As you probably already know, Lois Evans, wife of Tony Evans, passed into heaven on Monday morning, December 30. In Tony’s words, “Just before the sun came up this morning, the love of my life, Lois Irene Evans, transitioned from earth and watched her first sunrise from heaven.”
Anyone who knew this couple was very much aware of how much they loved each other. Tony honored Lois with respect and admiration. Whether sitting together at a table or engaged in conversation with others, these two modeled the beautiful relationship of Christ and His Church.
At a moment like this it all comes down to two simple questions: Is what we believe about heaven real? And what is the legacy that we leave behind? Lois knows the answer to the first question much better than we do, but we have the privilege of assessing the last question, legacy.
Believe it or not, I met Tony Evans back in about 1976 and invited him to preach at the Edgewater Baptist Church here in Chicago where I served as Senior Pastor. Dr. Haddon Robinson, who taught homiletics at Dallas Seminary, contacted me saying that he was helping a young man find a church where he could preach. On his recommendation I invited Tony, and his text was Romans 12:1: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
I remember this message with clarity, not because I have a good memory but because it was preached so well—with conviction, biblical fidelity, and relevant illustrations. Over the following years Tony and I would meet at various speaking events and conferences, and that is how I got to know Lois.
Tony says he was holding her hand when she died, and then he continues, “Our four children surrounded her as well. As she slipped away, we told her how much we love her, how proud we are of her, and how thankful we are for the life she has lived.”
Around that bed was her greatest legacy: Four children who are walking with God, some of whom are now married with children of their own. The lasting impact of her life as a wife, a mother, and a servant to so many will go on forever. Deeds long forgotten on earth are remembered in heaven. Lois is an example of a beautiful godly woman who knew that time is short and eternity is long.
I once heard Tony say in a sermon that after he died, some man would come along and talk Lois into marrying him. Tony was joking, of course, but I suspect all of us husbands assume we will die before our wives do. The death of Lois reminds us that we do not know who will go first, or who will go next. Either way, we had best invest in eternity.
Her daughter, Priscilla Shirer, said it so beautifully: “Goodnight my beautiful, beloved Mommy. I’ll see you in the morning.” No one can ask for a greater legacy than that.
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on…that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them” (Revelation 14:13). God never lets us see all the good we do here on Earth; that will only be revealed someday when “our deeds follow us.” Like a stone thrown into a pond, Lois’ prayers, love, and example created ripples that go all the way to the shore.
And by the way, I love you, Tony! Thanks for being a great friend. Your days will be filled with loneliness and sorrow, but God will give you His comfort. And keep preaching those memorable sermons that some of us will never forget.