Ruth Bell Graham quotes, Part 2

Billy's mother often said in exasperation that she "wanted the doctor to give him something to calm him down." (For some reason I just love knowing this!)


A man named Gregg Sawyer helped the Grahams on their property, and it was found that he had a fatal pancreatic disorder. The following passage is a conversation Ruth and Gregg Sawyer had:
One afternoon as they worked on a gate, he began thinking out loud.
"I figure I'm not good enough for Heaven," he said.
She smiled, her hands never stopping as she worked on the rocks, and she told him a true story:
"Well, you know, Mr. Sawyer, when Mr. [Dwight L.] Moody was in Scotland holding meetings, a little boy wanted to get into the building. He was a little urchin. Now when I say a little urchin, I mean his face was dirty, his clothes were ragged. And every door he went to was closed because the place was jammed. He was turned away. Maybe if he'd come in top hat and tails they would have been a little more respectful to him.
"But anyway, the little guy got turned away and turned away until finally he would up at the back door with tears running down his little face. And just about that time a carriage pulled up. People went to help the gentlemen out of the carriage and a big, tall man stepped down. And he noticed this little guy with the dirty face and tears running down and he put his hand on his shoulder and said, 'Sonny, what's wrong?'
"The boy said, 'I want to hear Mr. Moody and it's full up and nobody will let me in.'
"And the big man took his hand and said, 'Come with me."
"When they got to the door it was thrown wide and people bowed him in. The big man found the little boy a seat on the front row. Then he mounted the platform. It was Mr. Moody.
"When we get to Heaven, Mr. Sawyer," she concluded, her eyes filled with light like a sunny day, "that's the only way any of us are going to get in- if Jesus takes us by the hand. None of us are good enough. We're too dirty."

Ruth and Billy raised five children, and she recalls a day when her young daughter GiGi had been especially exasperating. Later that night, after dinner and a Bible story, GiGi asked questions about sin, repentance, and heaven. Following this conversation, they knelt together and prayed.

"Mommy," GiGi said breathlessly, "I feel like a new person."
The next day, this "new person" scampered down Assembly Drive to the Montreat gate and uprooted a dozen water lilies that had just been planted in time for the arrival of the season's first tourists and conferees. Ruth escorted her to the town manager's office with the evidence wilting in her tight little fist, her face pale as she worried aloud that she was going to be thrown into jail (her mother saying nothing to dispel the fear). She confessed and apologized.
That night as Ruth tucked her into bed she asked plaintively, "Mommy, have I been good enough today to go to Heaven?"
"Now how much, " Ruth wrote that night, "should I impress on her Salvation by Grace when really for a child of her disposition one could be tempted to think salvation by works would be more effective on her behavior?"
(I read this excerpt aloud to Mark, and we both got a good chuckle out of this. Isn't that the truth!? :))

{And, because these passages are so lengthy, I'm going to give you the rest in Part 3!}

1 comment:

  1. Love these, esp the want to focus on works versus grace.


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