Ruth Bell Graham: A Legacy of Love
This devotional was written by Jim Burns
“Fear not tomorrow.
God is already there.”
There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear.
— 1 John 4:18
The wall in front of the desk in her office was crowded with memories. There were photos of loved ones and cherished friends . . . two crosses constructed with care out of popsicle sticks by one of her sons and a playmate . . . even a crown of thorns crafted by a Muslim policeman who presented it to her during a visit to the Mount of Olives 50 years earlier.
But the sign in the middle of the mementos shared a message of inspiration and trust that will be her legacy. It read simply, “Fear not tomorrow. God is already there.”
On Thursday June 14, 2007, that message of hope and faith became a reality for Ruth Bell Graham.
I have had the privilege of experiencing a bit of the Graham family legacy through frequent visits with her youngest daughter, also named Ruth. As the younger Ruth’s friendship with HomeWord has grown over the years, we’ve enjoyed many hours together reflecting on the “legacy of love” her mother instilled in each of her five children. The press may remember how Mrs. Graham “gave up her dreams of being a missionary,” but in all honesty, she knew exactly which “mission field” was most important to her – the one in Little Piney Cove.
The more I have come to know Ruth Graham, the more I appreciate how her mom really set the tone for authentic love to be shown in their home. Her irresistible optimism saw the family through the kind of struggles that have been known to fracture families and scar souls. “Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes,” she used to say.
The Graham family has experienced their fair share of “common” misfortunes over the years, but each incident was approached with prayer, genuine love and concern . . . and the absence of fear. And I’m sure that’s how the family is responding in light of this latest “graduation” to eternity. No fear – just fellowship, rejoicing in the fact that the woman who spent countless nights on her knees for her children (many of them in extreme pain) is now resting in the arms of her Savior and Lord.
The legacy of Ruth Bell Graham lives on in the hearts of her husband, her children and grandchildren . . . and the millions of others like me who feel like we’re a part of her family as well. Her life stands as a testimony to the power of a parent who is willing to raise her children by the principles set out in the Shemah – focused on faith and free from fear.