“But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.”  Psalm 73:28


Deborah Forsythe came to know the Lord as her personal Savior at a young age and knew early in her life that she wanted to serve the Lord in full time Christian ministry. She graduated from Bob Jones University with a degree in English. Shortly after graduation she married Stephen Forsythe and the Lord blessed them with four children. They home schooled the children for six years in the Greenville, SC area while Stephen attended graduate school. Then, in 1993 the Lord took Stephen home to Heaven after battling Lou Gehrig’s disease for 2 1/2 years. Deborah subsequently authored the gospel tract, “Triumph Over Tragedy” as a witnessing tool for her family. She herself is a survivor of colon cancer. Mrs. Forsythe is a member of Faith Baptist Church in Taylors, SC and is employed at Bob Jones University.

Triumph Over Tragedy


Deborah Forsythe

If your doctor told you that you only had two to five more years to live, how would you respond? My husband, Stephen, received just such news. On November 15, 1990, he learned that the weakness he was experiencing in his legs was a symptom of a terminal illness.

In the next several months Stephen’s legs lost more and more strength. He would fall without warning and would fatigue quickly. At 37 years old he was a cheerful, active man who enjoyed his four young children, Ben, Melody, Sarah , Anna, sang in the church choir, and drove a semi truck for a living. Within two and a half years, Stephen could barely speak or move.

He still had a keen and active mind, but it was trapped inside a dying body, dependent on others to meet all of his physical needs. Stephen was diagnosed with amyotropic lateral sclerosis, a motor neuron disease more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s.

We had seen two other friends succumb to this cruel and slow death, but we never imagined it would affect us. Only those who have had similar circumstances can understand our pain and heartbreak.  Our whole world changed. For all of us, nothing would ever be the same again.

Soon Stephen had to quit his job. He “progressed” from cane to a wheelchair within a year. We sold our two- level home and moved into a single level. We pulled together as a family with fierce determination. The children helped with their father’s shoes and jacket, straightened his pillows, brought things he needed, and picked up things he dropped. We all tried to keep him involved in our lives by sharing with him our daily plans and activities.


An earlier photo of Stephen with his family.

By thanksgiving 1992, he could no longer use either hand. Feeding him a simple meal could take an hour and exhausted him. Soon he was losing weight. Breathing became increasingly difficult. We used an alphabet board to communicate. Each level of decline in Stephen’s health brought more heartache.


On April 30, 1993, our family doctor suspected excess fluid on Stephen’s lungs and ordered X-rays. As I drove to the hospital, Stephen grew lethargic. Then while in X-ray, he stopped breathing. The attendants moved quickly to revive him, but the doctors told me he was in the final stages of the disease. While in ICU, however, he was alert, and for his last three days we talked, laughed, cried, held hands, and prayed. Stephen told me he was ready to go Home. On May 4th, while sedated, he drew his last breath and passed quietly into eternity.


We don’t always understand why God allows tragedy into a persons life. God is not obligated to tell us why or to keep us from experiencing pain or loss. But Stephen’s story ends, not in tragedy, but in triumph. Years earlier he had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his own personal Savior.


Consequently, he had no fear of death. He could face eternity with triumphant expectation because he was confident of a home in heaven. You, too, can experience freedom from fear and can triumph over any circumstances of this life. And have assurance of a home in heaven. Romans 10:9 tells you how:


“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”


Do you admit that you are a sinner?


“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23


Do you realize that because of your sin, you will die (spend eternity in Hell) unless you ask God to save you?


“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23


Do you understand that you cannot save yourself?


“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9


Do you believe that Christ died in your place?


“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8


If you have answered “yes” to these questions, then simply confess to the Lord right now that you are a sinner and ask him to save you.


To know more about the peace the Forsythe family had, while they were faced with circumstances, as written, by Deborah Forsythe please visit Promise of Hope.




All textual and pictorial content on this page taken from the “Triumph over Tragedy” tract by the Forsythe family.  For additional information about the Bible or on your spiritual life, write to:  The Forsythe Family, Faith Baptist Church, 500 West Lee Road, Taylors, SC 29687-2513.