Today was a sad day! Our family lost a precious man. He was a brother-in-law to me, and he leaves behind a huge family that loved him very much.
Jo and Arthur Ray lived the true example of what the covenant of marriage is suppose to look like. They were faithful to one another for 40 years. As the years passed in their marriage they were faced with many challenges. Some so great that many marriages would have not survived. Yet they stayed the course.
They lived a very simple life where sometimes just having the necessities was a bit challenging. Yet they never once complained. Their lives defined what contentment looks like: being happy with what you have.
Several years ago Arthur Ray was faced with a health crisis that would eventually render him confined to a wheelchair and dependent on the care of his precious wife. This was difficult to accept since he was always busy fixing things or doing mechanic work. He was a very smart man with a tremendous amount of ability.
Many years ago when my family lived in southeast Texas we came to Dallas for a visit with all of our family. We had taken our children to a Rangers game and were headed back up to my parents’ house. Our car broke down in Lewisville around 11:00 pm. Since this was before cell phones, we had to find a pay phone and call for help. Arthur Ray was about 15 minutes away. We called him and he swiftly came to the rescue.
It took him all of about 60 seconds to determine that we needed a new alternator. Thankfully, we were able to find one even though it was late at night. I thought for sure it would take a while to fix, having watched my husband change them in the past. However, I think it may have taken Arthur Ray about 15 minutes. He was a man that would do anything for anyone.
For seven years we have watched the love, devotion and sacrifice that Jo has shown for her husband in very trying circumstances. She has joyfully been his caregiver around the clock.
Arthur Ray defied the odds many times. He had been on hospice two previous times before this last time. The doctors would say how surprised they were to see him time after time. Medically they would think he was at the end of his journey only to find out that God had other plans.
We saw Jo and Arthur Ray both make professions of faith in Jesus Christ a few years ago. Afterwards, we watched as they demonstrated their faith by sharing with their doctors, nurses, family and friends what God had done in their lives. They would quickly acknowledge how God had answered prayers during some of the most difficult days.
The last time that we visited with them, Arthur Ray assured us that God was still working in his life. He said “I don’t know what He’s doing, but He’s doing something.” He knew that when He drew his last breath that he would be with Jesus, there was no question in his heart or mind.
On Thanksgiving Day I made a post on Facebook asking for people to say what they were thankful for. Jo’s reply, “One more day”. Her response brought tears to my eyes because yes, she was truly thankful for one more day with her beloved husband.
As his journey here on earth was nearing an end, his precious wife read Psalms 23 to him. She sang two of his favorite songs to him, “Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone” and “Because He Lives”. My goodness, what a testament of how marriage is suppose to be!
It is so easy to find things to complain about or let things steal our joy. I think if someone had reason to complain it would be Jo and Arthur Ray. Life has been anything but easy. The example of faithfulness they have been has left an impression on my life.
Thank you Jo for your example of devotion, love and sacrifice for Arthur Ray. You are a true example of what Proverbs 31 speaks about.
Because He lives, we can face tomorrow.