On March 30th, 2011 my Mamaw died. Or, more biblically, she passed from death unto life.
Lovine McWhorter grew up during the Great Depression. She knew hard times and like so many of her generation, she knew what sacrifice meant. The sacrifices Mamaw made for our family were legendary, and very humbling for us grandchildren to observe. Every single one of us knew that Mamaw would gives us her last penny, her last piece of bread if it meant she would literally starve and die. She simply had been given an extra measure of God’s grace when it came to selflessness.
Mamaw was a simple woman. Materialism seemed to have absolutely no hold on her life. She left this world with almost nothing of temporal value to her name. She spent most of her final years in her own home, often alone with just her God and her Bible. And what effect, do you suppose, this had on her life?
Well, let me just tell you that in His providence, God called my great aunt Bonnie (Mamaw’s sister) home to heaven just 6 short weeks ago. I was close to Aunt Bonnie, so I was compelled to attend the funeral, some 13 hours drive from my home. But, this gave me a few precious days to spend with Mamaw, mere weeks before the Lord called her home. God is good. I’ve done nothing to deserve this obvious kindness from His sovereign hand. Thank you, O Lord, for giving me those few days with Mamaw.
As was always the case when visiting with Mamaw, our conversation turned to the Lord and His Christ and His Word. Unlike so many around me in the church today, Mamaw always wanted to hear me comment on the Scriptures. She was never ashamed or afraid to ask questions about the Bible, even after reading it for 75+ years. She was a true “learner” of Jesus, even at 86 years of age. She often had questions so deep I had to leave them unanswered. God does, after all, blow our minds, doesn’t He?!
But during the course of my preaching to Mamaw (which she loved to provoke, by the way) on the last night I spent with her on this earth, lovely, simple Lovine waxed eloquent. Mamaw and I were speaking of the greatness and beauty of Christ as compared to the foolishness of so much ornate religion and bombastic ritual. Mamaw particularly did not appreciate flash and pomp in the pulpit. And so, with tears streaming down her wrinkled cheeks, she said:
My High Priest wore no ornate robes, but was stripped bare on the cross.
My High Priest had no gold chains around His neck, but bore my sin on His shoulders.
My High Priest had no golden crown, but was crushed by a crown of thorns.
My High Priest received no applause, but was slapped and spit upon.
My High Priest wore no gaudy rings on His fingers, but had His hands and feet spiked to a tree.
Now, friends, this is the legacy Mamaw leaves me – lavishing praise and adoration on her Savior and King, the Lord Jesus. It was so beautiful, to see her so in love with Jesus. Her heart and eyes that night were just so full of Jesus. The Savior was enormous in her vision! She died walking closer to Him than ever before in her 86 years of life. Is it any wonder, then, her King called her home to finally rest on His breast, and behold God’s glory in His face?
“For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens” (Heb 7:26).
Thank You, O Lord, for the gift of my Mamaw. She was a lady who left us a legacy of a soul captured by Your grace. In our grief, turn our eyes to Your blessed face, Lord Jesus. This is, after all, what my Mamaw would have insisted upon. So, to honor her, I honor You, and bless You, and worship You, and love You, and long to see You. Until that day, help me live with Your light in my eyes and Your love in my heart. Amen.