Ruth Graham Bell: she far surpasses them all...
Re-posted blog from Sat, 16 Jun 2007
It was at the San Jose Billy Graham crusade where I volunteered as a nurse, that I first evidenced the powerful gift of evangelism God had given Billy Graham. Hundreds poured out of the bleachers as I moved forward to stand among the throngs should any need medical help for minor emergencies (fainting, hyperthermia) I will never forget the Hispanic family, a man, a woman and their children, all looking up to the podium at Billy, faces aglow with such hope in their eyes, as Mr. Graham described the new spiritual life they had just received through accepting Jesus Christ.
In 1983 again I attended the Sacramento Crusade, this time I sat in the bleachers next to my Dad. Billy Graham concluded his message with an invitation of salvation, as he always does. The music began floating through the stadium, "Just as I am," and my Dad turned to me and said, "I'm going up." I went blank, having absolutely no expectation or idea...that he would want to go up. "Do you want me to go with you?" I asked "No, I'll go myself," he said. I realized more than ever that God chose Billy because "he received the Word with power, through the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction", as the apostle Paul put it describing effective believers in the New Testament.
After the crusade I perused the tables and one book caught my eye. It was by Ruth Graham Bell. I didn't even know she was a poet, but immediately I loved, "Sitting by my Laughing Fire." I was touched by the simplicity and power of her words. Many a evening years following the Crusade I would pick her book out of my book basket, sometimes in winter by the fireplace, and read it like I was having a cup of tea on the sofa.
I marveled at the humility and virtue of the woman chosen to be the wife of one of our greatest evangelists, and her support and faithful love (as he fulfilled the Great Commission). So much of their marriage was spent apart. She was born in China, the daughter of missionaries. She was born and bred to count the cost of the cross, and display the sacrificial love of Christ to all of us, more than most, even from her earliest years. She was destined to be the "one" for Billy Graham from her inception. It is a glorious testimony to the power of a Godly match and marriage for the world to see.
Although Ruth vowed to never marry, after their first date she told God it would be an honor to serve him as Billy Graham's wife. They married in 1943.
Larry Ross, the spokesman for Billy Graham released this statement from Billy, "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."
Said daughter Anne Graham Lotz: "Without Ruth Graham, there wouldn't have been a Billy Graham." (*Los Angeles Times, Jocelyn Stewart)
We witness through Ruth's life, a bride who gives up her life for the bridegroom, for Billy, but really...for Jesus. Her relationship not only with Billy, but with her Savior, is rare and amazing. As she departs we evidence the Word written on her heart, and the scripture of Proverbs 31:29 fulfilled, "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."