In the time before she passed away my mom read Romans to her.
Romans, that book which tells it like it is.
There is none righteous, not even one. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans, that book which tells of grace through faith in Christ.
All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.
Romans, that book which tells of hope.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans, that book which encourages us to live life as worship, changed, free and following the Holy Spirit.
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. […] Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans, that book which reminds us to live love.
I still remember my mom describing the peace that it brought to her mother.
I marveled, thinking of this as I stood in front of the kitchen sink reading the verse from John: “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
For Grandma, it was God’s word that remained a source of strength when the familiarity of life gave way to darkness. This was something my mother seemed to know intuitively.
It’s funny that I should remember all this before sitting down to read this in Isaiah:
“All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:6-8
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
Yes. Life sweeps through our bodies—growing, learning, blossoming, living—full and abundant.
My grandmother was a lover of algebra, a crafter, a baker. She was well past doing these things during my lifetime; but I think we would have enjoyed one another, because these are all things I have enjoyed too. From stories my mom has shared my grandma had a servant’s heart; and reading between the lines I think she must have been rather feisty. I think of my mother and my sister—these women are like her also.
When I was very little my grandmother lived at home with us. I have a few memories of that time—the one I remember most clearly, Grandma got sick when we were out on an errand. I have many more memories after Grandma was moved to a nearby nursing home where we visited on the weekends. On Saturday, my mother would wet and wind up Grandma’s hair in thin loops, before putting it in bobby-pins to curl overnight. It was a time of cartoons, hide-and-seek, visiting and exploration of the nursing home. On Sunday, we would return to brush out Grandma’s curls, feed her lunch, and watch American Gladiators. A lot of time has passed since then.
The grass withers, the flower fades—and so do we, some quickly and others over a long period of time. Alzheimer’s disease being a neurodegenerative disorder took its toll over years on Grandma.
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.
But this! As her body was failing, as her mind stopped functioning in the here and now, it was God’s word that brought my Grandma peace and hope.
The word of the Lord stands forever.
Forever, breaking through to Grandma’s heart, holding firm when memories faded and life was confusing and lonely and not the way she remembered it. When people cared for her and did all the things she once did for herself and was humbled to let them do for her.
Forever. In Christ, The Word, who lives—a sure hope that one day all things will be made new, including her mind and body.
Forever. In the word lived out in the lives of His people, led by the Holy Spirit—serving her out of love.
The word of the Lord stands forever.
I take courage from this. I delight in this. I give thanks for this bedrock truth that a life can stand upon when life itself is so very different from all one has ever known.
The word of the Lord stands forever…bringing peace and life and hope even at the end.
Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we trust that the word of the Lord stands forever. May we steep in it and find that we are like the tree planted by streams of water yielding fruit. May we find that whatever rains and floods come we are firmly set on a foundation that will last.