Many years ago, there was a 75-year-old Christian woman who broke her back and had to spend eight weeks in the hospital. She had always had a fairly active lifestyle and quickly got bored. The bright spots were when friends dropped by to see how she was doing. As the eight weeks went on, she grew more frustrated… and more irritable.
“I don’t know what to do with myself!” She fumed one afternoon to a young missionary from her church. “I never learned to knit, the magazines and books my family brings me get old after awhile, and I am sick to death of the soap operas on TV!”
The young man nodded sympathetically and suggested, “You could always memorize Scripture.”
“Oh honey, I can’t do that. I’m too old.”
“Well, look at it this way: Moses was 80 when God called him to lead Israel out of Egypt. Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 when Isaac was born. And don’t forget Noah! He was 500 years old when he started building the ark! 75 doesn’t sound too old in perspective. Besides, memorizing Bible verses sounds a lot easier than building a floating zoo, leading a whiny nation across a desert, or raising a little boy to be a godly patriarch.”
The woman chuckled and after the missionary left, she opened her Bible to the Psalms. That’s where she was in her personal devotions, so why not start there? By the time she went home, she had most of that book memorized… And loved the challenge so much that she decided to keep working on it.
I was told this story at a family camp when I was 13 years old. The missionary who convinced her to memorize in the first place related this story in a workshop about Bible memory. By this point, he was grey-headed himself. He smiled reminiscently as he continued, “I went to visit her at the nursing home several years later when I was stateside. She was 98 and as sharp as ever. It was a delightful visit. We talked, laughed, and prayed together. Then finally I asked her, ‘So what are you memorizing now?’
“She said, ‘Well, in the last 30 years, I’ve memorized most of both Testaments, except the books of the law and Revelations. So, I’ve decided to take a short break from memorizing. I’ll get back to it in a couple of weeks.’ When I asked her what she was going to do with all her spare time, she smiled coyly and replied, ‘Well, I have all this Scripture memorized. So I’m just going to live out what I’ve learned.’ ”
What an impact that made on me! When I get to heaven, I’m going to find her and give her a big hug. Then, I’ll look her in the face and thank her for her legacy. I never met her and I can’t even remember her name. But because of her, I have made it my goal to memorize Scripture, too.