Friday, August 29, 2008

Lessons from Mary

I mentioned in a posting from July that two friends had died while I was up in Lake Burton. Mary Bowles was one of them. She was a lady that I knew only by name and sight until about a year and a half ago. Then she came to one of the Bible studies I led. She had just turned 80 at the time...had lived over 70 years knowing Christ! She was forthright, opinionated, a little stubborn...which was easy for me to recognize since I see it in the mirror every day. She was also steadfast in proclaiming His grace to others...she was generous, social, active, outreaching to everyone (except toddlers...I'm not sure why she never could relate to them!).

Not knowing her well, I wondered what she'd think of someone half her age teaching her. I was delighted with her response. She talked over and over about how much there was still to learn about the love of God constantly overwhelmed her. She came with question after question, trying to reconcile what she had read in the Scriptures that week with what we were discussing. She prayed faithfully for others and cared deeply for their pain and suffering. She was always sharing about someone around her that she was trying to reach out to who was in the hospital or recently diagnosed with a dreaded disease.

Thinking about her life and the talks we had, especially in the last 18 months, led to several good lessons for me to consider...
  • I will die with sins still needing change, but the effort to put them to death should only increase to the end.
  • His grace will always be my only hope.
  • The faithfulness of God is not truth because of what He does for us, but because of who He is.
  • There will always be more to learn which should excite us every day to rise to see what He might reveal.
  • There is always ministry to do, no matter what infirmity you have or circumstance you find yourself in.
  • Though suffering from disease and death will come at us more and more as we and others close to us age, the compassion to meet that suffering will always rise to meet it. Our hearts should never grow hardened to others' pain.
  • A lifetime of learning will not fathom the depths of what occurred at the cross of Christ.
  • Questions need to be asked, even when you think at a certain age you should know the answers.
  • Prayer changes us, settles us, moves us to action, reminds us, secures us, draws us up from the pit.
  • God is my only hope in this age as well as the next.

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