Do you know anyone who is angry at God or questioning His goodness due to a variety of troubles such as broken relationships, broken health or broken ambitions? Read the story of Ruth Moran and share it with them.
In 1999 Ruth learned that she had a rare form of slow-growing cancer. She endured more than ten disfiguring surgeries to remove the cancer and repair the resulting damage. She lost most of her lower right jaw, leaving her to receive all of her nutrition through a feeding tube during the last seven years of her life. Then she lost use of her right eye and most of the vision in her left. She loved to sing, but finally lost that ability as well.
Though Ruth’s life was increasingly overtaken by cancer, she was never defined by it. Her life was defined by one towering, overwhelming truth: Jesus is the treasure. Ruth insisted on trusting and loving Jesus as her treasure even as the fatal disease closed in on her.
Ruth touched many lives with her joyful spirit and ministry to others in need, even while she herself was suffering. One friend recently wrote, “She was an incredible help to me at a time when I doubted God’s goodness—and she didn’t even know it.” Another wrote a moving tribute, which you can read here.
Some would explain Ruth’s unbroken spirit by saying that she was born that way. This is partly true. She honed feistiness to a high art form. As the baby of the family, that quality served her well. Considering the trials that I inflicted on all three of my sisters, it’s a wonder that any of them survived my childhood. If I had a brother, they could have been spared. Nevertheless Ruth, as well as my other sisters, maintained that endearing inclination possessed by most sisters: to love their big brother regardless of how he sometimes treated them and whether or not he appreciated it.
One reason for Ruth’s victorious life is the ministry of three people whose care sustained her. The first is her husband Tim, a lieutenant colonel in the North Carolina Air National Guard. Tim consistently and tenderly loved Ruth as Christ loves His Church. In so doing he set a priceless example for his sons and other young men in their church.
The second is my sister Kathleen, who gave up a good job to move in with the Morans. Kathleen assisted in the schooling of the boys. She gave herself completely to Ruth’s many needs. Kathleen ministered to her in the dark lonely nights when the headaches were severe and hope seemed futile, and performed ten thousand labors of love.
The third is my sister Susan, who holds a very responsible position in a large church. She dropped everything many times to make the two-hour trip to Ruth’s house, fly to M.D. Anderson in Houston with her, and care for her through many days after numerous surgeries. Susan was a tireless advocate for Ruth.
Ultimately there is no human explanation for Ruth’s life. Above all, God’s grace sustained her. When she first was diagnosed, Satan recycled his accusation that God is not both great and good. Ruth’s consistent answer during 13 years of cancer was, “Yes, He is.” That was her final answer at 5:16 a.m. on November 12. The case was closed on Satan’s accusation. Then it was Satan’s turn to suffer(defeat)—again.
Ruth left specific instructions for her funeral, to be carried out as far as was practical. Susan relates the following story. Neither of us is making this up. In the middle of the night before Ruth’s funeral, while Susan was sleeping in Ruth’s office, Ruth’s printer abruptly turned on and proceeded to print several pages, even though its queue was empty. Startled, Susan examined the document and found that it was Ruth’s funeral instructions. True to form, Ruth was making sure that everyone was doing the jobs that she left for them.
One job that Ruth did not mention is our opportunity to carry the testimony of her life to others. She never surrendered her belief that God is good, no matter what. By putting her testimony into the hands of others, we can show them that powerful truth stated by someone who went through “no matter what.”
Ruth’s written testimony can be downloaded from her ministry website. Bulk copies in printed form are available on request. Memorial gifts will be used to duplicate DVD’s of Ruth’s spoken testimony and distribute them through her website, as well as maintain the website. Gifts are tax exempt and may be made to:
Bright Hope Ministries
230 Sunset Lake Road
Stanfield, NC 28163