My mother had been in an assisted living center for several years and the cruel effects of Alzheimer’s disease were evident with each passing year when my wife and children would make the four hour drive to visit with her for a couple of hours before returning home the same day. The last several visits we brought a laptop computer with family pictures and an occasional home movie clip to show her. But this time I had not taken the time to put together any pictures and I wasn’t sure how well Mom could recognize or even see the pictures anyway. Instead, I decided to read a few Scripture passages to her.
When we arrived she was sleeping but we managed to wake her up and talk while she lay in bed. She seemed glad to see us, although I don’t think she knew who we were. I told her that I had brought my Bible and asked if I could read some to her. She said yes. I tried to pick some well-known passages containing words of encouragement and God’s love. She lay listening as I read. But as I began to read from Psalm 23, one of her favorite passages, Mom began to recite the words along with me as I read! Needless to say I was amazed and struggled to hold back the tears as she recited along with me “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul…” She couldn’t recite it all, but she knew quite a bit of it. The verse she knew best was “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” She recited that verse several other times as I read other verses. When I finished she thanked us for reading to her.
Isn’t it amazing that in her condition she could still recite God’s word that she had “hidden in her heart” (Psalm 119:11)? So we had come to visit and encourage Mom and what happens…she amazes and encourages us, God is good! Let her example be a challenge to us all to hide God’s word in our heart.