So far as I know, my mother has been a Christian all my life. She has told me when I hovered near death from encephalitis at age two, she went over to a corner to pray while the doctor examined me.
She says that in that moment she gave me back to God and told Him to take me to Himself or leave me to her according to His will. As a father, I can’t even imagine how hard it would have been for me to say that prayer about my daughter. I’d have been all over God to heal her immediately rather than inviting Him to have His will.
As she entered her mid-to-late nineties, her mental capacity has dwindled to the point that she doesn’t always even recognize me when I come to see her. When I mention specific friends or kinfolk to her, their names strike some sort of vague bell in her head, but they don’t really mean a lot to her. She basically just sits in a chair all day—unable to walk or to see well enough to read or watch television.
As her brainpower has diminished and her ability to enjoy life has waned, she has formed the habit singing hymns to occupy herself. She mainly sings “Jesus Loves Me” or “Jesus Loves the Little Children”—sometimes loud enough to be heard, and at other times barely whispering the words.
This has fascinated me for some time now, that she can remember very little of her past life but can remember Jesus and songs she has sung in church through the years. The other day, I learned something new about the strength and currency of her spiritual life.
One of the caregivers at the assisted living group home where Mother lives told me that when she’s troubled about something she goes into my mother’s room and talks to her about whatever it is and asks Mother to pray for her. And she told me that Mother ALWAYS prays for her when she does this.
She’s forgotten what her career was, unless someone prompts her. She can’t recall my father at all. She remembers other people only when I remind her who they are or were, and then she promptly forgets them. She can’t tell you her birthday or how old she is. But she knows exactly who Jesus is and how important He is to her. And she remembers how to pray and is always ready and willing to intercede for anyone who asks her.
What if you live to be ninety-eight and can neither walk nor see nor remember much of anything from your past? Wouldn’t it be nice in that situation to remember who Jesus is and to spend your time with Him?
If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
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