The Tunnel Thru the Air. W. Gann


In the extreme northeastern corner ofthe Lone Star State ofTexas, about eight miles west ofTexar-kana, in a lonely farm-house on Sunday morning, June lO111, Amelia Gordon turned over in her bed and watched the sunlight streaming thru the window on the head of her new-born son. She had always hoped that this, her third son, would be born on Sunday, but he was born late Saturday night, June 9111,1906. A few months before his birth, his mother had suffered a severe shock on account ofthe death ofher oldest son in the San Francisco earthquake in April, and for a time it was feared that her third son might never be born to live. She was happy this Sunday morning when she looked at her bouncing baby boy, dreamed of his future, and thought of what his name should be. Calvin Gordon, the baby's father, had been a Captain in the U.S. Army in Spain.

He had won distinction for his cool courage and daring nerve, and after the close ofthe Spamsh-American war, moved from Tennessee to Texas. Capt. Gordon had been very much depressed after the loss ofhis eldest son in the San Francisco earthquake, and was very much cheered up at the birth ofthis boy, and hoped that the youngest son might ful-fill the ambitions he had for his first born.

It had always been the custom of Calvin and Amelia Gordon to go to the little country church eveiy Sunday morning, but this morning Capt. Gordon remained with his wife so that they could talk over the naming of their son. Capt. Gordon suggested the name "Robert," which was the name of his father, and his wife quickly acquiesced, so the baby was named Robert. Amelia Gordon was a great Bible student, and had always hoped that she would have a son born who would be a preacher, so she thought that little Robert might fulfill her hopes and ambitions.

Capt. Gordon was a farmer, growing mostly cotton crops on the Red River bottom lands. The following year, 1907, after the birth of little Robert, Capt. Gor-don's crops were almost a failure. The Spring was late and overflows damaged cotton. This, together with unfavorable financial conditions, caused a panic in the United States in the Fall of 1907. Thus the first year ofthe boy's life started under unfavorable conditions.

When Robert was a little over two years old, his mother gave birth to a girl, the first born to her, but still she showed great interest in Robert; talked much of his future and took great interest in teaching him to live according to the Bible.
At about the age offive, his mother began to teach him the alphabet. He learned very quickly how to read and write, before he started to school. He was always willing and glad to go to Sunday School with his mother, took a great interest in the sermon, and what the Sunday School teacher had to say about the creation ofthe world, and about God's great plan.

Little Robert went to church one day and the preacher took his text from l Thes. 4:16-18, "For the Lord him-self shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice ofthe archangel and with the trump ofGod; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one an-other with these words."

Robert was very much interested in this sermon, and asked his mother to explain how the Lord could descend from Heaven and what kind of vehicle we would ride in ifwe were caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. His mind puzzled over this for weeks and months, and he was anxious to understand more about it. He said, "Mother, 1 should like to meet the Lord in the air." His mother said, "You will be able to do so some day, Bobbie."

When in Sunday School one day, the teacher read from 2 Thes. l: 7-8, "And to you who are troubled rest with us; when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel ofour Lord Jesus Christ." The preacher said that the Lord had placed the rainbow in the sky as a testimony that he would never again destroy the world by water, but explained that God would come again in a flame of fire and thus take vengeance on those who did not believe and destroy the world by fire. Robert wanted to know if the eood Lord who loves us so much would destroy the world and all of those in it. His mother explained that God would destroy those that were sinners and rebelled against him and had not accepted his word.

Bobbie was in Sunday School again and heard them read from l Tim. 2:11-14: "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But 1 suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived; but the woman being deceived, was in the transgression." He asked the Sunday School teacher to explain what this meant, — by learning in silence and subjection. He also wanted an explanation ofthe statement that a woman should not teach, because he said that his mother had always taught him and loved him, and his father had paid no atten-tion to him and had no desire to teach him. He wanted to know ifit was wrong for his mother to teach him, and if God would punish her.

The teacher replied that the Lord said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for ofsuch is the Kingdom ofGod." She explained that his mother set an example more by her love and devotion than by words; that a mofher's actions would influence a child more than any-thing she could say, and this was the great silent teaching. Robert often visited the colored mammies on the plan-tation and listened to the ghost stories they told, and the fear was created in his mind ofthe spirits that walked in the night. He was often afraid that the goblins would get him if he didn't watch out. One Sunday at church, the preacher took for his text Gen. l: 7, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and oflove and ofa sound mind." When Robert heard this, he wanted to know how it was that we should fear things, if God had not given us the spirit offear nor created the spirit of fear in us, but gave us a spirit of power and oflove and ofsound mind. His mother explained to him that the ghost and the fear ofthe dark which the old darkies told him about, were nothing but superstition, and he should banish it from his mind.

A few Sundays later, the minister took his text from 2 Tim. 3: i, "This know also, that in the last days peri-lous times shall come." Robert was anxious to know when the last days would come. His mother told him it would be at the time ofthe end ofthe world and God would again come to destroy the world by fire.
The minister continued to read from 2 Tim. 3:15, "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scrip-tures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." Robert was desirous ofknowing ifchildren could teach more about the scriptures than grown people. His mother told him that the Bible said, "A little child shall lead them," and that anyone who would harm little children, can in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

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