On July 28, 2010 Ruby took one final check of all the drawers in the walnut chest that her husband Everett had given her as a wedding present. As she closed each drawer, she dusted the front panel for one last time. This was a last resort and one that saddened her, but she knew they would be here any minute. She had agreed to trade the chest for cash, only out of desperation, and at any second the knock on the door would be the happy buyer who was set to take the chest away from a bedroom in which it had rested for nearly forty years.
Everett Cross had worked hard throughout his entire life, but to no avail. Though God provided for his family through his efforts, not one of his business ventures had ever really taken off as he had planned. Rather, Ruby was left penniless at the time of his death. She had managed to maintain the family home, still decorated as beautifully as ever with family photos, antiques, heirlooms, and her baby grand piano, but now even the home itself was on the market.
When she opened the final drawer, her spirit embittered from having to let go of such a prized possession, a tear drop rolled from her cheekbone into the drawer and landed on the book inside. Funny. She thought she had emptied the chest and double-checked it several times before. With trembling hands, she reached into the bottom drawer and pulled out a book, Confessions of a Grieving Christian, which her daughter Mary had been reading after losing a close friend exactly six years ago to the day. There was something sticking out of the book that resembled a white bookmark, but when Ruby opened the book she found an 8.5 X 11 piece of paper folded over twice.
As she unfolded the paper, she couldn’t believe what she saw. It was an email typed to her daughter Mary from Everett, within the very hour he died.
July 28, 2004
Just wanted to give you a quick update on your old Dad. The doc gave me a z-pack and a Tylenol 3. For some reason, my skin has begun to itch. Imagine that!
I hope this letter finds you well. Don’t worry. I’ll be comin’ back this way.
Everett Cross died of a massive heart attack in less than one hour at 6:30 AM, July 28, 2004. He had been hospitalized for tests that later confirmed Peripheral Arterial Disease. Ruby knew God was speaking to her at this very moment when she held the book containing the email in her hands.
Comin’ back this way was an old family saying that had been picked up from Ruby’s housekeeper years before, meaning, “I’m almost as good as new,” or “I’m back to my old self again.” Mary had obviously printed the email and tucked it in the book the morning of her Daddy’s death. Ruby was able to gather her strength that morning and let go of the chest, reassured of God’s presence in her life, and honored that Everett’s wedding gift to her had provided for her needs even six years to the day after his death when she needed it the most.
Ruby wiped the tears from her eyes when she heard the knock at the door. She gathered herself and proudly escorted the new owners of the walnut chest to the bedroom where they wheeled it away and she saw it for the last time. She was thankful for Everett’s wedding gift. She was thankful for Everett. With the book still in her hand, she made her way to the kitchen, put on a pot of tea and began to hum softly.
God’s timing in our lives is always sufficient. God’s ways are always higher than our ways. Waiting on His perfect timing is a sign of surrender to His will. If the God of the universe holds time itself in His hands, why then should you ever be anxious for anything?
Dear Reader, whenever you find yourself downtrodden, remember the words of the greatest heirloom in all of history, The Bible. A day is coming when there will be no more tears, for we have a hope of a Savior who is comin’ back this way.
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat, the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls — yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places. – Book of Habakkuk 3:17-19