Joy Christian Radio – a blessing to be sure, but a heavy burden, too.

Most of our listeners and supporters don’t have a clue how huge the task is to undertake the operations and raising of support for a nonprofit Christian Radio operation such as ours. I’ve often said that Joy Christian Radio is the “toughest job we could ever love!” It is just that. The mountain tops of those days when people are responding to God’s urging them to get closer and hearing the testimonies of our listeners who call crying to tell us what that song meant to them or how much that comment that was made touched their hearts…..these are the highest, most blessed mountain tops I’ve ever been on in my entire life!

However, those mountain tops are not in front of us every day that passes. And, when we do find ourselves down in those valleys, they are usually the darkest, scariest and most discouraging valleys we’ve ever been through in my life, too. During these dark and discouraging times, I’ve found it necessary and helpful to remember what we experienced while we were in the light! That alone is where we draw the strength to keep going.

One of the darkest valleys we’ve been through in our 18+ year history was when we closed our Tullahoma, TN radio station back in May of this year. We had 7 years of the absolute best ministry we’ve ever experienced, along with making friends with some people who are as close as our own families. So, when it became apparent that our future was elsewhere; needless to say, I fought back. OK, I’ll admit it. I got in a fight with God about it! Ever do that? Yes, I know better. He always wins, and in the end, His will is always better than mine. I knew all of that, but the pain of thinking about leaving Tullahoma and turning the station there over to someone else blinded me with the pain of the whole thing. Leaving Tennessee was as painful to us as losing an immediate family member. Part of us died that last day on the air there. Overwhelmed seems like such a small word compared to what we felt that day. But, I’m happy to say that God is bigger than the biggest overwhelming mountain in the world! He alone helped us through those days.

Most of the response we got from our faithful listeners and supporters was positive and supportive, but very sad. A couple of people got angry that we didn’t let them say “goodbye,” however, there was no way we could do that; under the circumstances. We barely got to say goodbye ourselves because we continued to seek ways to not have to say goodbye until the 11th hour; right up to the 59th minute! Yes, we had hope (fleeting, though it was) even over the last weekend we operated the station to pull it out of disaster; but that, too fell through. There was one man from the area who apparently misunderstood the whole thing. He was elderly and a supporter whom we loved. He called me, balled me out for over an hour and I finally told him goodbye and hung up after he’d brought me to tears several times during the conversation. He never once thought about what this did to US; just what it did to him and his friends. We’ve long since forgiven and forgotten, but the pain of the injury of that call still hurts. God will heal it….in time.

So, now, we are in that large station we tried so hard to get, and BECAUSE of the “swap” of the Tullahoma station rather than the purchase of the Quitman station, we are in good shape financially! It’s a good thing we are! Had we gone in debt, as we’d planned; followed by the massive drop-off of support in Tullahoma that happened; and IN ADDITION opened a new startup station in Mississippi….well, let’s just say, it would have been a complete disaster by now! Unbeknownst to us at the time, God, quite literally, has delivered us from a hurricane that He knew we could never survive! God’s deliverance is amazing! Sometimes, we don’t see how He will do it. But, HE ALWAYS DOES! In our case, He took us down a road we never intended to go down, but now, we see that His will (as it always is) was much better than my plans!

So, how about you? Are you in a storm and think you’ll be blown away? Do you trust God? I mean REALLY, FULLY trust Him? Are you willing to take His Hand, eyes fully on Him and not the storm, and just FOLLOW His every step? If not, there is your problem! Just let go of whatever holds you back from God and embrace Him fully! You will NOT regret it! And, you’ll be amazed how He blesses you for your faithfulness! Like our situation, not everyone will understand why you do what you do, but God knows, and He is the only One that matters anyway!

Trust God, Know Peace. Don’t Trust God, Never Have Peace!

Ed Smith

Joy Christian Radio

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