The old woman lay in her hospital bed, looking out the windows at the beautiful green mountains she loved, yet surrounded by beeping machines. Pneumonia had gripped her lungs once again, and she thought of the joy that it would be to be free from this old body and with her dear Savior, face to face.
The phone by her bed rang. She answered, her voice shaking with the effort it took to speak. “One-of-us,” came the slightly stronger familiar voice of her oldest and dearest friend, “shall we let go of our pact?”
The old woman’s mind was transported back 60 years.
Two bright young pairs of eyes looked each other in the face, saw one another’s hearts. Though they loved their Chinese world dearly, the two American girls were bound by their families’ friendship through their love for Jesus. As close as sisters, the young girls bound themselves to one another even further through a solemn pact – that when one died and went to heaven, the other would as well. Surely God would let them die at the same time.
The old woman’s mind flashed forward. The two young girls ended up having many days, many years even, apart from one another. Both of them married preachers. Both women had five children. But the old woman’s friend moved to Brazil, where her husband traveled to the surrounding countryside, preaching in small country churches the message of the gospel of Jesus. The old woman’s husband, on the other hand, had traveled all over the world, preaching to large audiences the message of the gospel of Jesus. Through hardship and difficulty, joy and pain, the women had remained dear friends. The old woman thought of her many loved ones on earth, and the desire to stay on this earth resurfaced.
“No, One-of-Us, I am not ready to give up our pact!”
A few years later, I was on my way out to Colorado. Stopping at a friend’s home in Kansas for lunch, I saw the news on CNN. The old woman had died.
I called Grandma immediately. Relieved when she answered, I said, “I was just calling to make sure you didn’t keep your pact!”
A year later, Grandma also went home to be with her Lord and with her loved ones who had already gone to be with Him… her dear parents, a sister, her husband, her life-long friends, and people she had ministered to over the course of her long and fruitful life. She set an example for me in so many ways: her trust in the Lord, her prayer-warrior habits, her love of Scripture, her commitment to Jesus, her love for her husband and children and grandchildren, her perseverance in the face of hardship, and her example of friendship.
You may see, in the course of this blog, many references to my grandma or to Ruth Graham. Though I only met Ruth once, she and my grandma have both impacted my life deeply. May you gain from their wisdom as I have!