BILLY GRAHAM TRIBUTE TO RUTH GRAHAM
“My wife Ruth was the most incredible woman I have ever known. Whenever I was asked to name the finest Christian I ever met, I always replied, “My wife, Ruth.” She was a spiritual giant, whose unparalleled knowledge of the Bible and commitment to prayer were a challenge and inspiration to everyone who knew her. My favorite photograph shows her sitting on our front porch at sunrise, quietly reading her Bible and sipping coffee – her daily routine for many years. A night never went by, when we were together, without us holding hands and praying before we went to sleep.
Ruth also was a wonderful mother. Her task wasn’t easy since I was away from home so much, but she handled our children with both great love and wise discipline. She felt it was her calling, and without her willingness to bear the major responsibility for raising our children, my work simply would not have been possible. She spent hours every week teaching them the Bible and praying with each of them. She also was full of fun, always ready to play a joke on someone. Our children all knew that life was never dull with Ruth around!
She was committed also to her church and her community. She was a devout churchwoman who loved her Presbyterian heritage, which came from her parents who were medical missionaries in China. She was friends with several presidents’ wives and had been received on occasion by Queen Elizabeth II, but whenever she heard of anyone in our community who had a need, she always was there to help with food or flowers or in other ways. Many people went to her for advice and counsel, or just to pray with her, and she was a close friend to the wives of many associates.
Ruth loved sports and was quite athletic, although she rarely played athletic games herself. Years ago she was fixing a swing for some of our grandchildren, and when she climbed the tree to test the swing, it broke and she fell about fifteen feet. She fractured several bones (including a crushed vertebra), and was never quite the same physically after that. For years she suffered severe back pain and was hospitalized here in Asheville and at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester because of this and other ailments. She was a gentle, smiling, and kind person whose primary goal was to live for Christ and reflect His love. In her last days she talked repeatedly of Heaven, and although I will miss her more than I can possibly say, I rejoice that some day soon we will be reunited in the presence of the Lord she loved and served so faithfully.”
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