She Trusted in Him Till the End

In honour of Averil:

Yesterday was a busy day as we said farewell to Averil Ann Muehlenberg. It featured the noon burial at the cemetery with the immediate family, and then the public church funeral service held later in the afternoon. My wife got a special sendoff yesterday. A million thanks to everyone who was involved. The problem is, how do you properly pay tribute to someone in a 90-minute service?

That was the dilemma for all of us. In my case, I was married to her for 41 ½ years out of my 70 ½ years – and had known her around 44 years all up. So my ten-minute talk was quite selective. The whole service can be seen online if you missed it, and you can hear the words and thoughts of all the others involved:

Here, if you don’t mind, I will share a bit about what I tried to say in my short reflection in case you have not yet seen it but are interested.

I began by thanking various folks. That included Anita who had set up a Christian crowd-funding site so early on when we learned that a new immunotherapy that might help would cost us $60,000. But within two weeks all that money came in! That shows how much people cared about Averil – and myself.

And the chief person to thank of course was God himself: for weeks now the weather has been quite cloudy and/or rainy – as it is again today. But Monday was a perfectly sunny day with blue skies everywhere, and even rather mild temperatures. Thank you Lord for that amazing weather. We even brought Jilly dog along to the burial at the cemetery.

I then spoke about how her life was characterised by trust – trust in God through Christ. Here are a few great biblical passages on this (the four starred verses are the ones I used in the service, and are especially important):

Job 13:15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him

Psalm 13:5 I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

*Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

*Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 115:11 You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.

Psalm 125:1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

*Isaiah 26:4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Jeremiah 17:7 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.

*Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.

I then ran through a dozen photos of her and us.

I then offered two words of testimony. The first came around six months ago. In one of our many meetings with the oncologist he said how amazed he was at how strong, positive and resilient she was, and how she was holding up so well. Averil immediately replied: “It is not me, but my faith”. And by that she did not mean faith in faith or faith in herself, but faith in her Lord Jesus Christ.

The second testimony involved a Christian nurse who was with her when she was in one of the hospitals. Averil always asked about the staff, learned their names, inquired about their well-being, and so on. I mentioned this in the social media a while back, and a few days later this nurse made this comment:

“I can attest that Averil had an enormous impact on those who cared for her. Her graciousness, gratefulness and peace (beyond understanding) profoundly affected the staff in a way that I haven’t seen before. Caring for her was a privilege I cannot express adequately. I will be forever thankful to have been there for that small part of her journey home.” Nurse Michelle Louise

I then featured two quotes. The first comes from Dr James Dobson and his book, When God Doesn’t Make Sense:

In my first film series, “Focus on the Family,” I shared a story about a 5-year-old African-American boy who will never be forgotten by those who knew him. A nurse with whom I worked, Gracie Schaeffler, took care of this lad during the latter days of his life. He was dying of lung cancer, which is a terrifying disease in its final stages. The lungs fill with fluid, and the patient is unable to breathe. It is terribly claustrophobic, especially for a small child.


This little boy had a Christian mother who loved him and stayed by his side through the long ordeal. She cradled him on her lap and talked softly about the Lord. Instinctively, the woman was preparing her son for the final hours to come. Gracie told me that she entered his room one day as death approached, and she heard this lad talking about hearing bells. “The bells are ringing, Mommie,” he said. “I can hear them.”


Gracie thought he was hallucinating because he was already slipping away. She left and returned a few minutes later and again heard him talking about hearing bells ringing. The nurse said to his mother, “I’m sure you know your baby is hearing things that aren’t there. He is hallucinating because of the sickness.”


The mother pulled her son closer to her chest, smiled and said, “No, Miss Schaeffler. He is not hallucinating. I told him when he was frightened — when he couldn’t breathe — if he would listen carefully, he could hear the bells of heaven ringing for him. That is what he’s been talking about all day.”


That precious child died on his mother’s lap later that evening, and he was still talking about the bells of heaven when the angels came to take him. What a brave little trooper he was! His courage was not reported in the newspapers the next day. Neither Tom Brokaw nor Dan Rather told his story on the evening news. Yet he and his mother belong forever in our “Heroes’ Hall of Fame.”

Averil too was such a brave trooper.

Image of When God Doesn't Make Sense
When God Doesn't Make Sense by Dobson, James C. (Author) Amazon logo

My second quote is one of my fave from the famous English Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon: “God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart. When you are so weak that you cannot do much more than cry, you coin diamonds with both your eyes. The sweetest prayers God ever hears are the groans and sighs of those who have no hope in anything but his love.”

I then closed with a song I had only discovered a few weeks ago. Near her end I played a Christian worship music video for her near her bedside. Even though she was really not responding by this point, it was hoped the music would still be heard and bless her spirit.

A few days later I found some massive 12-hour video with a kazillion such worship and praise songs. Perhaps an hour in, I heard a song that seemed to so perfectly describe Averil. I had not heard it before but I loved the lyrics – and the music. So I sought to look it up. It seems it was first done by Lauren Daigle. It is called “Trust In You.”

However, the version I had heard was by Elenyi. I looked them up and they seem to be three teenage sisters (two born in Chile). You can listen to this beautiful and powerful song here. Please watch – it has become my fave worship song:

The lyrics are these:

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see
I’ve tried to win this war, I confess
My hands are weary, I need Your rest
Mighty warrior, King of the fight
No matter what I face, You’re by my side


When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust
I will trust in You


Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So in all things be my life and breath
I want what You want, Lord, and nothing less


When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through

When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust
I will trust in You
I will trust in You


You are my strength and comfort
You are my steady hand
You are my firm foundation
The rock on which I stand
Your ways are always higher
Your plans are always good
There’s not a place where I’ll go
You’ve not already stood


When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust
I will trust in You
I will trust in You
I will trust in You
I will trust in You

That is what Averil did: she fully trusted in him, even when mountains were not moved, waters were not parted, and questions were not answered. Bless you Averil. I love you. I miss you.


A very good friend and sister in Christ – and someone who has known her fair share of suffering and hardship – posted this after watching the live-stream of the service.

It occurs to me today, that even on his or her worst day a Christian “must” point, much like the Bethlehem Star which led the wise men in the nativity story; towards Christ. Even on his or her hardest day of suffering, on their day of greatest loss, they must not point to self, or even to the greatest achievement of their most precious loved one. They must keep their eyes on Christ, and their finger pointed firmly in same direction.


And not “must” in the sense that they “must”, “or else”. But they “must”; in that they are compelled by the love of Christ Himself, a love which gave everything, even his very life, in order to point us all back to the Father. They are compelled by their love of humanity, by their love of others, that they “must”, even on their worst and hardest day point directly towards a greater good and glory – the only greater good and glory – their Saviour and the Saviour of mankind – Jesus Christ.


I was thinking this today at her funeral, as we celebrated the life of this one of a kind wonderful Christian lady, whose life was lost so painfully to cancer, and who lived a full and selfless life worth celebrating, but really all she in her dying, and her husband in his grief and loss wanted to do was point… even if just one person, toward their beloved Saviour.


Difficult, I would imagine for their friends and family who aren’t Christian to understand; why can’t we have this one day just for her, why can’t her husband have this one day just to grieve and to be … can’t we all just have one day when we can just focus on something else, but that is not true in the Christian’s spirit, even for a second, for just like the shining star in the Christ birth story, it is within their redeemed nature and it is what they were created to do; it is all in fact they “must do”, to shine brightly and point steadfastly their loved ones toward their beloved Saviour; Christ.

Beautiful, powerful and anointed words – bless you Rissa Hann.


A few brief things about the service. Well done Carolyn Williamson, Crossway Baptist Church, and the techie crew. You all did a fantastic job. Three things however might be pointed out – especially for those who only saw the live-stream version:

-Sadly at first the sound was very low. A friend there was texted by a mutual friend watching online and he told him about this, so he told the techies. So after a very quiet first 20 minutes, the volume levels were raised thankfully. Apologies for those who had a hard time hearing the first bits in the live-stream.

-In my PowerPoint slideshow talk the sole cameraman had focused on me, so the dozen pictures I had selected were not seen. That is true of the quotes I had slides of as well. Apologies for those who wanted to see them.

-In the song that followed my talk, for some reason the version I had sent through to them which featured the lyrics did not seem to play. The video and music were still great, although I had also wanted folks to be able to read the lyrics as well! But I have now featured them above.

Thanks again Crossway church team for putting on such a great service in all respects. You are champions.

FINAL update!

Good news! The 3 problems with the recording I mentioned are now fixed, thanks to my friend Mark who spent some hours sorting them out. So if you want to see the service as it was seen by those who were there in person, you now can! It is on my YouTube page:

[2312 words]



22 Replies to “She Trusted in Him Till the End”

  1. That was so beautiful Bill, and true, I hope that that one person saw your and her love and faithful trust in Jesus and can find Him for themselves, I was privileged to share of Jesus love at my sister and my mum’s funeral last year, I pray someone there will find their Saviour and trust in Him too <3

  2. The good thing is that she is now in Heaven with the Lord and you will see her again soon Bill and you will be reunited with her again soon Bill. God bless.

    Regards John

  3. Thank you Bill, and all the best in dealing with the loss of beautiful Averil.

  4. This article greatly ministered to me Bill. I could sense God’s Spirit as I read it giving me hope. Your wife’s trust in the suffering shone the love of God strongly. The lyrics to that song & words from the Psalms in last week have spoken to me greatly. I really needed this at a time of great suffering myself.
    Thank you & the Father of lights

  5. May the Comforter be very close to you and your boys, now and in the days ahead. Thank you for the privilege of being able to catch a glimpse of a beautiful and courageous lady. What joy she must have brought to her Lord and now rejoicing in His presence. You will miss her indeed..

  6. I am undergoing similar testing as my own beloved husband’s condition steadily worsens. The local hospice has been magnificent, particularly with pain control, and I am struck by the compassion and goodwill of people around us. However, Ernest is undergoing long periods of unconsciousness now and I may have already said goodbye to him. Bill, your constant biblical references throughout your own beautiful Averil’s ascent to heavenly glory have been so inspiring and comforting and given cause for reflection and prayer. Thank you for your constant display of love and faith throughout your ordeal. You have given succour and support to many of us who are enduring similar trials to your own. Thank you from one of them.

  7. Praying without ceasing.

    It was such a blessing to be there and learn more about Averil’s gracious character and life (actually, both of you, really).

    And it was wonderfully encouraging to meet fellow believers, men fighting the same battles as we face. I was so blessed to meet and talk with Warwick, Graham Mc, Mark R and John B.

  8. Good news! For those who viewed the live-stream of Averil’s memorial service (or still plan to), I mentioned yesterday that there were 3 problems with the recording (very low volume at first; none of my slides appearing; no lyrics on the song I chose). Well, young Mark Rabich – techie extraordinaire – spent quite a few hours fixing those 3 problems! So if you want to see the service as it was seen by those who were there in person, you now can! It is on my YouTube page:

  9. Thank you Bill for uploading the updated version! (and thanks Mark for doing the fixes)

    Yes! Worshipping the Lord is the only true comforting way to deal with sadness.

  10. At 4.50 pm yesterday, my beloved husband Ernest entered Paradise.

    Once again, Bill, I want to thank you so much for sharing your own trial with your own beautiful Averil and your account of what it was like letting go of the love of your own life and watching her depart for heavenly glory. They have been a deep consolation and inspiration for those of us who have struggled and dealt with similar issues of illness and mortality in our own lives and those of our own loved ones. And I have a suggestion, which I hope you will give prayerful deliberation to. When the time is right, would you consider collecting your experiences within a book? That way, you could reach, console and inspire even more people with your painful yet transcendentally beautiful account of faith, love and loss. One day, we shall see both Averil and Ernest again, in a place where there are no tears and no more grief or pain.

  11. Bill, you have my assurance that my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of difficulty that you’re going through, please accept my deepest condolences on the passing of your beloved wife Averil. I hope you can manage dealing with the sadness. Although I have never met her in this life, I do look forward to the day of being introduced to her in the place prepared by our Almighty God for her, where there will be no pain and no tears. For now, would you mind me share with you two songs? The first one is Judith Durham & ‘The Seekers’ (2022) – “Carry Me” – YouTube written for the late Judith Durham by Bruce Woodley, a member of her Aussie folk pop group The Seekers, a few months before her death in 2022. The second is “Just a closer walk with Thee” by ‘The Seekers’ – YouTube May you find them fitting and may you be encouraged by the words of the apostle Paul: “Brothers, we do not want you ….. to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.” (1Th 4:13,14;18) Thank you again for permitting me often tap into your rich resources – the big archives of well-written articles – for my own use.
    Paul AU from across the ditch

  12. Thank you so much for your solace, Bill, and prayers for me and family. After you have gone through mourning and grief for the inspiring and godly woman you have lost, it would be wonderful to see a book about your experiences, which would be such a magnificent testimonial to your own and Averil’s journey of faith through such a difficult time. I will also pray for you and your family at this time and always remember, we worship a God of healing, love, compassion and mercy who always walks alongside us, even at what seem to be the most heartbreaking times. I am crying as I write this, but I know where to go for comfort, for our Lord is as steadfast to us as diamond and as precious.

  13. I check in from time to time and was unaware Averil had put off her earthly flesh. Thank you for sharing this and may the God of all comfort, comfort you at this time and may His grace be most present when you need it.

  14. Dear Bill, I have the fondest memories of you and Averil coming to England and having an English breakfast with me on Worthing pier, after or just before we had visited Steve Stevens – another great warrior. Was it really eight years ago? Claudie and I have just watched your beautiful service presented by Mark Rabich which made us feel we had been with Averil on her life’s journey to be with the Lord.

    Many Thanks and God bless you and the boys

    David and Claudie Skinner UK

  15. Bill, my condolences to you on the passing of your beloved Averil. May our Lord and Saviour comfort you in the days ahead until you meet again in glory to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away.

    kindest regards
    Joy Smith, Busselton

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