‘He’s Everything to Me’

By Susie Hess as told to Joyce Grothmann   •   January 24, 2005

When I was about 10 years old, my parents became Christians. Up to that time we had been a church-going family—but not a Christian one. Shortly after my parents’ conversions, they took our family to a theater in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to see the World Wide Pictures film The Restless Ones. At the end of the movie, someone gave an invitation to receive Christ, and Dad asked me, “Do you want to go down?”

I remember thinking, “But I am a Christian!” However, as a counselor talked to me I understood for the first time that I was a sinner and that God had sent Jesus to pay the penalty for my sins. Going to church, or even having Christian parents, didn’t make me a Christian. That day I committed my life to Christ.

The counselor gave me a little book that I have kept to this day. It includes the Gospel of John and four lessons to help with my spiritual growth. I filled out each lesson and sent it in. I loved that little book.

The movie featured a song, “He’s Everything to Me” by Ralph Carmichael. It still gives me goose bumps when I think of it. It expresses what happened in my heart and life:

Now He walks beside me day by day,/ Ever watching o’er me lest I stray,/ Helping me to find that narrow way– / He’s everything to me.

God has used Billy Graham as a strong influence for spiritual growth. When I went to college, I began to have serious questions about life and faith and doctrine, but someone gave me a copy of the book “Day by Day With Billy Graham.” The daily readings were easy to understand and provided answers to my questions. The book helped to establish me in the basics of my Christian faith.

When my mother died of cancer in 1974, I felt tremendous loss and was looking for a source of understanding and comfort. My father encouraged me to go to L’Abri, an international Christian community and study center in Switzerland. He had been there earlier and, as an intellectual, had found satisfaction sitting under the teaching of Francis Schaeffer.

In the library at L’Abri, I came across a biography of Billy Graham. Once again, God used him to minister to my needs. Learning how God accomplished His purpose in Billy Graham’s life assured me that God would do the same for me.

A few years ago, God impressed on my heart the desire to serve Him by helping others. I had the opportunity to organize a women’s ministry called Mercy Ministries, which provides meals for people who are sick or who have had surgery, a death in the family or any other difficult circumstance. I enlisted the help of four team captains. Together we recruited 28 women for Mercy Ministries and divided them into four teams. They prepare the majority of the meals at the time of need, and they deliver the meals hot and ready to eat.

Not only does this ministry give me an opportunity to serve, but my children are helping with the cooking and learning at an early age the importance of serving Christ in a tangible way. Together my wonderful husband, Ted, and I seek to teach our children the disciplines of the Christian life.

I am so thankful to the Lord for Billy Graham’s faithful ministry. The song that so stirs my heart every time I think of it describes my feelings well: God really is “everything to me”!

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