“I’m still here; I want to go.” These are among the last words, if not the very last words, of our beloved sister-in-Christ, Janet Randolph. Shortly after saying these words, the angels came gently and carried Janet into “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22) on Dec. 8, 2017. For most of her last years, Janet had to deal with a number of health issues; so like the apostle Paul, who said, “For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21), her desire was to “be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (II Cor. 5:8). She wanted to go home.
I first met Janet when she moved from Arkansas to Algood to be a member of the Northeast church and to become a strong supporter of Tennessee Bible College. Following the death of her husband, Billy, Janet sold her house as quickly as she could and moved, not knowing anyone here except brother Malcolm, who had held a Gospel Meeting where she was living then.
Janet was excited about becoming a member of the Northeast church. While she awaited the selling of her house in Arkansas, she obtained a directory of our members; and as a result many of you received letters from her even before you met her. After she arrived, many of us received “notes,” cards, and letters from Janet on many occasions. Her “notes” were often 2-3 pages in length. Even after she moved away to be near her son, she continued to write letters of encouragement and exhortation to someone mentioned in our bulletin. I have received numbers of these myself. Janet was one who sought to encourage, exhort, and support all who did right.
Janet loved sound Gospel preaching; she loved the Bible, and she would talk to anyone and everyone about the Lord’s church, and God’s Word, and encourage obedience to it. Once when we were on vacation in Panama City Beach, a visitor overheard me say that I was from Cookeville, Tennessee. He remembered a Christian lady who had, years before, led him to Christ. Yes, it was Janet Randolph. For years Janet handled the Bible Correspondence Course students. No one could have done a better job. It would be interesting to know just how many folks will be in Heaven because of either Janet’s teaching, her encouragement, or her example.
Solomon wrote, “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” (Prov. 31:10). In my 56-plus years of preaching, I have known a number of virtuous women whom I considered to be great servants of the Lord. Janet was indeed one of those. She not only loved the Bible, but she knew its teachings well. Her comments in class were always welcomed and demonstrated her great knowledge of God’s Word. The thought of Heaven is made sweeter when we contemplate being reunited with our friends and great servants of God like Janet Randolph. I want to close this tribute to Janet by letting Solomon speak once more about the “virtuous woman.”
“Many daughters have done worthily, But thou excellest them all. Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; But a woman that feareth Jehovah, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; And let her works praise her in the gates” (Prov. 31:29-31).
Paul M. Wilmoth