May 18, 2001
Wayne M. Williams Sr. slipped the bonds of life and is now in the arms of Jesus.
For death is just a change of address. We go to a place of freedom. A place that is free of pain, free of sorrow, free of doubt, free of uncertainty.
Saturday night, Dad Williams moved from Denver Street in Turner, where he left behind the earthly possessions, to Jesus street in Heaven where there was a room prepared and waiting. Jesus said that He would go and prepare a place for us that we may be there also. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul, “Wayne has run the race, he has fought a good fight, and now he has crossed the finish line."
Wayne’s father, Harrison Williams, raised his family to know God. His Father started school for the first time when he was 16 and had a total of 23 months of school. He had a deep desire for knowledge that he passed along to his children.
He was a self educated man. He studied Greek and Latin. He knew the Bible from cover to cover. He preached the word of God in Texas to any and all and did so until the day he died.
He had God’s promise that his children would come to know the Lord.
Well, it took some time for Wayne to come back to his Godly heritage. But come back … he did.
This poem I am about to read captures Wayne’s spiritual journey. The love of God and the price Jesus paid on the cross captured his heart.
The theme of the music Wayne wrote and sang had to do with the Cross. The title is “Arms of Love”
Arms of Love
I was lost in sin from doing my will,
My need was great, impossible to fill.
Then someone told me of Your love divine,
How You came to earth to save mankind.
I called Your name Lord, not knowing the cross.
Would You be there, for me - the lost?
Would I be worthy to call Your name?
The deeds I had done, had caused You shame.
You were there, oh Lord, waiting for me,
With arms open wide for all to see.
You lifted me up from my deep, dark sin,
And gave me peace, such peace, within.
I sought Your touch for the love I’d missed
From the times of doing, what I thought best.
I sought Your presence to receive Your love,
And found such joy, God’s gift from above.
Your love covered me, in all my need,
I saw the cross where You did bleed.
I felt Your love growing deep within.
Your touch cleansed me from where I’d been.
You cleansed my soul from inside to out
By Your love divine, I have no doubt.
Your love surrounds me, all my days,
As I walk with You, learn your ways.
In desperation I had reached for you,
Oh love divine, I found You so true.
So find Him now, oh dear one I pray,
Give Him your life, do it today.
He is waiting for you, with arms of Love,
The precious gift, from God above.
There is grace and mercy, waiting for you,
With love and forgiveness to see you through.
Lord, I call your name, now knowing the Cross
You are always there, for me - the lost.
You make me worthy to call Your name,
So the deeds I do, won’t cause You shame.
John Stevens 2-13-2000
Sometimes we can carry around a lot of baggage in life that is totally unnecessary. We can harbor resentments of things long forgotten. We can let the opportunities for knowing the Savior slip through our fingers like sand.
If we wait until we feel we are good enough to meet Jesus, to take Him as our Savior, we will not make it. We will be lost. He wants us just as we are with all the warts of life, problems, fears and doubts that life can bring. For you see, it is never too late to seek the face of Jesus and give Him our lives as we transition from this state of the flesh (which as I get older is not so great) to the state of the spirit. Even when life is mostly over we can place our life and trust in His hands and it will be secure. Even when we know Jesus, when we feel we are not close to Him at times, we can have the assurance, that blessed assurance, that He is always near, ever present, holding our hand, leading us to our destination. For without a doubt, according to Romans 8:38-39 “Jesus is our eternal security”. Nothing can separate us from Him.
I have known Wayne for over 35 years, nearly 34 years as his son-in-law. He has always been a man of high integrity and honesty. He has been the best father in law a man could have. Anna already knows this. She is the best mother-in-law a guy can have. Over the years Wayne and I have talked for hours and days at a time about various subjects. I have seen him grow in his walk with God. Some may have thought he was a little unorthodox but his heart was right and his love of spiritual things was evident.
At Christmas times when my family would visit for a week… when everyone had gone to bed…. in the wee hours of the morning, he would be strumming his guitar and singing hymns. I could hear him in the quiet of the night. It was a comfort to me to know that the Lord was on his mind. That he sang of God’s Love. That he knew of God’s love.
It has been a great privilege to know Wayne and listen to the stories he had to tell about WWII when he was an MP and many other stories throughout his life. I never ceased to enjoy the stories… just as I enjoyed hearing the stories over and over from my father who got his new address in 1996. My Father came to know Jesus in his late sixties. He knew and rejected accepting the Lord as his Savior until one Sunday morning in church, he walked down and knelt at an alter and said, “it is time”.
My father and dad Williams saw each other only once many years ago at Christmas time. It was fun to watch them talk and reminisce about the old times. Now they both live on the same street - for there is only one street name there…. Jesus Street.
Dad Williams had a lot of questions about life. About things in the Bible mostly, for he studied the word. Many times he asked me questions year after year. I apparently did not get any smarter from year to year because we went over it again and again. Now he can get the answers he always was trying to figure out.
He will be missed by his family and friends. I believe his angel came and escorted him into God’s presence. Home at last. The angels are rejoicing in Heaven today because another one made it home.
(This was delivered at my father-in-law’s funeral. He was rough on the exterior but on the inside… kind, gentle, loving man. I am a better man because of knowing him. )