Photo taken by Dani Hahner
There I sat at the small table, a hamburger and fries from Wendy’s on my plate. Across from me sat an elderly woman who was bent over from the wear and tear of 102 years of life. A knitted sweater was draped over her shoulders and the wheelchair she sat in seemed to swallow up her tiny frame. A small cap covered her wispy white hair. Her head bent down wearily. I noticed that she hadn’t touched her lunch yet.
A friend of mine and I were having lunch with this lady a few months ago. During our meal, a young reporter joined us who began to interview this older woman about her life. Attaining the age of 102 years old is remarkable indeed and well worthy of attention. I enjoyed listening to this woman as she told us about her life. But she said something that day that I will never forget. When asked the question, “what is one piece of advice you would give to young people?,” I quickly turned my full attention to her, eagerly anticipating her answer. Her lips moved as she thoughtfully formed an answer and with great earnestness she said:
“Read your Bible. It has all you need to know for life and godliness. Be sure to read your Bible. It has all you will ever need.”
So simple, yet so profound. This woman – who was fully 6 times older than me and who had gained the wisdom from over a century of life here on earth – knew what she was talking about. She had lived a hard life, which began in an orphanage, alone and unwanted by anyone. She had no children, little family. She had struggled through over forty years of hard work to support herself, then her latest years were spent in a nursing home with no family to care for or look after her.
Yet…she clung to Jesus. She was carried by Him. She delved deep into His word and studied it. If you were to name any verse in the Bible, she could finish it. Though her hearing was almost gone, her body weak and frail, she had something more precious than perfect health and a “perfect” life by the world’s standard: she had Jesus and she could not wait to go home to Him. Though battered around by the storms of life, she could say with confidence that the Lord was her Sustainer and Rock. She had hidden herself in the Rock of Ages.
I came away pondering her answer. I read my Bible, but how often do I consider it more of a chore than a pleasure? When do I come before the Lord just to adore Him? Do I linger in His presence? Do the most wonderful things I can imagine pale in comparison with the beauty of Christ?
I pray for eyes to see and savor the preciousness of God’s word while I’m still young. God’s word is a treasure deeper than the deepest sea or chasm. Men have devoted their lives to studying its content, only scratching the surface. I remember years ago reading through a book of encouragement for young girls. In the introduction the author warned us to not replace her book with our Bible reading, emphasizing that it “doesn’t even begin to compare to the jewels of God’s word.” So, whether I felt like it or not, I made sure to read my Bible before cracking open that book. :) The Bible, as from the words of a 102 year old lady, is truly all we need for life and godliness.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)