Remembering Ruth Bell Graham

 

Over the past several months I have had the privilege of working on a television program about a person who has had a tremendous impact on my life…Ruth Bell Graham.As most of you probably know Ruth Graham passed away on June 14th of this year after many years of declining health.  I had the privilege of working behind the scenes at her memorial service on June 16, 2007 at Anderson Auditorium on the campus of Montreat College in Montreat, North Carolina. Fortunately, my job as a production assistant to our media crew was complete by the time the service started, so I actually got to sit in the congregation for the service.  It was a preface to the work I would be involved in the ensuing months.  Shortly after her passing the television department at the B.G.E.A. (where I’m employed) began work on a tribute program scheduled to air this month.  My job was transcribing or securing transcripts of many, many interviews and television programs on which Ruth appeared.  I had always admired Ruth even from my childhood days, but transcript after transcript of candid interviews only endeared her to me more.  There was a painful part of this for me…even more painful than knowing that she had passed from this Earth.  I felt that I wasn’t worthy of standing in her shadow.  This was a lady who raised five children alone on a mountaintop while her husband was out evangelizing the world, and she did it with such grace and joy! It wasn’t that she never struggled (if you watch the program you’ll know that she did), but she was not afraid of what life threw at her.  Growing up in war-torn China had toughened her to life’s hard edges, but it did not make her callous or hard. She somehow developed a zest for life and a love for God that few of us will ever experience this side of eternity. There were days after transcribing interviews about her that I felt like a failure of a woman.  It seems that sometimes I’m the opposite of Ruth…feeling sorry for myself, frustrated, and complaining. I want to be like her! Many times I wished I could sit down with her personally and ask her what her magic secret was.  However, I know what her secret was it was a undying faith in Jesus Christ as her father.  When her husband was absent He was her husband. When her health declined He was her comfort. When she questioned her lot in life He was her answer.  As modern-day Christians we all want a magic pill to solve everything. The truth is…there is no magic pill, but there is a person who walks with us through everything good and bad, and that’s Jesus Christ.  Ruth knew that in good times and bad times Jesus was with her.  That was the secret of her joy.  I wish I had posted this earlier as the telecasts are coming to an end today, but visit the Billy Graham Evangelistic Website. https://www.billygraham.org/tv_index.asp Programs are available for purchase for $16.95. I have a feeling that this program will air again (although I don’t know for sure). It is well worth the price, and all proceeds go the B.G.E.A. ministries.  I absolutely love the inscription on Ruth’s tombstone at her resting place at the Billy Graham Library here in Charlotte…“End of Construction. Thank you for your Patience.”

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