This week’s sermon was from Matthew 11 where the disciples of John come and ask Jesus if he is the one. He tells them look around and tell John what they see and hear: the blind, the deaf, the lame, the lepers, the dead and the poor all receiving the healing grace of God. The preacher [my DH that is] made the point that though we may not see miracles like that around us, we do see other marvels. He had us look around and consider the miracles contained in each of our lives–miracles of long faithfulness through hard circumstances, miracles of obedience and perseverance, miracles of faith. Then he suggested we take time during the week to share with each other the stories of how we have encountered God so we could be encouraged.
This made me think of a eulogy I read recently.** I never had met, let alone heard of Evelyn Ross before I read what her grandson Jonathan Rogers wrote about her. But I was encouraged to read about this dear saint who followed and served faithfully to the end of her days on earth. As a child, too poor to have a piano but wanting to learn, she marked out the keys on a plank of wood and practiced on it. A beloved teacher, she was a working mother before it was fashionable, helping out at her husband’s sausage plant after school while raising three children.
My obituary will never be confused with hers for many reasons including the fact that during my short-lived career as an elementary school substitute teacher, my favorite time was when the students worked at their desks and I could read the book I brought. And unlike Evelyn’s husband who never saw the ice cube at the bottom of his glass because of her attentiveness, I’m afraid that my DH has.
But as the years go by [never mind how many], I find myself looking for models of how I want to be like when I grow up. In Evelyn’s life I discovered much I hope to emulate.
“She made everybody feel better about themselves… Anybody who came into contact with her thought, “Well, maybe I’m more lovable than I realized.” Which is to say, Evelyn was truly an agent of grace. She was eager for everybody she met to know that God loved them unconditionally, and she treated people in a way that it wasn’t so hard to imagine that it might be true.”
In hard times and stressful circumstances: “She carried on with that almost otherworldly serenity that came from a deep and abiding faith in a God who loved her and had a good plan for her life. She was truly graceful. I mean that literally. Her life was full of grace—grace received and grace extended.”
And she finished well. “For nine years, well into her eighties, she taught English as a second language in Central Baptist’s language school. She always had time for anyone who needed her time and attention. She was a joy to the very end of her life. As her body failed, she could have gotten grouchy and no one would have blamed her; but she never did.”
Evelyn Ross, truly one of God’s miracles.
**You can read Jonathan Rogers’ entire eulogy for his grandmother here