Growing up, we visited Mount Airy, North Carolina (yes, it is the actual town the Andy Griffith Show was based on!) most summers. This year, Pages Book Store hosted a Go West book signing during the annual Mayberry Days celebration. Barney Fife gave his last bullet for a copy of the book and Gomer Pyle said “Sha-zam” when he held a copy in his hands!
There’s a smell in the air, a fog in the sky, a friendliness in the community, and warmth in family and friends that makes Mount Airy feel like home. In many ways, the mountain town is exactly how I remember it from my childhood. Family still resides on the original home place at the base of Raven Knob. Snappy Lunch’s still serves the pork chop sandwich. And relatives and lifelong friends still worship at the church my forefathers help build in 1911.
On Sunday 9/24 I had the opportunity to speak in that very place; Ladonia Baptist Church. When reflecting on the experience, I’ve concluded that a circle was completed that day. I’m sure my brother realized this when he spoke there too. You see, in the 1800’s my great-great grandfather helped plan and later build the church from the ground up. My great grandfather preached from the pulpit. My grandmother sang, prayed, and worshiped from the front row. And in his youth, my dad gave his life to Christ in that very place.
My grandmother was a gifted writer. Words and lyrics flowed from her head to her pen with great ease. Her desire was the be a published poet sharing poems of Christ’s saving grace. She prayed that prayer for over 80 years! Her love for writing was passed on to my dad. Records show that he was denied by 68 publications before his first work was published. But even in the struggle, he trusted that someday, God would make a way.
As I stood there that Sunday morning, I realized…Go West is the answer to a prayer that has been prayed by generations, for generations! While the book is about my life, it is more importantly about the faith in Christ we desire to share.
Here’s the moral of the story…We may not see our prayers answered in our lifetime, but they will not go unanswered.
I’m motivated now, more than ever, to pray for my kids, grand-kids, and great grand-kids as this is proof that the prayers birthed in my life may very well be answered in their life.