Most of you never met Deborah Samples; she is my mother in law and she lives in Heaven now. After a devastating auto collision in June of last year, she went home to be with the Lord in the first week of July. A quiet and simple woman, she loved her husband, children and grandchildren in a way that impacted our lives forever. I have the privilege of having her last bible and I use it in my study at our new home. Having just prayed this morning for God to give me wisdom about what to write, I opened her bible and found tucked away in the book of Proverbs this little note that apparently meant much to her:
Whatever my God ordains is right, He never will deceive me. He leads me by the proper path, I know He will not leave me. I take content, what He hath sent. His hand can turn my griefs away, And patiently I wait His day.
Deborah suffered mightily in her body the last few years of her life. Many days she could not get out of bed due to the ravages of Lyme Disease. When she was able to get up, she typically made the day all about others. Spending time with Danny, talking with Amy on the phone, driving to Gwinnett from Dawsonville to lavish MaMa-love on my children. She had fully accepted the fact that she would not have her former strength, her former ease, her former comforts. She looked beyond the very real pain of a life that had thrown her an unexpected curve ball and rested in the care of God’s sovereignty. She lives today in the fullness of reward that is the inheritance of all who endure and persevere through life toward the Promiser in Heaven. Deborah’s burden was designed by God specifically for her. My burdens are allotted by the same Designer. Yours are no different. He knows what He is doing with us and He knows perfectly why He is doing it. Here is the question to be faced by each of us: will we trust Him perfectly?
The above words tucked away in Deborah’s bible meant something very real to her. She knew her struggle. We can assume that there were portions of her inward battle of faith that she mentioned only in the presence of God. She didn’t tell anyone everything because none of us tell anyone everything. I believe in her final days there were likely many pleas to Heaven for God to open the door for her exit. She lived a very rich and full life that brought her King great glory and when she and I spoke the conversation often lead to the yet-to-be-experienced realities of paradise with Christ. She was an incredible wife and mother. She was matchless as a grandparent and mother-in-law. She instructed people from God’s word with the wisdom of the sages and many lives were changed through her ministry. Her meek and quiet spirit lives on in her daughter and granddaughter and I see her very personality in Alicia. In the end, Deborah finished better than she started and there are very few qualities better than that in one of God’s saints. Yes, life threw her a curveball in her final years here; most of us acknowledge that she hit it for a grand-slam.
Today, she whispers to us again. She knows that it is worth it all and she encourages us to live today as if it were our last. Live it in faith. Live it for others. Live it with all your might.