“It is no secret what God can do.”

“The shortest distance between reality and truth is a story.” [2] He was a religious writer and interested in the Master’s views. “How does one discover God?” he asked.

Said the Master plainly, Through making the heart white with silent meditation, not making paper black with religious composition.”

Then turning to his scholarly disciples, the Master teasingly added, Or making the air thick with learned conversation.”

Back in the 50’s, there was a well-known radio host/comedian/song-writer in Hollywood named Stuart Hamblen, who was well known for the proverbial ‘wine, women and song.’ As a matter of fact, one of his bigger hits at that time was,

“I won’t go hunting with you, Jake, but I’ll go chasing women.”

One day, along came a young preacher holding a tent revival service. With a view to poking fun at him, Stuart invited him to be a guest on his radio show. And, in order to gather material for the interview, Hamblen decided to be actually present 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.” Funnily, while everybody dismissed that as a joke, Hamblen was convinced that he was the one the preacher was talking about. Some would call that conviction, but he certainly 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 o’clock in the morning demanding that the preacher pray for him. But the preacher refused saying, “This is between you and God and I’m not going to get in the middle of it.” But he did invite Stuart in and they talked until about 5 o’clock in the morning. At that point, Hamblen dropped to his knees and with tears cried out to God to deliver and save him. In a word, he was truly contrite and was resolved to turn over a new leaf.

But that is not the end of the story. Hamblen quit drinking, quit chasing women, and everything that was ‘fun’ as he understood it. 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. In other words, hard times just descended upon him like a dark shadow. 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?” Very honestly, Hamblen answered, “Yes.”

Then his friend asked, “You liked your booze so much, don’t you ever miss it?” Without batting an eyelid, Hamblen answered, “No!” John then said, “I don’t understand how you could give it up so easily.” And this was Stuart’s candid response, “It’s no big secret. All things are possible to God.” To this John said, “That’s a catchy phrase. You should write a song about it.” And as the saying goes, “The rest is history.”

Inspired by God, Carl Stuart Hamblen composed that most uplifting hymn, It is No Secret.” 

“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 welcome you.

It is no secret, what God can do.”

By the way, the friend was the famous actor, John Wayne; and the young preacher who refused to pray for Stuart Hamblen was the legendary evangelist, Billy Graham.

“Without God, we cannot; without us, God will not.”

For a moment, stop and think of that miraculous catch of fish as reported by the evangelists. The apostles were seasoned fishermen, who knew the times and the seasons for a good catch. However, after slaving one entire night, they had to return disappointed and empty-handed.

There on the shore was Jesus, waiting to greet them. “Friends,” he thoughtfully inquired, “how did you fare?” “Not well at all,” answered Peter, the captain of the crew. “Don’t be upset,” said Jesus, “do as I tell you. Cast your nets to the right of the boat and you will draw a good catch.”

Peter and the other members of the crew were sceptical, in fact cynical, for Jesus was an itinerant preacher, not a fisherman. He was obviously crossing boundaries without any legitimate reason. “However,” agreed Peter somewhat reluctantly, “if you insist, we will do as you say.”

So they cast their nets to the right, as directed by Jesus, and to their stunned disbelief drew in so many fishes, that their nets were literally stretched to breaking point. Unable to cope with the enormous haul, they signalled to their companions on the beach and urged them to come to their help.

On reaching the shore, Peter was so remorseful for having been sceptical and even cynical a little earlier, that he fell on his knees and earnestly pleaded with Jesus, “Lord, please leave me, for I am a sinful man!” “Don’t even think about it, Peter, for from now on you are going to be a fisher of men.” And that is just what he was chosen to be – the Rock on which Christ Jesus would build his Church; that whatever he bound on earth would be bound in heaven, and whatever he loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven; and that the gates of hell would never prevail over it. That was his absolute and guaranteed assurance. In a word, Christ Jesus exceeded the expectations of Peter beyond his wildest imagination.

“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 welcome you.

It is no secret, what God can do.”

 Without God, we cannot; without us, God will not.

 They walked in tandem, each of the ninety-two students filing into the already crowded auditorium. With their flowing maroon gowns and their academic caps, they looked as impressive as any qualified, enterprising and proficient professional.

In the audience, their proud and jubilant parents waited with bated breath. The fathers wore a look of legitimate pride and joy; and their mothers discreetly brushed the tears from their eyes. Regrettably this class of graduates would not begin the evening with a prayer, not by choice, but because of a recent court order prohibiting it.

As rehearsed, the deputed students walked up to the microphone and made their well-prepared inspirational speeches. But there was no mention of divine guidance; nor did anyone ask for blessings on the graduates and their families.

Finally, the last deputed student walked up the microphone and delivered his speech. When he finished the other 91 students walked up to the stage and in an orderly way lined up behind the speaker. At a given signal, all 92 sneezed in unison. Without batting any eyelid, the student at the microphone, serving as the spokesman, said to the audience: “GOD BLESS YOU!”

The audience stood up and exploded into spontaneous and prolonged applause. Their faces were glowing with pride to see the entire graduating class find a unique way to invoke God’s blessings on their future with or without the court’s approval.

This is a true story. It happened in the Eastern Short District High School, Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Without God, we cannot; without us, God will not.

[1] St. Augustine

[2] Anthony D’Mello S.J.