A Young Wife Passes Away

Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered. And being made perfect He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.
(Hebrews 5:8-9).

Even so it was with God's Servant and Prophet to this Age - He would learn obedience through the things which he suffered. When God was finish with him, that little bundle of clay called William Branham would be ready for The Master's Hands, to be conformed to His will.

A Woman Called "Hope"

She was the first child of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brumback. Born on July 16, 1913, she was destined to become the wife of a young Prophet. On Friday, June 22, 1934, almost 21 years later she married William M. Branham, then, a fledgling Baptist preacher of Twenty-five. Though lacking greatly in material goods, their life together was complete and happy. Little did either of them know what lay in the not-to-distant future.

Presented With A Choice

They had been married but a short time when Brother Branham first encountered Pentecostal People and the Gifts of the Spirit. At the time he was returning home from another trip when he came upon this Camp-meeting. He had noticed that there were people there from many different States. It was here that he first saw the Gifts of the Spirit manifested. This was entirely new to his Baptist background.

During one of the services ALL preachers were asked to come to the pulpit and identify themselves. At the next service, the Brother in charge of the meetings, came to the pulpit and announced, "A preacher crossed this platform the other night and idenitified himself as William Branham from Jeffersonville, Indiana. We want him to bring this morning's Message." Brother Branham didn't respond. After several calls from the pulpit for William Branham to come forward, a colored Brother sitting next to him, spoke up: "Here he is! Here he is!"

He humbly made his way to the pulpit. He opened his Bible to the story of "The rich man and Lazarus". He entitled his message "And He Cried". It was simple but it made a great impression on the people. At the end of the service he received many invitations to preach in faraway places. God was leading His young Prophet one step at a time and this step would be important in the furtherance (not of any Pentecostal movement) but of the ministry which God would manifest through him. His obedience would be absolutely necessary.

Brother Branham was elated as he made his way home from these meetings. Exuberantly he told Sister Hope about the People, the Meetings, and the invitations to preach. She shared his joy and enthusiasm and expressed her willingness to go with him even tho her mother adamantly disapproved. BUT many of the people he shared his experience with, attempted to dampen his enthusiasm and discourage him from linking up with "that Pentecostal trash," as they put it, saying it was sure to end in failure.

Sister Hope had made her choice - she would go! The young Prophet also made his choice - a choice which he would regret for the rest of his days. He succumbed to the pressure of others. By his own admission he stated that 'listening to these people instead of God was the greatest mistake he ever made'. All the invitations to preach were refused. Brother Branham failed to consider the consequences of his decision - This he would learn soon.

Blessings, Then Chastisement

Just before William Branham would reap what he had sown, God blessed him and Hope with two children. On Friday, September 13, 1935, Hope gave birth to a son. The named him Billy Paul. Thirteen months later, on Tuseday, October 27, 1936, they were blessed with a dauther, Sharon Rose, whose name was taken from the Rose of Sharon, Christ. BUT, the days of joy were now numbered for this young prophet who had failed to follow God's leadership almost three years previous. He would now learn, the hard way that "It's always best to obey."

The Lord would touch William Branham as He has touch many of His Prophets all down through the ages - and that touch would leave a deep and lasting impression on him. Just one month after the birth of his daughter, Sharon Rose, his father passed away. Then came the 1937 Ohio River flood and as it's waters were receding, with it a part of Brother Branham's life also receded - God would touch the "desire of his eye", even his wife, Hope.

Just prior the the start of the storms that produced the 1937 Ohio Flood, Sister Hope had contracted a serious lung infection while shopping across the river at Louisville. Because of this circumstance, his whole attention and interest was centered on her recovery. But now news reached them, as well as the other inhabitants of the town, that the crest of the flood was slowly moving downstream, and to all appearances the softened levees could not take much more. It appeared that Jeffersonville was doomed; still many of the people stayed on.

Remember, it was six months previous that William Branham had prophesied to his Church congregation that he saw a Angel come down from heaven with a large measuring rod and measured 22 feet of water on Spring street in Jeffersonville. Now the reality of his prophecy was dawning - no doubt those who laughed at the prophecy, now watched in fear as the flood waters began to rise.

As night fell, William Branham was on duty, working with the rescue squad as they patrolled the angry waters of the rising river. At midnight their worst fears were realized. The whistles began to blow, warning everyone to leave the city. Sirens at the fire stations screamed out into the night. The Branham family, and thousands of others were forced to flee for their lives.

The wife, being seriously ill and in no condition to be taken out into the storm, had to be removed to a temporary hospital set up by the government, which was located on higher ground. The exposure resulted in both of their babies becoming seriously ill with pneumonia. The father took them to the hospital also, where they were taken care of on hastily improvised beds, where scores of other victims were awaiting the attention of the overworked staff. It was a terribly poor place for a hospital, and to make matters worse the doors kept swinging back and forth; people were rushing in and out, crying hysterically, their homes having been swept away in the strong current.

Much as he wanted to stay by his loved ones, the young minister realized that he had a responsibility to go back and assist the rescue squad which had been working frantically night and day. Tragedy was being enacted at many points as the waters relentlessly poured through the city and out over the countryside.

He was told to go to a certain street where the water had shaken the houses from their foundations. Maneuvering his boat down through the raging waters of this area, the young minister's attention was diverted to a pitiful scene. A mother and her children, standing on the upstairs porch of a house, were waving frantically, and calling to him for help. He had lived on the river practically all his life, and thought perhaps he could help rescue the woman, even if it meant risking his own life for her and her little children. He started toward the house. After getting them all into the boat, the lady almost fainted... She kept moaning something about her baby. He thought she had left her baby in the house. So after I had gotten them safely on high ground, he tried to go back. But it was too late; the water was coming too fast now, and he got caught in the current and was losing control of his boat

One thing after another crowded into his mind. He thought of how he had tried to live a good Christian life, preach the word and do the best he knew how, BUT now it seemed that everything was against him. And aginst him it was - still, God was not finished with His Servant. Beyond the current of natural waters, William Branham was being caught in the rough current of the waters of life.

In the rushing waters of the Ohio River that day, the Grace of God came on the scene and Brother Branham was able to finally get his boat under control and make it to shore safely. It had been four hours since he left Hope at the Government Hospital that day. He attempted to make his way back, but upon arriving found that the water had broken in behind the building and all the people (including Hope) had to be evacuated. No one could give him any information concerning where she was taken.

Hope! Where Are You?

He sought out one person after another inquiring about the location of the Hospital's patients. Finally, an officer told him they had been sent out on a train that was going toward Charlestown, a city about 12 miles above Jeffersonville. Leaving for Charlstown, he had gone only a short distance when he was stopped by the waters of a creek that had overflowed its banks, making about five miles of swift rushing water between there and Charlestown. A number of farmers' homes had been washed away.

Then a frightening thought struck the young Prophet - The train with the Hospital Patients had to pass this way and maybe the train was swept off the tracks by the swift moving waters. Despair began to sweep over this young man who, in a few more days would celebrate his third wedding anniversary, and NOW the "desire of his eye" could not be found. He didn't know if she was living or dead. The touch of God in his life would indeed be "deep and lasting".

Making his way around the Flood waters, inquiring as he went, he heard that the train DID make it through. He borrowed a speedboat and tried to make it through to Charlestown but he couldn't make it. The waters had pinned him (and several friends) in and they were marooned for almost two weeks in a place called Fort Fulton. His concern began to deepen. There was still no word on the whereabouts of his wife, Hope and his children. In all this, God kept dealing with Brother Branham.

Eventually the waters receded enough for him to get through in his truck. His search resumed again in Charlestown. No one there knew anything about a train coming in, or had heard of anyone by the name of Branham. Heartsick and burdened, he began walking down the street, not knowing what to do or where to go. It was then that an old friend, Mr. Hay, walked up to him. He threw his arms around Brother Branham and trying to encourage him, he said, "Billy, we'll find them somewhere!"

They went down to the office of the train dispatcher and inquired when the train had come through, and where it had gone; but the dispatcher could given him any specific information. But, An engineer standing nearby spoke up and said, "Oh, I remember that case. A mother with two little sick babies. We put them off at Columbus. But, Young man, you can't possibly get up there, as the waters have all trains cut off."

But he was determined to find her anyway. He just started walking down the road, crying, with his hat in his hands. But he hadn't been walking long when a car pulled up beside him, and the voice of a good friend spoke saying, "Billy Branham! Get in. I believe you are looking for your wife and babies! They're at Columbus in the hospital." This information, the young preacher already knew, but what his friend said next wasn't what he wanted hear: "Your wife is nearly dead." Now, He was even more desparate to get to Columbus

Through a maze of back lanes and roads, by-passing the flood waters, his friend got him into Columbus that night. His desperate concern for Hope had overcome the weariness and exhaustion which was taking it's toll on his body. Looking for the 'desire of his eye', He rushed through the doors of the Baptist Church which was being used as a Hospital, screaming her name - Hope! Hope! Hope!

There, he found her. She was almost gone! He was told that his children were at his mother-in-law's home. Kneeling down by the side of the cot where Hope was lying, he looked into those dark eyes that so attracted him just over five years ago. Then they looked youthful and vibrant; But, now, they expressed intense suffering. Her face was pale and her body thin. Taking her hand in his, William Branham tried to pray but no answer came.

Having given up all hope of survival, Dr. Adair gave Brother Branham permission to take Hope and the babies home. With a heavy heart he took them home, trying to make things as comfortable as possible for them. He fought a hard battle to save his young wife. He was going hundreds of dollars in debt but no specialist could do anything for her. It was just useless; she was too far gone. Then came the day when he had no choice but to return Hope to the Hospital for treatment. X-rays found tuberculosis creeping deeper and deeper into her lungs.

Just a few days later while he was at work, Brother Branham received word from the Hospital saying, "If you want to see your wife alive, you'd better come now!" In a few minutes he was walking down the hallway of the Hospital. Dr. Sam Adair, a close personal friend, met him in the hallway and informed him that Hope was already gone. Struggling to hold himself together, Brother Branham, accompanied by a nurse, went in to see Hope.

His Wife Is "Escorted" Into Glory

As he approached the cot he felt also that she had already passed on. The sheet was pulled up over her face. Pulling the sheet back, he looked on a shadow of what was his beautiful bride. In despair and desparation he took her in his arms, begging her to answer him. He cried out, "Oh, God, please let her speak to me once more." She was already crossing over the line... BUT suddenly she turned to look back at him. She opened those lovely, soft brown eyes and tried to raise her arms to embrace him, but she was too weak.

With all the strength she could collect, she made this startling statement: ""I was almost home. Why did you call me? I was being escorted Home by Heavenly Beings" Then she began to tell him about the paradise that he had called her from. She studied a moment and then said, "There are two or three things I want you to know." Weakly whispering she told Brother Branham of the time that she had asked him to buy some chiffon stockings for her. He had bought rayon - not knowing the difference. Not wanting to embarass him, she gave them to his mother and bought the right kind herself. In her dying hour she wanted to make it right.

Her life was slowly ebbing away, but there were things that she just want to tell her husband of only three years. She said, "You remember the rifle you wanted to buy in Louisville and we couldn't afford it? I've been saving my nickels and dimes to buy it for you. Its just about over for me, but when you get home you'll find the money lying under a paper on top of the old sideboard."

Brother Branham fought hard to keep back the tears. But, exactly as she had said, he found that six or seven dollars she had been putting back all that time for that rifle. According to her request, he bought the rifle and it hangs today in the William Branham Memorial as a testimony of the love and kindness of a faithful wife.

Her Last Words
(Remembering A Wrong Choice)

She whispered, "Billy", Do you know where we made our mistake?" Kneeling down beside her Brother Branham acknowledged, "Yes, Sweetheart, I do."

She said, "We should have never listened to Mama. Them people were right. Promise me that you'll go to them people and raise my children like that."

Then she nearly broke his heart when she said:

"Promise me that you'll not stay single. Marry some good, Christian girl to raise my children."

Turning to the nurse she said, "I hope you will have as good a husband as I have had."

Looking back to me she said, "Bill, God is going to use you."

With trembling voice, Brother Branham said, "Darling. when you get up to the New Jerusalem, look for the east side of the gate and start calling my name. When you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Paul and Stephen and all of them coming up, I'll be there, Darling."

She weakly pulled him close to her , kissed him good-bye... Then she went to be with God. The date was July 22nd. 1937, about one month after their third wedding anniversary.

Later, Brother Branham exhorted the people with these words:

Friends, let these things be for your education. Let my mistakes result in your blessing.

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