2 Corinthians 11:3
A number of weeks had passed since her stroke. The ninety-three-year-old grandmother lay bedridden in the nursing home. No longer able to even turn herself in the bed and unable to see, the only means of communication that existed was failing hearing and impaired speech. But that is the physical description. Within this aged shell there yet remained soul and spirit and an active mind.
Occasional visitors came her way. Many left discouraged over her condition, while others sensed the futility of life. Not so as I visited the aged widow, for as I left that visit, the Lord spoke deeply to my heart, with a message that I pray stays with me for a lifetime.
On a prior visit, we had discussed the Lord and her favorite passages of the Bible. I asked if she had her Bible there, with the thought that I might read to her. Though she had much hearing loss, she could still hear and what’s more, understand those things which were being discussed. Therefore, I told her that on my next visit, I would bring her Bible. My intention was that I would read to her, and I would leave it on the bedside table where she could request of other family or friends that they, too, might read to her, if she so desired. We completed our visit; I kissed that frail forehead and slowly and thoughtfully left the nursing home.
As I had intended, I got her Bible and brought it for our next visit. We talked of family and friends for a while, of her younger life, of special memories that she had. I rubbed her arms and shoulders with lotion as we talked of things that were special to her. I asked if she remembered what I was going to bring her. She knew well; “My Bible,” she said. I was going to read to her, but no need. She began to quote me Psalm after Psalm, without missing a word. How foolish! I thought I had something to offer her, but it was she who had something to offer to me.
It was then when she made an amazing statement. She said, “I am making a list for you. I’m going to write it down for you.” Knowing the impossibility of the task of writing for her, I simply replied, “Why don’t you tell me your list, and I’ll write it down.” In my naivety, I felt that she was going to tell me of a few more items that she would like for me to bring to the nursing home on my next visit. To my surprise and delight, her list was far different from my thoughts.
The list began: “Remember the power of prayer.” A little taken aback, I then knew that I was to be very attentive to this list and to the wisdom that this aged grandmother had to offer. “OK,” I said, “I put that at the top of the list.” Her reply came quickly, “Trust in the Lord at all times.” Again, I was speechless, as I realized that she indeed had a message for me. I asked if there was anything else that she wanted on the list. “Not right now,” she answered. Realizing that she was tiring, I told her that I would keep the list and that we could add to her list later if she would like.
I continued with a few little matters in the room. As I was preparing to leave, very faintly, I heard, “One more thing.” “One more thing for the list?” I questioned. “Yes, love one another.” I paused, and she said “That’s all.”
There – the list was complete. Remember the power of prayer. Trust in the Lord at all times. Love one another. As I left the nursing home, I pondered these truths on the drive home. I was utterly overwhelmed at the simplicity, yet the fullness, of these quivery words. Over and over, within my spirit, I heard, “The simplicity of Christ.” It really is that simple, isn’t it, Lord?
In Christianity, we complicate the Word of God and the truth of the gospel. We get entirely too intellectual, too argumentative, too denominational. No wonder the Apostle Paul feared that the believers at Corinth would be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).
Perhaps you, too, are questioning: “Is it really that simple?” After a long life, with all that the world had to offer, the great King Solomon summed it up in this way: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13). The prophet Micah explained it as such: He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8).
The Apostle Paul, told the believers at Ephesus, as he did with many other churches: Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints … (Ephesians 1:15). And our Lord Himself taught: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).
What a simple little list came from that feeble ninety-three-year-old grandmother. But what profound truths! And how her words resembled the words of the Lord, and of prophets, apostles, and kings!
I cherish that brief visit, and look forward to our next visit, should the Lord allow. Will she have more marvelous nuggets of truth? I wonder if she is lying in that bed making a list for me!
How precious is the simplicity that comes from Christ!