Tuesday, April 12, 2022

It is no secret what God can do

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Stuart Hamblen was an American entertainer who became one of radio's first singing cowboys in 1926, going on to become a singer, actor, radio show host, and songwriter.  From 1931, he began hosting the popular radio program Family Album in California. He also composed music and acted in films with cowboy stars including Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and John Wayne. He did not cope well with the pressures of his high-profile career and sought relief in alcohol. Many times his drinking landed him in jail for public brawling and other destructive behaviour. 

In 1949 after years of struggle with alcohol, along came a young preacher holding a tent revival meeting. He decided to have him on his radio show presumably to poke fun at him. In order to gather more material for his show he  showed up at one of the revival meetings. Early in the service the preacher announced, "There is one man in this audience who is a big fake." There were probably others who thought the same thing, but Stuart was convinced that he was the one the preacher was talking about (some would call that conviction) but he was having none of that. 

Still the words continued to haunt him until a couple of nights later he showed up drunk at the preacher's hotel door around 2 a.m. demanding that the preacher pray for him! Surprisingly the preacher refused, saying, "This is between you and God and I'm not going to get in the middle of it." However, the young preacher did invite Stuart in and they talked until about 5 a.m. at which point Stuart dropped to his knees and with tears, cried out to God. 

Thankfully, that is not the end of the story. Stuart gave up drinking, chasing women, everything that was previously he thought 'fun.' Soon he began to lose favour with the Hollywood crowd. He was ultimately fired by the radio station when he refused to accept a beer company as a sponsor. Hard times were upon him.  He tried writing a couple of "Christian" songs but the only one that had much success was "This Old House", written for his friend Rosemary Clooney. 

As he continued to struggle, a long time friend named John took him aside and told him, "All your troubles started when you 'got religion,' was it worth it all?" Stuart answered simply, "Yes." Then his friend asked, "You liked your booze so much, don't you ever miss it?" His answer was, "No." John then said, "I don't understand how you could give it up so easily." Stuart's response was, "It's no big secret. All things are possible with God." To this John said, "That's a catchy phrase. You should write a song about it.” “The rest”  as they say  “is history." 

The song Stuart Hamblen wrote was "It Is No Secret what God can do". By the way... the friend was John Wayne, and the young preacher who refused to pray for him - that was Billy Graham. Stuart Hamblen's Gospel song has since been recorded by many singers: Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves, Anne Murray and Daniel O'Donnell to name but a few.

When we talk about a secret, we talk about something that is not to be revealed to anyone else - but God’s secret is now out in the open...  The Bible tells us that .......the preaching of Jesus Christ .....which was kept secret since the world began ....is now made manifest ......for the obedience of faith.  What was a mystery has now been made plain - God heals the broken hearted & broken relationships - all by the work of Christ as revealed in the Gospel. The invitation to turn to Christ is open to all - as it is stated in Stuartl Hamblen’s chorus...

It is no secret what God can do.
What He's done for others, He'll do for you.
With arms wide open, He'll pardon you.
It is no secret what God can do.

Messages with Meaning (05/04/22)
Written by Peter Francis 


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