But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned to me by the Lord Jesus - the work of telling others the Good News about God's wonderful kindness and love. Acts 20:24 NLT
"God is so GOOD!" That's a frequent phrase I heard Evelyn Gardner repeat. Her faithful teaching and witness was salted and peppered with her dear southern-isms made more delightful by her Georgia drawl. Each one followed by a smile then a quiet but genuine laugh. After moving from NC in 2003, I have missed Evelyn, although our paths crossed several times over the years. Today her memorial service was held at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC. I am in Augusta,Georgia, only a few hours from where she was raised in Toccoa. Evelyn is most certainly with the LORD!
I don't remember exactly when I met Evelyn, but it is likely by being in one of her Bible Studies. For the 20 years I knew Evelyn, she was always teaching Sunday School and leading some Bible study, sharing the Good News about God's wonderful kindness and love. I have fond memories of both Evelyn and her sister, Martha, as I listened to stories of growing up in their beloved Toccoa, Tift College days, career decisions, and military adventures in Hawaii. I once had the opportunity to drive them to Chapel Hill for a doctor's appointment for Martha. It was a good day! On Cool Spring Street, lunches at Heritage Place and afterwards the casual conversation in Martha's apartment provided all three of us with soul food. Even after I moved, and Martha's cancer worsened, our visits, while fewer, continued to delight my soul! Evelyn was a faith-full prayer warrior and regularly prayed for me. Often her cards would arrive to remind me of her prayers at a divinely ordained moment. Yes, God is so Good!
Paul wrote "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. [2Timothy 4:7]. Evelyn can stand before her Creator, Redeemer and Friend and humbly repeat Paul's words. She has written a living letter for Christ on the hearts of those she touched, including mine. My life has been blessed by Evelyn and her living testimony. Matthew Henry's Commentary reflects on Acts 20 and shouts to my soul: It is good for friends, when they part, to part with prayer. Those who exhort and pray for one another, may have many weeping seasons and painful separations, but they will meet before the throne of God, to part no more. Despite moving, in spite of death, there will be reunion in Christ! Now that's the GOOD NEWS!
Evelyn shared the Good News with great joy, carried her life sorrows with dignity, enriched the lives of countless women directly and indirectly, and always remained faithful to the Lord. This is the example I hope to follow. So, until we meet again before the throne of God, dear friend, I will strive to use [my life] for doing the work assigned to me by the Lord Jesus - the work of telling others the Good News about God's wonderful kindness and love. I'll be seeing you! ~ dho