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.
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.