Raymond Arthur Waugh, Sr.
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Not Dead Nor Sleeping
Raymond A. Waugh, Sr.
By His grace and in accord with His sovereign purposes, a little more than thirty-five years ago, God arranged for a first meeting and a momentary glance on the part of two who had never before been in each other's presence. For me, it was almost as though my heart stopped beating for a moment. Nonetheless, in their humanity, both resisted the attraction that was immediate because both had concludedone at 30 years and the other at 24 yearsthat God had decided that they should walk alone in His Service!
A commitment both had made!
Supposing that they had God's Will in the matter, they assured themselves that they would not meet again or if they did there would be no reaction that the other might take as showing an interest. Again, however, God had other plans!
He fortuitously arranged that they would have three more "special" meetings under circumstances which would necessitate some momentary social relationships. One was at a soldier's get-together in Downtown San Antonio, Texas.
Though both had been there previously, neither had seen the other there. One was in a Bible Study Class situation, and the other was in a small Country Church which was a few miles South of San Antonio.
Though at the moment the seemingly-necessary conversations, in all three instances, were only momentary and seemingly most inconsequential, they would have lifetime and eternal consequences. For soon after the momentary contact in that little Country Church, the Lord would have me to wrestle all night on at least two occasions with the decision which I had made for His Will in my life. The questioning, however, would be more on the order of "putting out the fleece." In my own mind, I planned on no more than "one fleece."
Within the next day or so, I made my way to a little jewelry store. With the assistance of a dear lady who would have further impact on our lives some ten years later, I chose a small engagement ring that would be, in fact and in truth, a part of "my fleece arrangement" before God, though the details were being "worked out" rather than my "working them out." Herein was the sovereign working of the Lord which we would recognize only in retrospect, but which would give us a glorious and an immeasurable comprehension of the greatness of our God which was beyond the ability of men to teach us.
In those moments, we were concerned primarily with His Will for our lives. In our humanity, we had concluded what we had supposed it would be, believing sincerely that we already had determined God's Will for our lives.
There would be one other meeting!
As a part of the "putting out of the fleece," and with the ring in my pocket, there came that moment when it seemed convenient to inquire, "May I see you home ?" I had no idea where she lived, and I had no means of transportation. She suggested that we take one of the local buses.
The evening was short. I had made no plans. It was my intention, even then, to wait the moving of the Spirit of God in our lives, if God, in fact, had any plans for a further relationship. E're the evening was over, there came what seemed to be an opportune time to take the ring from my uniform pocket. And with some word about desiring only the Will of God for my life and the Will of God for her life, I asked her whether it seemed within the Will of God for her to consider marrying me.
There was a maturity about this one who would become my be loved for all of time that I had recognized already. Now, it was even more evident as she admired the ring and made no remarks about its evident minimal material value. In response, she, too, indicated that she had no desire in this life but to serve the Lord. She stated that she had pretty well determined that God wanted her to serve Him alone.
Nevertheless, she agreed without any insistence on my part to take the matter to the Lord and provide me an answer on the following day if that were possible. Both of us agreed that there was and that there had been an overall physical attraction as well as a spiritual camaraderie that we had never known. Too, we conceded that we had resisted for some weeks because of our greater desire and our greater interest in the Will of God for our lives. I have no doubt whatever but that both of us would have gone our separate ways and gladly if there had been the least intimation from the Lord that the union should not be or that it was not to be.
The following day, I left the Base where I was stationed and where I was teaching in sufficient time to keep our appointed meeting. As we met, she was smiling, as only my beloved could smile, a smiling which provided hope and assurance in many dark hours which must come to all who wait upon the Lord in this world in which the Devil is "The prince and the power of the air." My heart brightened then even as it would as a result of her smile untold thousands of times during these thirty-five years and more.
This one who would become my beloved informed me that it seemed that the Lord was giving her a positive "Yes" with respect to the possibility of a life-commitment. She agreed to take the ring, and it fit perfectly. Though it doubtless was one of the smallest diamonds any young man ever gave any young girl, she wore it as though it were worth millions until her last illness when physical conditions precluded her doing so.
Today, that earthly union which Almighty God effected is at an end. That male and female, man and wife, relationship which God accomplished within the context of His Sovereign Purposes has been concluded forever. For, "In heaven, they neither marry, nor are they given in marriage." Nonetheless, this is a wondrous, and it is a Holy Moment of the Lord's Provision.
Thirty-five years and more of a lifea Holy Union, in truth which only God Himself could have accomplished have come to an end. All along the way His Sovereign involvement and His Sovereign guidance were in evidence, though we, in our humanity, sometimes could see it only in retrospect. Nevertheless, we rejoiced! And that rejoicing, whether at the moment of His wondrous provision or in retrospect, was almost more than the human mind and the human spirit could contain. This was especially true during the almost-five-years of my beloved's last illness.
Thankfully, after these thirty-five years and more, I can rejoice in the truth of the Word, "Precious, in the sight of the Lord, is the death of His saints." In my humanity, I weep because my beloved is not by my side, though I know she is not dead. I can no longer hear her call "Papa" in the middle of the night, thereby indicating a desire for a drink of water, a desire to be turned, a desire for the reading of the Word of God, or a desire to pray. I can proclaim, nonetheless, and that without any fear of contradiction, that she is not dead! Though I kissed and touched her cooling brow in a fateful earthly hour and raised my voice in praise to God and in thanksgiving that she had walked by my side in faithfulness for more than thirty-five years, she is not dead.
Today, I rejoice that my beloved was a saint, and that by the grace of Godnot because of what she had done and not because of what she was doing. Rather, she was a saint because of what the Lord Jesus Christ had done in her life and what He was doing in her life! With all praise to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit our Sovereign, Omniscient, and Omnipotent Godmy beloved was saved and that forever in August of 1935, thereby committing herself and her life for time and for eternity to Him who had cried, "It is finished"!
I am told that the dear lady who led my beloved to see the Word in all of its wonder and thereby to faith in the crucified, buried, and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ was killed in an accident shortly thereafter. As my eldest Son speaks of "Butterfly Footprints on a Rose," so this dear lady left footprints on my beloved. As a beauteous Rose, picked, as it were, from God's earthly Garden of Roses, I can know that my beloved will "bloom" as a saint in the midst of His saints forever.
Because of the Resurrection Power of the Lord Jesus Christ, she is not dead, and she does not sleep. E'ven now, she dwells in "the mansions that He has gone to prepare." Even now, she drinks from "the River of the Water of Life that flows from the Throne of God." Even now, she the one who was my beloved on earth for more than 35 years, a mere moment in time, and an infinitesimal moment with respect to eternitybasks in the wonder of the Savior's Brightness. Whereas with me, she rested at times in the cool of the day under our Magnolia, she now can rest in the Eternal Pleasantries of "The Tree of Life" for an Eternal Day or for a Day that is Eternal as she and all other saints await the coming of those of us who yet remain in the earth.
How wondrous is the Provision of our God. In this, she had the assurance, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Too, she knew and that most wonderfully, 'To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."
A little more than thirty-five years ago, on the first Thanksgiving of our Marriage, my beloved gave to me a little Poem Book to which I have turned often across the years. Now, in thanksgiving to God for her, and, in thanksgiving for what she was to me, I turn once again to its inspiring pages,
"God is in every tomorrow, Therefore, we lived for today; Certain of finding at sunrise Guidance and strength for the day, Power for each moment of weakness, Hope for each moment of pain, Comfort for every sorrow, Sunshine and joy after rain.
"God is in every tomorrow, Planning for you and for me, E'en in the dark we will follow, Trust where our eyes cannot see, Stilled by His promise of blessing, Soothed by the touch of hand, Confident in His protection, Knowing our life-path is planned.
"God is in every tomorrow, Life with its changes may come, He is behind and before us, While in the distance shines Home. Homewhere no thoughts of tomorrow Ever can shadow our brows, Home in the presence of Jesus, Through all Eternity, Now!"
From the human perspective, these last four years and more have been difficult for my beloved and me. For more than two of those years, we bore the burden of the finalitythe approach of the end alone. Then, there came the moment when it seemed right and proper that we share something of our burden with our sons. A little later, some of our dearest friends and relatives were made aware that time was getting short. Finally, there was that timeless moment in timethat evening above and beyond all evenings in timewherein we shared with our nearest and our dearest ones the finality which was so near.
How I rejoiced and how I have rejoiced since that my beloved chose that holy moment to tell of our "Love at first sight." How my heart has thrilled to abound in those moments of her retelling when Godwithin the context of His Eternal and Sovereign Purposesaccomplished the "Heaven-Ordained" love affair that would soon conclude on earth but which would continue on so long as time shall last in the lives of those who have come forth from this marriage.
How precious these moments!
How holy is God's provision!
We lived with the reality and the consciousness that soon we would have to be separated for a little while. In all of this, we ever gave thanks for the life that God had provided and the life which He was providing. In our humanity, we wept because we could not understand! My beloved would wonder "Why?" when another condition would compound what already existed. Yet, as one who would pray in the final hour, she accepted it all without complaint. By the grace of God, we understood, "Our lives are like a vapor which appears for a moment, and then is gone."
From the heavenly perspective, however, this has been a most beautiful and a most precious time of our lives. We have sat under our Magnolia in the cool of the day and discussed both the earthly and the heavenly things. In the consciousness that soon time for her would become eternity, we lived day in and day out knowing that only the eternal things are of any real importance. Assured that eternal joys and crowns of His choosing awaited her and us in that City that our Lord has gone to prepare, we thanked Him without ceasing.
Time and time again it seemed that the "Portals of Heaven" would be opened, and we would be bathed in the "Brightness" that seemed to flow from that Hallowed Place! Time and time again, the Reality and the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Person of the Holy Spirit of God, of course, would be so REAL that it seemed we would have been able to touch Him as that "one with the issue of blood," if our arms had been just a little longer!
Through tears that cannot be assuaged this side of eternity because of my loss, I can rejoice in knowing that God has wondrously accomplished it all! Though we did not even know of each other's existence, a little more than thirty-five years ago, our blessed Savior arranged that we should experience "love at first sight." Too, He provided that our Love might grow and abound as we labored to wait upon Him and to serve Him. Then, in finality, our God blessed us with our deepest affection and our most profound love in the moments, the hours, the days, the weeks, the months, and the years which we knew would be our last.
We married in the confidence that our union was of the Lord and that our marriage was the Lord's doing. In His graciousness, our God so inspired my beloved that she could choose "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out" as the basis of our life together. Thus, in the bright days, we have rejoiced in the wonder of the Word of our God. In the days when Satan would have mustered all of his monstrous powers to destroy the love and the union which we knew, we learned anew and that most wonderfullythat God's Word was His letter of love to us, wholly in and through His blessed Son!
Though I have failed too often to be all that I would like to have been, and though she, at times, may have felt the same, I can say without equivocation and without question that across these years, my beloved has been faithful! She has been a faithful wife! She has been a faithful mother of our sons, and one who nurtured them with love and appreciation as individuals who had their own relationship with God and with others. She has been a faithful friend to a multitude who today can call her friend in truth. Too, she has been a faithful lover!
Most of all, thankfully, my beloved has been a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this faithfulness, she has lived beautifully and happily in the real world of time, loving, appreciating, and caring for people in many, many ways. As a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, she has maintained a proper and a Scriptural humility. The deep burden of her heart was a vital witnessing concerning -the Lord Jesus Christ. She ever retained her Scriptural demeanor, though some would have employed unscripturally her abilities as a communicator and as one informed in the Word.
Often, I have marveled as I would hear her explanation of reticence to seek or to accept some place of preeminence in a Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ever, she would remind such that she had a faithful man of God as her pastor early in her Christian life who taught her otherwise, or she would direct such to the error of their ways from the Word of God. Yet and this was one of the beauties of Christ Jesus in her life so long as I knew her no one could speak of the Lord Jesus Christ more wonder fully than she. Ever, her testimony and witness, were warm and enthusiastic!
Men, ministers, and the masses may feel that "marriage vows" are "old fashioned" or unnecessary in Twentieth Century America, but I am thankful that my beloved was not one of these. True to her promise, my beloved has been my "help meet" in sickness and in health, when richer or poorer and mostly poorer. And she was that "Until death do us part," the reality with which I must live for a little while, until I, too, shall take "my flight"!
Thankfully, within God's Holy Provision, these last years, months, weeks, days, hours, and more recently moments have been more and more precious, and that truly beyond compare. Both under our Magnolia, and in the room from whence my beloved took her final flight to be with Jesus, we have rejoiced again! If it had not been for our humanity, perhaps, we would have been able to reach across space and time and know Him as another, "The Son of Man standing on the right hand of God."
Some of you who have known me, and some of you who have read of some of my walk with the Lord Jesus Christ are aware that I know something of "walking in the heavenlies," as it were. However, during these years, months, weeks, days, hours, and moments of the last almost five years, my beloved and I have rejoiced as one in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ by His Spirit, and in His Holy Word. While some others were concerned about mundane things such as "healing" or "no healing," at times it seemed to us that the very presence of Christ Jesus, or, as it were, "the Shikinah Glory," a heavenly cloud of the Lord's making, would "overshadow us" with Holy Comfort and Eternal Assurance! We knew His Presence and rejoiced!
How often we gloried and abounded in the love which He had manifested in us and in the love which we had for each other because of His Holy Love! Whatever days, weeks, months, or years the Lord may provide me on earth, I shall ever rejoice that we had an especially Holy and Precious Moment, and that above all others if such gradations are possible. In that hour, early in the morning hours while most of the world slept, I read we read, really though she was no longer able to see to readfrom I John 4 and 5.
We became caught-up, as it were, in the love of God which was and is so beautifully and wonderfully expressed. Part of it needless to say, was, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." We read the chapters once, and my beloved said "Let's balk about God's love." We read portions again, and again she would say, "Let's talk about God's love." Again, we balked about God's love, and again we read. For some two hours, the eternal love of God was ours in time, and we knew that our love in time was, in truth, eternal!
We touched His "garment hem"!
His Spirit flowed in us then!
The end, then, was just a few hours away! It was so very timely and so very apropos, then, that my beloved wanted the assurance again and again which we find in "He that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." Even more, she rejoiced in, "He that liveth and believeth in me shall never die." Along with this, we looked at David's hope, not with reference to "the valley of the shadows," but rather with regard to, "Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou prepares" a table before me in the presence of mine enemies, thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Because we were able to say while my beloved yet lived, "He is risen as He said," we knew, and I today know, that our hope was without fault and without flaw! Today, though there is no such thing as time in eternityright nowin a body of the Lord's provision, my beloved Euradine, as Euradine, walks streets of pure gold with Jesus, loved ones who have gone on, and the saints of all ages. And e're long, or in a little while, in our God's own time, I shall join Him, her, and them there.
This assurance is absolute!
In our flesh and in our fleshliness, we failed Him often. Nonetheless, He was our Savior, and He is our Savior and that forever. He is "our righteousness" and our eternal hope! Our Lord explains, "Those whom He fore knew, He also did predestinate to become conformed to the image of His Son . . . and whom He predestinated, them, he also called, and whom He called, them He also justified, and whom He justified, them He also glorified."
This Scripture was most comforting to my beloved. We read it as we sat beneath our Magnolia and rejoiced in its truths. We read it while she was yet functional and could join in the reading. We read it, too, in those last days when her response, of necessity, was quite limited. As only my beloved could, she would smile happily at the thought that from everlasting already! God had prepared for her glorification. She knew the hour was near; this, too, brightened and enriched her smile!
In all of this, however, it was her continuing prayer, as it was and is mine, that all whom we know might join us in that assurance and in the victory. This assurance for her and for me was expressed and repeated often in, "What shall we then say to these things? . . . I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Thankfully we had this hope!
That substance of Our faith!
And on that fateful Wednesday afternoon, time and eternity met there where my beloved lived! God, in His grace, and that from everlasting, had effectually determined her days, the number of her months, and He "had appointed her bounds that she could not pass." Far more, however, while yet in her earthly "tabernacle she groaned . . . that she might be clothed upon . . . and that mortality might be swallowed up of life," and that day was my beloved's new beginning! Her rejoicing entry into Glory Eternal!
Wondrously and gloriously, my beloved's "mortality was swallowed up of life," and her mortality was superseded by the Lord's design as she was "clothed upon with (her) house from heaven." Thankfully, with all praise to God:
Today, she lives!
Today, she walks!
Today, she talks!
Today, my beloved has a body in her likeness that the Lord Jesus has provided. As Moses and Elijah, and Jesus, as well, were the same in their supernal glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, so my beloved who is Euradine forever is so known in her supernal glory in the presence of the Lord and among the saints of all ages. Today, my beloved shares her gracious and endless friendliness with loved ones and friends who have gone before and the saints of all ages. Today, within the Sovereign Providence of our God my beloved walks along the "Waters of the River of life that flows from the throne of God." Today, my beloved partakes of the Fruit of "The Tree of Life" and enjoys the Fruits which "grow by the side of the River of the Water of Life."
Her knowledge today is complete!
She knows "It is not death to die"!
Today she experiences and abounds in the fruition of her undying faith! For the thirty-five years and more that the Lord provided that I might have my beloved here in the earth, the one song which she sang more than any other was one she learned in the little Church in East Texas where she was saved and near which her mortal body now lies.
How often, in the early morning hours, the house would ring with, "I'll Fly Away." How often the day would be brightened as my beloved would break forth and sing, "I'll Fly Away." And, perhaps, realizing that any one night might be her last, so long as she yet had voice and the strength, the evening hours would resound with:
"Some glad morning when this life is o'er, I'll fly away;
To a home on God's celestial shore, I'll fly away.
"Just a few more weary days and then, I'll fly away;
To a land where joys shall never end, I'll fly away.
"I'll Fly away, O glory, I'll fly away;
When I die, hallelujah, by and by, O I'll fly away."
Today, my beloved is gone! She has taken her "flight." Today, I sit and type in the room from whence she took her "flight"! Today, if I had never comprehended it before, I would see it all in the glorious light of the Lord's Everlasting Provision. My beloved has gone far beyond the Moon and Mars. She has "raced" beyond our solar sun, and she is far past Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto. She has left the thirty billions of light years of stars and heavenly bodies far, far behind. Quasars and Black Holes held no terror for her as she took her "flight."
In the quietness of this room where she had lain for weeks, and in the presence of her loved ones and a friend who had been so helpful in these last days, she simply looked up through eyes that had not seen for a few hours, closed them, and took one last mortal breath which would last her forever. For weeks, she had longed for the sight of the Lord Jesus Christ, and she had expressed a heartfelt desire to see her mother and mine. I doubt not but that God accomplished it all in that very moment when time for her was swallowed up in eternity, when "mortality was swallowed up of life."
Though I have rejoiced and do rejoice in the Home-Going of my beloved "which is for better," in my humanity I must weep that she is not by my side. We did not argue with God's decrees regarding the circumstances while she lived! I, needless to say, do not fault God in this matter. Rather, I thank Him with every fiber of my being if I know anything at all about my own conscience and my own consciousness. For, in this, God has shown His boundless love toward my beloved and thereby toward me who loved her so very, very much by His Wondrous Grace.
Because of the frailty of my fleshly perspective and my fleshliness, paradoxically, I can never forget my loss. Yet, from the heavenly perspective, I must ever abound in the wonder of "All things work together for good to those who love God and to those who are called according to His Purpose." That which has been done truly has been for my beloved's good and God's glory. Of this we can be absolutely certain.
Too, since God was her God, in fact and in truth, both for time and eternity, we can know a boundless hope and assurance by the Word. Jesus made it rather specific that "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." And, today, my beloved lives! And rather than dwelling on my loss, as I shall in my humanity, I rejoice regarding the wondrous years which we had! I rejoice that we were privileged so to see the working out of the Will of God in her life and in ours in these moments, hours, days, weeks, months, and years.
Give thanks, then, with us today! Rejoice with us today! My beloved lives! Come sing with us today, "O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law, but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ"!
In the depths of my anguish, I kissed her stone-cold lips in a last farewell to the mortal body that I had known for more than thirty-five years. But that is not the end! Even now, my beloved has lips which are warmed by the very presence of the Holy Brightness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
By His marvelous grace, and within the context of His resurrection power, God, thankfully, will raise that mortal body one day as an immortal manifestation of His eternal creative power. Then those lips shall have been made anew, wondrously warmed by His eternal Brightness and His Presence. Therein shall have come to fruition the fulness and wonder of the theme of our lives, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom be glory forever, Amen"!
In my humanity, I weep today that my beloved is not by my side. Beyond and above all such mundane frailty, however, I can say from the very depths of my heart, thanks be to God, and His wondrous grace, my beloved is in "The City Four Square," in the mansions He has gone to prepare! In that bright land of Eternal Day, there is no need for the sun, for our "Lord Jesus Christ is the Light thereof." In that wondrous land of Eternal Day, there is no more dying or crying, and no more sorrow, for all pain it past.
In the renewed realization of such reality, the mortal body of my beloved has been laid to rest on a quiet, gently-sloping hillside, a few trees away from the Friendship Baptist Church where she was saved in 1935. Her Father, years before his passing, planted the trees in the cemetery, and he made the pulpit behind which we stood on that beautiful, sunny, warm, final, and fateful yet hopeful February afternoon.
Jesus was the Author of my beloved's faith, and now He has finished it just as He has designed and prepared from everlasting! The same, of course, is true of all other saints who have gone on before, and it will be true of all of us who shall follow today, and tomorrow, and so long as time shall last.
Even now, the wonder and the reality of this truth should enable each of us to proclaim with vigor and assurance which we have never before known, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which cloth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross despising the shame, and is set down on the right hand of the throne of God." With what boundless joy and what boundless happiness we, then, can sing:
"Some glorious morning, sorrow will cease, Some glorious morning, all will be peace; Heartaches all ended, schooldays all done, Heaven will open, Jesus will come.
"Oh, what a meeting, there in the skies, No tears nor crying shall dim our eyes; Loved ones united eternally, Oh, what a daybreak that morn will be.
"Some golden daybreak Jesus will come; Some golden daybreak, battles all won He'll shout the vict'ry, break through the blue, Some golden daybreak, for me, for you."
Joyously, along with others who have believed the Gospel, even the truth that Jesus died, was buried, and arose again, "which is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe," Euradine the one who was my beloved here on the earthwill receive her old body made new! God explains, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so those who have died will Jesus bring back with Him . . . and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord"!
Because He lives, we shall live!
And, "We shall see Him as He is"!
Last update Friday, October 17, 2008
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