Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

Ethel McGuiggan Died

I remember, as a young preacher student at Sunset School of Preaching, so many years ago that you had to dodge dinosaurs when you drove your chariot down the street…I remember the excitement I felt to know that Jim McGuiggan was coming to Lubbock in the second term of my four term enrollment. Jim was the greatest Bible teacher I ever had. It was a dream come true for me to sit at his feet in class and learn the Word of God as it fell from his lips and changed our lives in blessed ways. But not only did we get to study under Jim, we (students) were even invited to his home on regular occasions where he and his wonderful wife, Ethel, would host a meal for us…and just offer us such warm hospitality. They made us feel right at home. Ethel was such an encourager. She always wore a smile. She treated all those young preacher wives as if they were her daughters. That was the Fall of 1973,

The years since then found Ethel undergoing serious health setbacks, one after another. For many, many years she was confined to home and required constant care. She was unable to walk. She had difficulty breathing. And on…and on…went the list of problems. Jim and Ethel made their home in Holywood, Northern Ireland. There Jim worked with a small group of believers, as he could, while caring for Ethel. He continued his rich studies of the Word and writing for and maintaining his website ( http://www.jimmcguiggan.com/ ).

Today, I read the cryptic e-mail…”My sweet Ethel died this morning (Easter Sunday). I’m devastated with grief…paralyzed, Jim.”

For some time now, because of Ethel’s physical condition, I have been expecting to receive this news. I know that some who will read this knew Ethel in those days when we were attending Sunset. I know you treasure her as did all who knew her. I know some of you did not know her…but, because you have the kind of heart you do, you will share in our sense of loss as best you can.

To Ethel’s Jim, 

I want you to know I never knew a soul more Christ-like in her caring for all others than your bride, Ethel. I remember also how her eyes always shone with such love for you and for your precious children.

It is beyond us, at this moment, to be able to accept her leaving…and yet…

Know that our prayers…our very aching hearts…are with you and with all your family and friends.

Please, dear teacher, try to keep breathing…breathing out…and breathing in. May the Lord you’ve served so well, strengthen you as you face this mighty and enduring loss. May He comfort you in all your terrible loneliness. May He encourage you often with precious memories to surround and support your spirit like dear friends come home for a visit. And may He beckon to you by means of her presence there with Him in lovely ways that help keep you moving toward re-union and renewal of all you and she held and hold dear.

Love…always…D

It was on Easter Sunday, Ethel went home with Jesus. His birth from the borrowed tomb gave birth to Ethel’s hope which sustained her through terrible trials in this life, carried her all the way to Paradise with her Lord and will see her one day resurrected and re-united with her then glorified body that will never fail her or cause her grief and in which she will share eternity with her Lord and with all her beloved who loved His appearing.

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15 thoughts on “Ethel McGuiggan Died

  1. My Dear Jim, if you read this know that my heart knows how yours aches with losing someone…especially your beautiful Ethel. Jim I will never forget your love and loyalty for your “Sweet Ethel”. We all knew Ethel had a lot of health problems but she lived on because of the great love and care you gave her. I heard you could hardly breathe and felt paralyzed when she passed. Yet you must still go on with your regular living though nothing is regular at all right now. You must wonder how you can go on without your loved one. You wonder if you will ever feel better from this trauma in your life. You know God’s heart through your deep studies. Your preaching and teaching have helped so many of us come to know God’s heart of love better. But when death comes and the separation from those we love, in spite of what we know, IT IS TERRIBLY HARD. But it comes to us thru the times of grief and sorrow that God has tried to prepare us for DEATH. We have learned it is Not Forever and that God’s Plan helps us move forward after a time of grieving and hurting, because we Know God Has a Mansion just over the Hilltop (Heaven waiting for us and our loved ones there waiting for us also).
    I cry as I write this to you, Jim, as I know you are hurting so badly. We who have known you wish you did not have to go thru this – losing your life-long companion that you cherished so much (SWEET LOVING ETHEL). I pray God and People who love you will comfort you and your children as you endure this time in your life. Know Jim that our Family will always have fond memories of you and your goodness to us in showing us through your heart, life and teaching so much more of what Jesus and God are like. You not only taught us and cared about us, you let us be around you. As busy as you were…and as in demand as you were…we got to be near you and you made us comfortable in your presence…accepting us and loving us. I and my family will never forget this, Jim.
    Wish we could be with you in your loss but I always remember this from our Lord “I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU”. You will recognize this in the coming days…the people who will pray, be with you and just sit with you and hug you and love you and just be thoughtful and good to you. It is Our God Loving you and comforting you like He said He would. Our God loves us and knows when we are in pain and hurting. He will give us comfort and love His special way and thru His people here on earth. I know he has done this for our Family.

    I LOVE YOU JIM AND WILL BE THINKING OF YOU AND PRAYING IN THE COMING DAYS THAT YOUR HEART WILL BE RELIEVED FROM THE BROKENESS AND ACHING WITH TIME. WE, ALONG WITH YOU, YOU WILL NEVER FORGET YOUR ETHEL I HOPE WITH TIME YOU WILL BREATHE EASIER. I DON’T MEAN TO SAY THAT IT WILL BE EASIER BEING WITHOUT ETHEL…BUT YOUR BODY WILL RELAX AFTER AWHILE WITH THE GRIEVING. I KNOW YOU ALREADY KNOW ALL OF THIS. MY FAMILY AND I HAVE EXPERIENCED DEATH TWICE IN THE LOSS OF OUR YOUNGEST SISTER AND OUR YOUNGEST BROTHER IN THE LAST THREE YEARS. NOW, WE KNOW MORE PERSONALLY HOW GRIEVING AND MISSING THEM AFFECTS YOU SO MUCH.

    LOVE ALWAYS TO YOU JIM – MY FRIEND – TO ONE WHO LOVED US AND SHOWED IT – Gail

    • oakesclan on said:

      Well said, sis. I have nothing to add. Thank you for sharing and for caring for our good brother Jim and for the loss he is experiencing. God bless you.

  2. Jim,

    I have been reading, “Celebrating the Wrath of God” for the last few days. Just yesterday I read chapter 13 where you spoke about your Ethel. You said, “In Ethel I see a life of brave and cheerful faith lived out before me day after day.” As I read what you wrote about taking care of this one you love so much, I thought of how difficult it must be for both of you.

    Now that part of the struggle has ended. She has been released from that pain and suffering and now sits beside the One whom she trusted. The One she knew was using it all to a higher purpose.

    You are left to finish the race. I cannot imagine what it is like to lose one that you have loved so much. You must be grateful for her suffering to end, but hesitant to take up this life that lies before you. But you will take it … you will live it … to His glory, because that’s who you are.

    In your own words, “God is taking note of it all” … He is watching, knowing that you will take on this next part as you did the part before … with faith that He knows what He’s doing and that He has you in His grip. You are safe.

    • oakesclan on said:

      Amen and Amen, Paige. Thank you for writing these heartfelt words to one who has always had such a heart for others. I agree with Jim and you…”God is taking note of it all.”

  3. billy on said:

    Doug,
    thank you for your kind words about Jim & Ethel, they have helped me.
    billy

    • oakesclan on said:

      Billy,
      So good to hear from you. I hope you and yours are doing well.
      I wouldn’t know anything to say about Jim and Ethel, except something kind filled with gratitude to God for them. It’s good to think of her so much better off there with our Lord…but so tough to think of the sorrow Jim bears in her absence.
      God bless, D

  4. Well, not sure how you linked to my blog on Jim and Ethel but I saw it. Well said. I had just asked Jim by email last Thursday about Ethel. He said she wasn’t doing well at all and wouldn’t until Jesus came back and restored our bodies, whatever that means. That was Friday and 2 days later….

    Doug

    • oakesclan on said:

      Doug, I have no idea how my blog linked to yours either. I don’t understand such things. But it was good to hear from you. Our mutual love for Jim and Ethel has us on the same page today.
      One of these days God will bring Ethel back to her resurrected body which will immediately be changed in order to be suited to live immortally. The amazing contrast in that to all the medical concerns and contraptions that Ethel dealt with so long in her dear life on earth will have her and all who love her rejoicing forever. If in this life only we have hoped in Jesus Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But it’s not for this life only, is it? Not for Ethel either. God is good. I know He will help Jim deal with such a terrific blow. Take care, Doug.

  5. Beverly Sheldon on said:

    I don’t know any of you people, and have never met Jim and Ethel, but stumbled on this web site after googling Ethel’s name. I have read numerous books of Jim’s over the years, and discovered his web site recently, and have been exchanging e-mails with him on occasion. Yes, the wonderful man e-mails to perfect strangers – he is that kind! In our little bit of correspondence, I have fallen in love with him and his dear wife. “Jesus, Hero of Thy Soul” is my favorite book next to the Bible, and now I am rereading Celebrating the Wrath of God. I have NEVER read any more powerful Christian books than his. Besides telling the truth, he is so kind and compassionate and understanding of the human condition in all its sin and fraility. I haev appreciated reading your above messages, those of you who personally know Jim and Ethel. What a blessing to have had them in your lives! Her death IS devastating, and Jim’s pain IS ours as well, wether we knew them or not. Oh what a wonderful love affair they had/have! Thank you, fellow believers in Christ, for allowing me to share your feelings as well.

    • oakesclan on said:

      Dear Beverly,
      It was so good of you to write your tribute to Jim and Ethel here. I am in complete agreement with you as to Jim’s writings. The two books you mentioned are indeed powerful in their insights.
      I was privileged to sit at Jim’s feet as a young preacher student 36 years ago. Jim’s influence in my understanding of God and His Word…in my preaching and teaching…and in my attempts to relate to others…is undeniable.
      I am glad you have been blessed as well.
      Sister Ethel was one of those rare, precious souls who had a heart for everyone. Just think of her joy in the presence of Jesus right now! It was a sweet privilege to know her in this life…and now to look forward to the coming re-union.
      Please, Beverly, stop by any time.

  6. I am so sorry. I went to their home. wonderful lady and homemaker back then. I never forgot her. She cooked potato casserole and served it well. I loved her salad. God love her. She was Jim’s all and all. I just saw it. He played the guitar for us and she sang. Good memories. Oh how I wish everone i meet could have met her. They were the very best there ever were. He is the best teacher I ever met. I tried hard to be this in my life. I love them. They are great. When I read that she had died. I cried and prayed to God. I hope Jim heals fast. friend nellie

    • oakesclan on said:

      Dear Nellie,
      Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories of your times with Jim and Ethel.
      All of us who knew her share in your sorrow at her leaving us.
      Truly Jim and Ethel were such an effective ministry team. They heaped blessing upon blessing on all the Lord brought to them.
      Please do keep Jim and their family in prayer.

  7. Alexis mcguiggan on said:

    thank you for posting this about my grandma my daddy george mcguiggan is hanging in there but if my grandpa jim is reading i love u!

    love
    Alexis gail mcguiggan

    • Irene Johnston on said:

      Just wanted to let you all know i was thinking about you all at this sad time. I know how much Ethel will be missed by you all. I have alot of fond memories of her and remember the kind, thoughtful thing that she done for me when things werent going too well.

      Take Care

      Irene x

  8. Beverly Sheldon on said:

    Hello to everyone! Hello to young Alexis Gail McGuiggan, Jim’s granddaughter. I hope your family is finding peace and comfort after the death of your beloved grandmom. I left a note up above after Ethel’s death. Could someone please tell me what Oakesclan is, who you all are. As I said, I found this after googling Ethel’s name. Who are you? Where are you? I just mailed Pastor Jim a letter this week. Does anyone know how he is doing? It is still very sad even for me, a complete stranger, to think of that dear man in his aloneness. But how blessed they both were to have 50 plus years together, and to be married in the Lord! What a joyous life they had, and will once again have when reunited one day. Praise God! Beverly Sheldon, Baltimore MD bev@hayesconstruction.net

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