else there. And I said, “Treena has had a miracle and I believe that’s God. God made you. You’re a tree. I know that. God made me. I’m Graham. Now, I feel a bit foolish, but I need to know from you how I can get a miracle too because she’s got one and I want one.” It was like she got Sears revolving credit and I had no credit card at all. Actually, it was like she had a platinum card and I had a Sears card.
Anyway, nothing stirred and I thought in that moment when only men can think this, “This Christianity stuff must be a women’s thing. It’s just not for chaps like me.” And I turned away from there and in that moment, I looked at the house that we had. We had an 1814 white colonial mansion that was ten thousand four hundred square feet. I looked at the house and I know now that he answered my need for a miracle right there and then, but I just didn’t recognize it. Can I stop for a moment and say this to you? I don’t know where you are at all and you obviously know that. But there may be something in your life when you feel like turning away from whatever is getting on your nerves and crying out to God like Treena did. I can’t handle this but you can. I don’t know if you can do that or ever felt like doing that, but I did that at that moment. I was really serious. I really wanted a miracle. I wouldn’t be talking to a tree otherwise. So I turned away from the tree and I think God immediately answered it. I don’t think we need to know it at the time. But the fact that He listens acutely when we turn and cry out, there is no question or doubt in my mind whatsoever. This is the way he answered me.
I looked at the house and I thought, “It needs painting.” Now you think, “That’s a strange thing. How could God sort of suddenly make it look tacky?” Well I wanted to change the cars, I didn’t like my boat, I didn’t like my career. It was just like a pack a dominoes just fell in immediately. I use the term manufactured light. I really believe that things like watches and things like a Rolex have manufactured light to it and because it glitters and you think, “Oh, I’d love to wear that, because people would think better of me.” I was so heavy with things around me that glittered because they looked nice. I just have to say, all the lights went out. Everything that compelled me to own those things was because I lacked self worth inside. All of those things now didn’t seem to be of any value at all. Therefore the work wasn’t much interest either because I only worked more in order to get more things. So all the lights went out except one.
What Treena did when she went upstairs was she looked into the mirror to see if she looked like Ruthie did. Obviously her eyes. The eyes are the window to the soul and there’s a light in there when we know the Lord. It really is quite profound. I had seen Treena’s eyes look like stunned maillot. If you look at a dead fish sometime and look deeply into that dead eye and you’ll know what Treena’s eyes looked like. Well when you look at a bright shiny eye that’s just come out of the water you know that there’s life in there. There’s life in Treena’s eyes. The only light I knew at that time was Treena.
I went through thirty days and at the end of the thirty days I was in Ottawa in the Four Seasons Hotel on the fifteen floor. I’d come back from working all day on television. Fourteen shows I had made in that one day for inner-city use. It was the first time I’d given myself away to anybody for any reason. It was about nutrition for inner city people.
I was spending time with the Bible again. I was using the Bible because there’s something in here that Treena is reading and she smiles all over her face. I can’t pronounce most of it and I don’t understand all of this stuff. I get to this Bible, that night and I said, “I want a personal relationship with you.” and I screwed up my face and lifted my hand up and sort of focused on the corner and I said, “I want a personal relationship with you just like Treena’s got and I want it now!” There wasn’t a single response. God isn’t in to room service, I guess. I then said, really frustrated,” What do I have to say to you to get to know you like Treena does?” And immediately without a single breath came the words that I suppose I spoke, “Jesus I love you.” Since I’d asked him what to say I think He really filled my mouth. I heard them with my ear and I believed them with my heart.