The following is a guest post from my mom, Karen Meadows. I’m so glad she finally agreed to write something for this blog!
For the past 49 years, this date has been indelibly inscribed in my mind. As I am going over our study of Ruth in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) this week, I was struck by how fitting it is that we are studying this particular book at this precise date this week. It was on this day in 1969 that my husband, Thomas, died in a motor vehicle accident on his way to work. So, studying the life of Ruth really hits home to me.
As I reflect over these years, my mind can camp no other place than the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord. I would never have said these words on that day. My daughter Carolyn was just 11 weeks old, and my older daughter Beth had just turned 3 on the 6th of October. Being a young widow with two children was not my chosen path. But, it was God’s purpose and path for the three of us. My goal in putting this in writing is to testify that God is who He says He is, and He does what He says He will do—or, in the vernacular of the day, He is a Promise Keeper.
Though I was a Christian at that time, my knowledge of Scripture was found wanting. Death is such an unpleasant subject. We simply do not want to talk about it. While we all will have that appointment at some time, our minds would prefer happier thoughts, to be sure. The reality is, it is not “if” we die, but “when” we die. Where will we spend eternity?
I’m putting these thoughts on paper today not only at the encouragement of Carolyn, but for my grandchildren to read and know that our only hope in this life is in God Himself, through the shed blood and glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 14:6 (“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”) was the verse that really led me into this realization at the age of 8 in a Child Evangelism class that my great-aunt taught. On that very day and through those words, God revealed clearly to me that I was/am a sinner and I needed a Savior.
Eternity will not be long enough for me to thank the Lord for how He called me out of darkness into His marvelous light and saved me. I am no one special; I have no real education; I was not prepared to be the breadwinner of a family; I deserved nothing more than hell. But God, in His grace and mercy, took hold of my life. Today I am nothing more than a poster child of God’s great grace.
The Book of Ruth has really prompted my putting these thoughts on paper. Timing is everything. And, it is no accident or coincidence that we are studying this particular book this week.
It was less than two years after I moved from Florida back to Memphis with my two girls that BSF came to Memphis in the spring of 1971. We did a pilot study in Colossians. What BSF did for me was to get me into the Word of God on a daily basis. Through this, God transforms our thinking and our lives. Now, at 74 years of age and thinking of what I want my children and grandchildren to know, this comes to mind. Titus 2:3-4 is what I believe God reminds me of all of the time. We can never be profoundly changed by something we do not know, and we will never know God and His Word if we do not feed on Him daily. And, it is only by God’s amazing grace that we ever desire to pick up His Word and read it. As the apostle Paul put it, “I can boast in nothing except Jesus and Him crucified.”
As I said earlier, I did not choose being a young widow with two children. But, as I look back, I would choose no other way than the way God laid out for the three of us. My early childhood was quite dysfunctional, but God was sovereign and carrying out his plan to show himself as our eternal hope and comfort. And, the end of my life is far better than the beginning. Nothing this life has to offer will ever satisfy—only following God’s purpose will. As Dr. James Boice said when he shared the diagnosis he had of liver cancer, “If we could change things, we’d only make them worse.”
The song that was being sung on the radio station this morning, the first song I heard, was the Doxology. What more can I say?
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.