The sound of muffled crying drew me back to the door I had just passed. As I knocked gently on the open door, I called out, "Ada? Is there something I can help you with?" She sat in a wheelchair, her back to me, her shoulders trembling. As she reached up with a white cotton handkerchief to wipe her tears, she said, "No. I'm not in your group tonight."
"Now, Ada. That's not what I asked," I said as I moved around to face her. She wore her flannel pajamas and fuzzy slippers, and her curly white strands escaped her flowered night cap. Her wrinkled hands clenched a well-worn Bible and a devotion book. "Are you ready for bed? I can help you get in if you want," I said as I knelt down to look in her eyes.
She shook her head “no,” and ran her hand over the books in her lap. "Tina said she doesn't have time to read my Bible and my devotion." The tears began to flow again. This time, I wiped them away with the handkerchief, noting the pink embroidered cross in the corner.
With Ada tucked snuggly into bed, I sat in the wheelchair next to her and read God's Word and her nightly devotion. As I closed the Bible, I noted that the edges of the cover had tattered over time and the gold edging on the pages had been worn away in spots. I thought of all the times those hands of hers had sought solace, strength, and comfort in the words of our Lord; those wrinkled hands where each line and furrow weren’t just evidence of time, but of seeking out God’s guidance and doing His work.
“Thank you,” Ada said. “You and Vince are the only ones who do my reading for me.” I bent down and kissed her forehead before turning off the light.
I left Ada, but in my head, I kept hearing, “You and Vince. You and Vince.” Our rotation switched every week, which meant neither Vince nor I assisted Ada two weeks of every month. Did she cry herself to sleep those nights? Her Bible readings were just as important to her getting ready for bed as were brushing her teeth, washing her face, and putting on her night clothes. She had been well into her 90s before losing her sight, and though she missed seeing blue skies, a child’s smile, or the brilliant red of a rose, what she missed most was reading God’s Word.
Before I headed home that night, I slipped into Ada’s room and absconded with the devotional booklet. The next morning, I took out my own Bible and her devotions and recorded the readings for the week. In between the readings, I inserted a hymn to allow Ada time to turn the machine off between each night’s reading. Afterwards, I headed back to the nursing home. As I explained to Ada how she could hear her readings even if Vince or I weren’t working, the embroidered handkerchief made another appearance. The tears she swiped were tears of joy.
God Is Love
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us (1 John 4:7–12).
Take some time to reflect on how God loves you. How can you show others that same kind of love?
Consider those in your life who have shown you the love of God, and pass it on to someone else.
Dearest Lord, thank You for Ada and Your light shining through her. Knowing that being deprived of Your Words was her greatest loss has inspired me in my faith walk. Oh, to have a love like that! Help me to live a life that lets others see You, not just through mite offerings, but in everything I do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
North Wisconsin District
We would love to hear YOUR stories! Please send them to the Vice President of Gospel Outreach here.
Thanks from the Gospel Outreach Committee!