Archives For Poetry

I thank God for the women of faith He’s given for us to pattern our lives after. Today is the birthday of one such lady, Ruth Bell Graham. One writer said of her, “Everyone who knew Ruth Bell Graham knew that she loved Jesusand she loved people. In her writing, speaking and simple acts of kindness—to neighbors, friends and anyone who needed a lift—she demonstrated the grace and mercy of the Savior she first met when she was a little girl in China.” Ruth‘s spirit shines through the beautiful poetry she left behind. Here are a few of my favorite Ruth Bell Graham poems:

A poem she wrote at age 13:
Dear God, I prayed, all unafraid
(as we’re inclined to do),
I do not need a handsome man
but let him be like You;
I do not need one big and strong
nor yet so very tall,
nor need he be some genius,
or wealthy, Lord, at all;
but let his head be high, dear God,
and let his eye be clear,
his shoulders straight, whate’er his state,
whate’er his earthly sphere;
and let his face have character,
a ruggedness of soul,
and let his whole life show, dear God,
a singleness of goal;
then when he comes
(as he will come)
with quiet eyes aglow,
I’ll understand that he’s the man
I prayed for long ago.

The Portrait
As the portrait is unconscious
Of the master artist’s touch,
Unaware of growing beauty,
Unaware of changing much,
So you have not guessed His working
In your life throughout each year,
Have not seen the growing beauty
Have not sensed it Mother dear.
We have seen and marveled greatly
At the Master Artist’s skill,
Marveled at the lovely picture
Daily growing lovelier still;
Watched His brush strokes
Change each feature
To a likeness of His face,
Till in you we see the Master,
Feel His presence, glimpse His grace;
Pray the fragrance of His presence
May through you seem doubly sweet,
Till your years on earth are ended
And the portrait is complete.

Ruth Bell Graham

 Give Him Grace
May he face life’s problems
as he faced
his broken bike
when he was small,
working till he’d traced
each problem to its source,
and fixed it; all
was a challenge he’d accept
with curiosity and then
work night and day.
What’s losing sleep when
interest is involved?
Hobby or problem
he never turned it loose
till it was solved.

Now
he’s a man.
And man-sized problems
stare him in the face.
Interested or not,
Lord,
give him grace.
As this is a problem tough,
and not a toy,
so, too, he is a man now,
Lord
-not a boy.

(Yet in the boy he once was I could see
delightful glimpses of the man that he
would be.)

When I Die
And when I die
I hope my soul ascends
slowly, so that I
may watch the earth receding
out of sight,
its vastness growing smaller
as I rise,
savoring its recession
with delight.
Anticipating joy
is itself a joy.
And joy unspeakable
and full of glory
needs more
than “in the twinkling of an eye,”
more than “in a moment.”

Lord, who am I to disagree?
It’s only we
have much to leave behind;
so much . . . Before.
These moments
of transition
will, for me, be
time
to
adore.

Bio: Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham, was born on June 10, 1920—93 years ago today. She was the second of five children born to medical missionaries in China. Ruth met Billy Graham at Wheaton college and married him after graduating in 1943. Ruth and Billy were married for 64 years. The day before she died, June 14, 2007, Billy released this statement, “Ruth is my soul mate and best friend, and I cannot imagine living a single day without her by my side. I am more and more in love with her today than when we first met over 65 years ago as students at Wheaton College.”

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