The mystery and the enigmatic personality of Tammy Faye will be seen and pondered no more for now. Tammy Faye died the day after her last interview with CNNs Larry King. She died early Friday morning of in-operable lung cancer at age 65.
Although her life was always controversial hardly any American would dare not to say that she kept her faith in Christ through it all. It is that fact that does more to encourage people than all the negative ramifications of all that has gone on in her early days of evangelistic work.
She is survived by her husband Roe Messner and two children Jay Bakker and Tammy Sue. She fought her cancer for several years and when asked by Larry King how much time the doctor had given her to live she replied with I dont want to know. Few would have thought that she had as little as one day left.
Cracking a smile and speaking positively in almost every answer she gave Larry King made it impossible to see that nothing in her spirit was sick at all. She answered with wit and full cognizance every question King asked and with a cheeriness that once again makes her a profoundly an American enigma.
King received a over 200,000 e-mails after the interview with Tammy many who were deeply concerned for her and wanted to assure her that their prayers were still being offered up for her. Her own website went down shortly after her passing. It is not known why but they too may have been inundated with responses following the Larry King interview.
Tammy Faye and her former husband Jim Bakker will be remembered for their meteoric rise to the top of the televangelist list of whos who. Both Jim and Tammy went on to engage in new ministry and both seemed to not just recover but flourish in a less public but far deeper way.
Husband Roe Messner has been helping to build churches for over four decades. Roe was both a writer and a building contractor. He co-authored Building for the Master: By Design. Tammy was quick to say that her greatest source of close support during her illness came from Roe.
Both Jim and Tammy have been publicly criticized and denigrated since the events following the fall of the PTL Ministries during the 1980s but they have both continued in labor for the Lord.
Tammys persistence in her faith and refusal to curl up and fade away is a strong testimony to the Lords power not just to save but to restore. She picked herself up after the problems with PTL and dusted herself off and defied the naysayers by using the same grace she first found in her salvation.
It is in that revival of purpose and clear showing of the restorative grace of God that Tammy Faye approached her last hours of life. The critics notwithstanding her testimony will encourage millions who could no more forget Tammy than their own Sister or Mother.
We will miss her but we are assured that the same Savior that called her into the Kingdom is able to carry her home safely in his love. For those of us who trust the words of Christ we know she is only lost to us for a while because he said, Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? John 11: 25, 26