Who is “The Wholehearted Woman”? (Part 3) ***Ruth Bell Graham: Growing in the Knowledge of God***

 By: Jenni Walker

“To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  (2 Peter 1:1b-4)

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The wholehearted woman of God seeks to grow in her relationship with God.  An important part of this is the intentional deepening of our knowledge of God.  In today’s post, we’ll look at the beautiful example of this is from the life of Ruth Bell Graham, wife of the evangelist Billy Graham.

Ruth grew up as the daughter of a missionary in China; she longed to serve God on the front lines doing international missions.  But God had called her to serve Him in another capacity: as a wife and mother.  While her husband was traveling all over the world preaching the gospel, she was at home raising five children.  It would have been easy to become discontented or to begin to believe that she was not really doing anything of significance for the Lord.  But in all seasons of her life, she chose to intentionally walk with her Heavenly Father and to grow deeper in her knowledge of Him.  In a wonderful biography called The Legacy of a Couple: Ruth and Billy Graham by Hanspeter Nuesch, she is described as one who “made it a habit of bringing all her worries and cares to God.  She didn’t want her life to be determined by circumstances but by the Bible’s promises.”  (p. 108)

One of the Graham’s daughters, Gigi, describes Ruth’s habit of intentionally seeking the Lord simply yet profoundly:

“All these years her immediate reaction has been to throw herself on the Lord and the Scriptures.  As a child I can remember her leaving her Bible open in a prominent place, so she could just get a verse every now and then.  We found her often by her bed, on her knees.  She had her Bible anywhere she was in the house, sometimes even on the ironing board.  There would be a verse that she would be gleaning and meditating upon.”  (p. 108)

Such an intentional pursuit to know God produces a deep intimacy with Him.  The more we intentionally seek to grow in our knowledge of God, the more we will also find that our relationship with Him becomes more natural.  Nuesch writes, “…Ruth had cultivated a close relationship with her heavenly Father.  She had experienced how her God was sufficient in all situations.  Time and time again, she also felt how His Word, the Bible, spoke to her very directly.  She saw the Bible as a love letter from her Creator and divine Friend that had been written to her personally.  People who met Ruth were always greatly impressed by her natural relationship with God.”  (p. 109)

In the midst of challenges or uncertainties, or just the everyday duties of life, we will find our hearts drawn to Him…by Him and the Scriptures that have taken root in our hearts.  After her youngest child left home, Ruth was often alone at home for extended periods of time; her husband was often gone due to his call as a worldwide evangelist.  Although she was a great support to her husband and they talked often on the phone, those times could also be extremely lonely for her.  Ruth describes an intimate experience she had with the Lord during one of those times: “I dreaded returning to that now empty house.  But as I entered the front door and looked down the length of the hall and up the steps leading to the children’s now vacant rooms, suddenly it wasn’t empty.  I was greeted by a living Presence, and I realized anew how true His last words were: ‘Lo, I am with you always’ (Matt. 28:20).”  (p. 109)

Like Ruth, we as women so often find our days filled with many responsibilities and varied emotions.  Let’s seek to know God intentionally through prayer and meditating on Scripture, letting it penetrate and minister to our hearts (Hebrews 4:12).  As we do this, we will find ourselves becoming more aware of His truth and His presence in our daily lives, to His glory!

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