Convicted of Murder (#675)

James was arrested for murder, eventually convicted, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. No one could have been more shocked at this unfolding tragedy than the mom who had watched her son grow up with faith in God, achieve as a straight-A student, and then be appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy. How she continued to embrace the love of the Father when her worst nightmare was coming true, is the story of Ralaine Cunningham's new book, Burden of Promise. Wayne has known her for over 50 years and joins Julie and him to tell her story and the lessons she learned along the way. (In the photo above: left to right: James, Anthony, Hannah, and Ralaine.)

Podcast Notes:
Dateline story on the murder
Buy Burden of Promise on Amazon
Connect with Ralaine by Facebook, or email
If You Can Help Us in Kenya



  1. You called the book “Burden of Proof”, it is titled “Burden of Promise”.

  2. Thank you Ralaine, and Wayne and Julie.
    Love your beautiful voice Ralaine…and so very thankful you took on writing this book and believe it will help many. Dick Mills was SUPER impactful in my early Christian journey…he came to University of MN and I experienced one of my first prophesies spoken to me and probably one of the very few in my life that was intimately accurate in my life! I absolutely loved him.
    I think my friend would benefit from this book and podcast as her husband took his life 6 months ago and her daughters bdays are this week (12 and 14)
    :(…she and I held to promises and she has wrestled with “why give me a promise to believe for and it end like this”. He battled excruciating pain for 9 months with hundreds of doctor appointments and he said he felt no relief.
    On a diff note, mother is a in a book club I hope to recommend this book…I think there are unbelievers there.
    They read Just Mercy after I heard about it on godjourney as well.

  3. As one of 8 other writers who sat with Ralaine week after week, agonizing with her as this story was written, my life was impacted by her very honest journey of pain. As I read the book, I wondered if the God she’d embraced most of her life would still be there at the end of this horrendous ordeal. When I turned the final pages I wasn’t disappointed. Ralaine invites the reader to travel along side her, discovering a God who doesn’t break the “bruised and bent” or extinguish the “smoldering candle”, but instead, One who “bends down and listens.” When we find ourselves on the floor (we all get there, eventually) Jesus is there with us. Though Ralaine is still waiting for a promise, she clings to the God who is closer than a brother. In 2014 I went through the hardest trial of my life and Ralaine was one of the first people I told. And why wouldn’t I? I watched her walk through unbelievable pain and live to tell about it. Her amazing faith and journey became a life-line of encouragment, assuring me I could make it too. This is a great interview!

  4. How can I get ahold of Ralaine. I’m going through this right now with my Son, here I Bakersfield, Ca. I’ve been walking through this with just me and God. I could really use a friend right now.

    • (From Wayne): I’m so sorry for what you are going through, Bonnie, and I’m sorry you’re doing it alone. I know someone in the Bakersfield area who may be available to help. Ralaine’s email is included in the podcast notes, at the end of the blog post.

  5. Several years ago Wayne featured an email I had sent him on a podcast entitled “Seldom Right, Always Confident” about my dying wife and her and her friends pronouncements of faith, “standing on the promises” and hanging onto prophetic words like “this is not unto death”. She died anyway. Ralaine unfortunately has been exposed to the same “well meaning” people that I did. I also share in her angst over the testimonials of God’s goodness that always have happy endings. Even now, five years later I still feel a bit out of sorts when I hear them. I have come to understand that Immanuel, God with us, is a deeper teaching. The tender love of the Father that envelops you while you grieve is quite the experience, and it is a kind of healing, over and over again. So is hope based on speaking out promises and leaning into God’s word? Perhaps. And certainly it was for my wife, whose cancer prognosis was “6 months to 2 years to live” and she lived for 3. But I think it is a bit different for those of us “left behind”, though of course Ralaine’s situation is a bit different. In closing, I’d like to quote something I read from Sarah Young’s “Jesus Today”: “Christian hope is strongly linked to My Presence, which is with you now and throughout eternity…..So the more aware you are of My Presence, the more hopeful you will feel”. God bless you and your family.

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