Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Mother, I Have A Secret" ... Norris' Own Story

In 1922, when Norris was 45 years old, he spoke of the time when he was baptized, at the age of 13:

“Down in a little Central Texas community, Hubbard City, when under the spreading oaks, I walked down into a clear pool of water, fed by a running stream, on the arm of a Baptist preacher, Rev. Catlett Smith, who is now standing on the border line between heaven and earth, and he took these two hands and folded them across my breast … I was trembling like a leaf, I was scared to death … and he lifted his hand to heaven and said, “Upon a confession of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as your Lord, I baptize you, my brother, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” and then laid me beneath the baptismal waters.  When I came up out of the water and stood on the banks, with the water dripping from my clothes, I had the consciousness that I had obeyed my Lord, and as the water dripped off, it was a prophecy of that hour when we will leave the habiliments of the tomb and rise to be like Him in the Resurrection morning.

As my mother and I were driving home in a little one-horse buggy, just she and I jogging along, not a word was said between us until we got nearly home, and I said: “Mother, I have a secret I want to tell you.”  She put her tender arm around me and said:  “Son, I know what it is” … I said, “No, you don’t mother, I have never told a living soul.” ... “Oh,” but she says, “I have known it ever since you were three months old.”  ... It alarmed me.  I said, “But mother, I haven’t told it to a single human soul on earth, and I know you don’t know what it is.”  ... She said, “Tell me, and then I will tell you if I knew it.”  ... I said, “Mother, God has laid His hand on my soul and called me to preach His gospel.”  ... The tears of joy were standing out in her eyes and rolling down her cheeks, and she threw her arms around me and kissed my face and said, “My boy, I have known it ever since you were three months old.”  ... I said, “If you did why didn’t you tell me?” ...  “I wanted you to settle it yourself” she said.  ... “Mother,” I said, “Tell me how you knew it.”  ... She said, “Way back yonder when you were three months old, you went down to death’s door and I despaired of your little life … God brought you back to life, and I took you out one cool clear night on the banks of the old Coosa River in Alabama, and there knelt on the bank and lifted you up and up and up, to God and dedicated you to Him to preach His Gospel, and as clear as I ever knew anything, I had the assurance that God had answered my prayer.”

Listen friends, sometimes when the battles grow hard, and I don’t deny that they grow hard; sometimes when the storm clouds are hanging low; sometimes when the load is heavy; sometimes when the foes have been powerful, I say, “Lord, if you won’t hear me, go back yonder on the banks of the old Coosa River and listen to what mother said.”  Then I feel like taking a new grip on life.”

J. Frank Norris

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