Once again the "importance" of OBEDIENCE is driven home to William Branham. He would indeed learn obedience by the things which He would suffered. And when God was finished, the clay would be ready for the molding in the Potters hands.
From the lips of his dying, young wife, he was reminded of his disobedience in refusing to go forth and "Do the work of an Evangelist, and make full proof of the ministry." Now, God had taken from him 'the desire of his eyes' but once more the Lord would allow death to knock at his door.
Again, Brother Branham continues his personal narration of the story.....
After Hope had passed away, I started home to see about the babies. How desperately I sought some peace of mind. I went to my mother's... I went to our house, Hope's and mine, everywhere, nothing satisfied me. I couldn't rest. Many of you people know what I mean. That night I finally went to bed and tried to sleep. Sometime during the night somebody knocked on the door. A voice called out in the darkness, "Billy, your baby is dying"
I'll never forget that night when I heard those words. I thought, "Oh, no! Not my baby!" As if it weren't enough that I had lost my wife that day, the friend had come with the news that my baby girl was dying. When we got into his little pickup truck to go to the baby, I thought life was at its very end. How could these things be!
When we arrived at my mother-in-law's house, we found the baby very near death. Dr. Sam Adair had come to the home and examined her. He told me that there was nothing that could be done that he knew of, but we rushed her to the hospital anyway. She had spinal meningitis which she had contracted from her mother. There was no chance at all for her ever to be well. They moved her to an isolated area in the basement of the hospital. I was told that she would be dead in a matter of hours. I can't express with human lips how that tore me up.
Dr. Adair told me that I shouldn't go near her because I might carry the germ to my little boy, Billy Paul. But I just couldn't stand it any longer. Thinking of her mother laying in the undertaker's establishment, I had to see my baby. I tell you, friends, the way of the transgressor is hard.
When the Doctor left the room I went down into the basement. I saw the little darling lying there. When I think of it now it just breaks my heart. As I walked in I looked at her and she tried to look at me. The flies was in her eyes. She was about eight months old, just big enough to be plump and sweet. The poor little thing had never come out of the spasm the meningitis had caused. One of her legs was drawn up and one of her arms was drawing. Her little leg moved up and down. Oh! Such a pitiful sight.
There laid my little darling, dying. I tried to talk to her. It was tragic - the agony was so great that one of them pretty, little blue eyes had crossed. It seemed as if my heart was breaking. I knelt down beside her and tried to pray. I said, "Lord, what have I done? Haven't I preached the Gospel on the Street corners? Don't hold it against me Lord. I never called them people "trash". Forgive me, Lord. Don't take my baby."
And while I was praying, it looked like a big black sheet came down. I knew then that He had refused me. Now, there was the hardest and most treacherous time of my life. I knew I had made a bad mistake in not turning loose of everything and going out into evangelistic work. I believe that the gift was ready to be manifested then, but I had neglected going.
But that dark curtain hung between and my baby was sinking. I raised up to look at her and said, "Sharon, don't you know daddy?" Truly I believe she knew I was there. It looked like she was trying to wave her little hand and her lips were quivering as though she were going to cry. You that have children know how I felt in that hour.
When God refused to talk to me then the Devil began to reason with me in my mind, trying cause me to doubt the Love and Goodness of God. He pointed to a dead wife and a dying child, hoping to turn me aside from serving God. But then, down on the inside, he stuck that Seed of Eternal Life. Faith took over. I rasied up and said, "Lord, you gave her to me and now you're taking her away from me, blessed be the Name of the Lord! If you take even me, I will still love you."
I prayed and laid hands upon her. But the angels came a little while later and took the little darling to be with her mother. I returned home, desolate and weary. Two days later we buried her in her mother's arms. I remember standing heartbroken and in despair at the graveside. It was unendurable. Somehow the leaves blowing on the trees reminded me of the old song:
There is a land beyond the river that they call the sweet forever, And we only reach that shore by faith's decree. One by one we reach the portal, there to dwell with the immortals, When they ring those golden bells for you and me.
I know that some day the grave shall burst open, because there is an empty tomb in Jerusalem. I know that some day it shall be opened also because they believed in Jesus Christ their resurrected Redeemer.
Billy and I went to the grave here sometime ago, packing a little flower for his mother and sister, just on an Easter morning, and we stopped. The little fellow started crying, he said, "Daddy, my mommy's down there."
I'm on the battlefield today, friends. I just can't tell any more. [Brother Branham breaks down and begins to weep - Ed.] God bless you.
Adapted from the book, "Footprints on the Sands of Time", published by Voice of God Recordings, which is a compilation of excerpts, by William Branham, taken from over one thousand tape recorded sermons.