The following reflections, originally penned in the 1930’s, were among the notes and papers left by my maternal grandfather, W.N. Short, Sr., after 60 years of gospel service in southern Africa beginning in 1921. Even without historical context, these remarks clearly reflect the faith of the writer, a godly heritage which both challenges and inspires us who are his descendants. I thank my cousin, Ellen Baize, for sharing this with me. Ellen is a daughter of H. F. (Foy) Short, Sr., who is a brother of my mother, Sybil Short Fudge Dewhirst. (Other Short siblings include Beth Ewing, Margaret Ann Mansur Weaver and W.N. (Bill) Short, Jr. All are living except Bill, who died in October 2009 at age 66.
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Reflections by Grandfather Short. In thinking over the events of life, I am more than ever convinced that God’s hand is ruling in the daily life of every one of his servants — as far as we will allow Him to rule. I remember Bro. Hurst told me of the time he came home in the wagon from delivering a load of grain to town. A heavy rain cloud came up, and he turned his team of horses into the neighbor’s yard and stopped under the wagon shed. A terrible rain came on. But before the rain stopped, he drove out right into the rain he had gone there to get out of. Just as he reached the road, the lightening struck that shed and tore it all to pieces. What caused him to go out into the rain? He did not know, but he believed, as I do, that the hand of the Lord was there.
In my own life, why did I get through without harm if the hand of the Lord was not guiding? Why was I not crushed between the barn timbers and the wagon load of furniture, or rather, why did father call out to the horses to stop just six inches before the timber would catch me? Why was it father moved from Kansas to Oklahoma, and then to Cordell, Oklahoma for the children’s schooling? Why was it father lost money in so many things, rather than making money as he tried to do, if it was not for a purpose? As father said one time, “Perhaps it is just as well it happened that way.” Why in almost every instance did things turn to the saving of my life if God was not directing?
Why, when I was completely out of change and could not get any until offices opened again on Monday, did an utter stranger hand me money over in Sydney, Australia, if God’s ministering angel was not watching over? Why all through our life in Africa did things work out for us? Why the funds to get the children back to the US for school? Why all these things? It was because, “And, lo, I am with you, even unto the end of the world.”
One time, while at the store at Macheke, Mr. Kilur offered me a cigarette. I refused and he said, “You do not smoke, you don’t swear, you don’t drink, you don’t run with women. What do you do?” I tried to get a reply that would help someone standing around, and made an answer that I was trying to live a life well pleasing to the Lord. I hope it made some impression on someone. But if the words did not, I pray my life did.