June 16, 2007

Ruth Graham--A National Treasure

The wife of the most famous and one might argue--successful evangelist known to man has received her reward. Ruth Grahm was 87 years old when she shed her aged, frail, and aching mortal body in exchange for the glory of God. "To live is Christ--to die is GAIN." Paul wrote. That sums up Ruth's life pretty thoroughly.

Dr. Graham stated on his wife's passing, "Ruth was my life partner, and we were called by God as a team. No one else could have borne the load that she carried. She was a vital and integral part of our ministry, and my work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support." A lot of men say those kinds of things about their wives because it's expected. But as a pastor, I KNOW Dr. Graham meant it. Our ministries truly could not go forth with any kind of impact or integrity were it not for the Christ-like sacrifices minister's wives make their whole life long.

Mrs. Graham was left pretty much to be a single parent during the children's formative years. While Billy Graham was evangelizing the world, Mrs. Graham was rearing their brood. Had she not understood and believed that her role in the ministry was absolutely vital to the Good News going forth through the lips of her husband, their marriage and their ministry would have been drastically different. But missions was in her genes.

Graham was born on the mission field where the Chinese Christians, to whom her parents ministered, were so full of joy that they made a lasting impression. Compared to the unbelieving Chinese around her, the Christian Chinese beamed. Ruth Graham truly was the wind beneath her husband's wings.

Death comes to us all but Mrs. Graham's perspective is memorable.

She said--“We look on death as a tragedy, and we grieve with the family and friends, but we don’t stop to think that God probably is not grieving,” she said. “I wonder if He’s excited when one of his children is coming home - it’s a not a stranger coming home, it’s a loved child.”

Indeed, the hope of Jesus Christ is not mere fancy; it is not something contrived by the weak who need a crutch. Those who know the Savior, know what life is and what it isn't.

May we all, who wear the name of Jesus, be as faithful as this national treasure.


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