We all must have heard and felt the exploits of the great Evangelist, Billy Graham. I’m not sure that everyone has heard about the pillar that supported that great man throughout his great ministry, his wife Ruth Graham.
Birth and History
Ruth McCue Bell Graham (June 10, 1920 – June 14, 2007) was an American Christian author, most well known as the wife of evangelist Billy Graham. She was born in Qingjiang, Jiangsu, Republic of China, the second of five children. Her parents, Virginia Leftwich Bell and L. Nelson Bell, were medical missionaries at the Presbyterian Hospital 300 miles (480 km) north of Shanghai. At age 13 she was enrolled in Pyeng Yang Foreign School in Pyongyang, Korea, where she studied for three years. She completed her high school education at Montreat, North Carolina, while her parents were there on furlough. She graduated from Wheaton College (Illinois) in Wheaton, Illinois.(Wikipedia)
Graham (left) with her husband (right) and George W. Bush (middle) in 1983
Her life everything about her was about spreading the gospel, having been born into the house of missionaries and married to one. Her support for her husband no doubt was a great boost to his ministry. Not every woman would have loved someone so deeply to always be there, to always understand their frequent absence, for the sake of the gospel. I guess she must have known that all these were sacrifices to be made.
After their marriage in August 1943, Ruth caught a chill while returning from their honeymoon. Instead of calling to cancel a routine preaching engagement in Ohio and staying at the bedside of his new bride, Billy checked her into a hospital and kept the appointment, sending her a telegram and a box of candy for consolation. She felt hurt, but soon learned that nothing came before preaching on her husband’s list of priorities.
To keep him in their (Children’s) hearts and minds, Ruth read Billy’s letters aloud and guided the children as they prayed for him and his work. On Sunday afternoons, she gathered them together to listen to his voice on the “Hour of Decision” broadcast. Afterward, he usually called to talk with each of them (Washington post)
Ruth’s devotion to her husband was total. I do not know how their marriage could have survived for over 60 years, if there had not been love, true love between them.
Her story should be an encouragement to men and women of God these days. Behind every successful minister is always a devoted, loving and understanding spouse. It’s never easy, it comes with lots of sacrifices, but love conquers all.
One of the most touching songs I’ve listened to is Give me Jesus tribute to Ruth Graham by popular gospel artist Fernando Ortega watching the song video had me in tears. You can access it via Give me Jesus Tribute to Ruth Graham