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Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving is always, should always, be a time to give glory to God by recognizing the good things that he has done for us. This Thanksgiving God received his glory in an unexpected and really hard way.

Some of you might know that Beth’s grandma, Julianna Rayburn, was diagnosed with very aggressive cancer about 6 weeks ago. Little did we know just how aggressive it was.

We knew that we needed to visit soon, we knew that the doctors could not promise how well she would be doing this Christmas, so we took the Thanksgiving week to travel to Texas and spend time in Waco with Grandma.

There is much to be said, much that shall be said, but for now it suffices to say that God was perfect in his timing because Grandma passed away Saturday, November 25, two days after Thanksgiving, two days after her 78th birthday, having been married to one of the most incredible, loving, devoted, godly husbands that I have ever had the pleasure to know and love.

In my studies of church history I have learned a number of things about a group of Christians known as the Puritans. One of the most precious and thought provoking came as I read Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions. The first few times I read through the list of 71 resolutions Edwards made for how he wished to live his life to the glory of God, I was struck by the strange frequency of his mentioning his own death.

As I thought about this reoccurring theme I was struck with a challenge and a question. The challenge: To live and die in such a way that it might be said that I died well…that I found the gospel precious to the very end. The question…how do I do that? And, what does it look like?

Over time, I came up with some answers to my questions and, I think, made positive ground fitting to the challenge. But it was not until this past Thanksgiving that I was able to witness with my own eyes what it was to finish well.

Grandma said many precious things as we spoke to her in the nursing home and, before she passed, in her own home. Just one of the most meaningful to me was when I asked her what she had been thinking about the most over the past few days. And this sweet, beautiful, faithful, frail, dying woman whose body was, literally, riddled with a cancer that was ravaging her body said to me:

“How good the Lord is”

Wow. Praise God for Grandma’s faithful finish. Cancer, pain, and death did not blind her to the goodness of God. My prayer is that, regardless of the hardship that the Lord has for me and my family, that we would follow in the footsteps of Grandma.

Should you be so courageous as to pray that very same prayer for yourself, when you pray pray also for her wonderful husband of 59 years. The Lord saw it fit to bring Grandma through the trial of cancer and, having fought that battle with his bride, Grandpap must endure also the trial of a deep loneliness that I can only begin to fathom as a husband myself of but 18 months. Pray for Everette Rayburn, Grandpap loved his wife so dearly; pray that he would love his Jesus all the more in her absence; pray that God would give him strength in his sorrow, that he would say in the midst of the pain:

“How good the Lord is”

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Mama K
    December 6, 2006 at 6:40 pm

    Lee, thanks so much for the wonderful tribute to Mom and how she lived and died for the Lord. I must agree that I have come away from watching her pass into eternity with Christ with a much deeper appreciation for this gift of marriage that God has given us. I still remember how Dad held her hand and whispered to her that he would be by her side to the end. And I am amazed at her sacrificial love for the man God had given her. Even as her own body was prespiring with the life-death struggle going on in her body, she asked that the ceiling fan be turned off because Dad was cold natured. I Praise God for his goodness in all things

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