A Life Changed Forever
Let Sleeping Cats Lie! Or Mommy is he Jesus?
by John W. Nelson
It was a beautiful summer day and for days we had been preparing our home for a special guest. Cleaning and doing extra chores to make sure everything was comfortable and scrubbed up for Norman’s arrival. My father was a pastor of a small church in Modesto California in the late 1960’s and I was about 9 years old. We had met Norman P. Grubb in 1960 and I am told he blessed me and prayed for me shortly after I was born. I remember my father spending hours in his study, “The Law of Faith” and a Bible open on his desk. Norman’s books were always around and well read. He was a spiritual father to my father and therefore anytime he arrived we saw excitement and joy flood through and into the whole family and indeed the ministry.
As the youngest of four children we had a busy home, and pasturing a small church, working many jobs to support that ministry, meant at the time, we were not wealthy. We always had enough, clean clothes even if they were previously used, and sufficient food, but we were poor. From my perspective I was happy. It was a happy child hood. I was always filled with expectation and wonder. I have felt a natural positive joy my whole life. I never really bothered to figure out why, and it just seemed to make sense to me.
The day finally came when Norman was back to speak at our church and various small groups. I was so excited mainly because I got to sit on his lap and hold his arm or hand when he walked around. I was drawn to Norman like only one other man, my grandfather also a gentle soul. For me it was greater than meeting the Beatles, and the opportunity to serve him was sheer delight. His self-dismissing ways and positive smile was like a cold drink of fresh water or a cool breeze on a hot day. I know now that I was drawn to Jesus, in Norman, but to a little boy raised in church he was a hero. He might as well have had a cape and flown around without an airplane!
Norman spoke at our church the next morning and it was wonderful. I never understood much of what he said at that age, but it always brought me tremendous peace and joy. To experience this happy man with his pleasant accent, his sparkling blue eyes and his hands motioning away, he was demonstrative in a very subtle and restful way.
As we drove home after the service the excitement rose for we all knew what was waiting my mothers amazing pot roast! I swear I could smell it two blocks away! I knew we were in for a treat. My mothers and sisters are all excellent cooks to this very day. In those days a pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy (from heaven) and all the trimmings were a young boy’s dream come true. My oldest sister warned me out of the kitchen several times and nobody messed with my oldest sister, not if they knew what was good for them. The bruise on your shoulder you sustained from her love tap was enough to scare off even the most famished boy. After the bustle of mashing, whipping and filling bowls for what seemed like hours, finally the table was overflowing with Gods bounty! Norman always preferred to sit in the middle of the table with the children. He was the most unpretentious person I have ever known. He was never a “body fusser”.
As we stood behind our appointed chairs I was next to Norman in my usual position of holding his hand as he prayed, I felt the Holy Spirit pouring out of Norman when he prayed. After his blessing we sat down without any further thought of the spiritual realm to what was a feast fit for a king. We were already passing food, and so we hardly noticed Norman still standing behind his chair his eyes seemed closed in meditation. Soon my father asked Norman if everything was ok and his mumbled response was soft and sweet, that all was indeed fine and we should feel free to enjoy our meal.
After a few minutes it became evident that Norman was not going to sit down. I became uncomfortable staring at this massive feast spilling off my plate and not wanting to dig in without my friend and our honored guest. I turned my attention from my food and said, “Norman are you ok?” He said “Oh yes Johnny”, put his hand on my shoulder, smiled and continued to meditate. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, my hunger drove me to action. I gently pulled his chair out for him to sit. I was amazed to find on the chair curled into the tightest ball that you’ve ever seen was our cat sound asleep. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks; Norman would never disturb this creature of God, because while he loved to eat, he loves God even more. The realization stunned me that no matter what his reason was, this man was at peace in this fallen world. I on the other hand had no such compunction. I carefully woke up our family cat and pushed her on her way. Norman eventually settled in and we had another scrumptious meal with our spiritual father.
I knew from that moment on that God had true power and purpose in our every day lives of real people! I saw God as a real person who would always be there, a friend who would never abandon me! I also knew it was a matter of time . . . before Jesus had me, when my life would become HIS; Jesus living in me and eventually as me. I remember that moment the next year when I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior and lover, and oh, the joy that filled my soul!
I know that in that small moment and many others like it, I was in the presence of Norman as Jesus. When I recounted the story a couple years after to my mother I said “Mom is he like Jesus?” She said, “Actually son, He is Jesus, living in Norman Grubb.” I will see Norman in eternity. I am so excited to discuss his books again. To see his blue eyes twinkle and feel his smile warm my heart, will be heaven.
So you see Norman and I were little boys together…yes he was old and wise in the spirit and I was just a little boy, but we were the same trusting and hopeful person, full of wonder, dreams and joy…full of the abundant possibilities that are in a life with Christ!
John W. Nelson
March 15, 2005