Words fail to express my sadness this evening on learning of the death one of the most quietly influential women of the twentieth century, certainly of my lifetime. Ruth Bell Graham died after a long illness, but did not, as FOX News reported on its website, "succumb" to illness. Tonight she proves that death was not the victor as she is ushered into the presence of the One to whom she gave her life and who gave His life for her.
I've mentioned many times how deeply Mrs. Graham's poetry has affected me. On Mother's Day, 1940, she wrote a poem in honor of her mother and added a postscript on the day her mother went to be with the Lord. I share the poem here in honor of the author...today the postscript becomes even more meaningful.
As the portrait is unconscious
of the master artist's touch,
unaware of growing beauty,
unaware of changing much,
so you have not guessed His working
in your life throughout each year,
have not seen the growing beauty
have not sensed it, Mother dear.
We have seen and marveled greatly
at the Master Artist's skill,
marveled at the lovely picture
daily growing lovelier still;
watched His brush strokes
change each feature
to a likeness of His face,
till in you we see the Master,
feel His presence, glimpse His grace;
pray the fragrance of His presence
may through you seem doubly sweet,
till your years on earth are ended
and the portrait is complete.
Mother's Day, 1940
Portrait completed, November 8, 1974
(from Sitting by My Laughing Fire, Ruth Bell Graham, 1977)
Another portrait completed, June 14, 2007