Safe Place with Ruth Graham

We are passed “lambing season” but lamb has been on my mind… As a matter of fact, I am serving lamb tonight for dinner. I enjoy a tender piece of lamb with mint sauce once in a while.

This week I served on jury duty. I didn’t really want to go and thought to ask my doctor to write a letter to have me dismissed but she died suddenly. I am very sad about her passing. She was a remarkable woman and I lost not only a doctor but a friend. Our whole community is saddened by her death.

She was bron in this community and lived here all her life with some years in Richmond while at medical school and setting up an E.R. there. Wonderful lady who forged her own way; marched to her own drum.  She was not one to suffer fools gladly. I had great admiration for her.

When I’d go see her she would tell me fascinating stories about her family and the folks in our town. She knew everybody. She was a horsewoman. She loved her horses. When she could no longer ride due to several serious accidents and her age, she took pleasure in breeding horses and bred some fine ones.

When she died I remembered conversations with her about faith, God, church. She wasn’t one for organized religion. Her church was nature. And I believe you can certainly commune with God while out in nature. But I don’t think it is a substitute for gathering with other believers in corporate worship. We had good conversations but I never looked her in the eye and asked if she knew Christ personally. I know she had religious training. But was there ever a time when she asked Jesus to be her Savior? I didn’t know – I don’t know.

I have had five deaths this summer. One from cancer. His sweet wife reported he gave a “thumbs up” to his docs and had lipstick kisses all over his face as he went to heaven!

The man who cared for my shrubs and tress dropped dead – apparently, a heart attack. I liked him a lot. He was a good country boy who knew about trees and shrubs – better than most. We’d stand in the yard and talk when he came but I never talked to him about Jesus. I went to his “viewing” and got the sense that he did know Jesus. His wife wrote me a note telling me she was sure she’d see him in heaven because of Jesus.

Then my dear friend’s former husband was burned in his apartment fire. They used to spend Thanksgiving with us…we had good conversations. He was well-read. He was compassionate. But I never confronted him with the need to make a clear decision for Christ. His daughter had to make the dreadful decision to take him off of life-support. I texted my friend to be sure of the condition of this soul. They did.

The father of the young woman I visit each week in jail died suddenly. I never met him. She was not allowed to go to the funeral. Sad. But I did talk to her specifically about the need to make a clear decision for Christ. She said she had.

I think I am reticent to talk to people boldly because I think that’s what they expect me to do since they know of my family. I assume they are defensive. I am rarely bold. I fear offending.

Now…back to jury duty…

I hoped I would not be selected…but I was.

Lawyers are paid by the word, I believe! They told us. Then they told us what they told us. Then they told us again. They showed us. Then they showed us what they showed us. Then they did id again. So tedious!

We jurors were tired of it. And in the end we felt the prosecutor over-charged the person. We could not convict on the felony charge and that was our only option. So, we decided “not guilty”. We all knew the person was guilty of a multitude of different crimes but not the felony. The law is very precise.

As jurors we were an amiable bunch. No loud-mouthed jerks or hot-dogs. As we finished one made a comment about “The big Man Upstairs”. I stepped out in front of the whole bunch and said, “Who are you talking about?” He said, “You know the Big Man Upstairs”. I pressed him asking who he meant. He finally said, “God.” I continued and asked, “What is His name.?” He replied “Jesus.” I then asked, “And what did He do for you?” He said, “He died on the Cross.” I said, “Yes. And we make a decision for Him now – not when we get to heaven.”

Then someone in the back piped up and said, “Tell them who you are.” Oh dear. I turned red. But that one volunteered to say I was Billy Graham’s daughter. The man I “drilled” couldn’t believe – he said he loved my father and came over and gave me a big hug! Then one identified himself as a pastor. (I immediately, sensed something about him that morning. He had a presence about him.) Several identified the churches they attended.

Why in the world did speak up so boldly? That is so not natural for me! I have to believe all those deaths made me think that I have to bring people to a place of decision. We never know if they’ll ever have another opportunity.

Back to Lambs…I read this morning in my devotions, “Your lamb shall be without blemish…and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it…and when I see the blood, I will passover you.” (Ex. 12:5-7, 13)

And, I Corinthians 5:7, “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.”

He went to the Cross for me. Can I not speak boldly, and appropriately, about Him? Can you?




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