Overdue

Ruth Scheletema as a young teenager.Why is it so bothersome to devote the time and brain power to memorizing a verse? I cop-out with a milieu of excuses. “I can’t take the time; I have a something else I need to be doing right now.” “Rote memory isn’t going to help my problems, I don’t see a need for it.” “Why bother? I’m just going to forget it in a week anyway.” “My brain wasn’t made to memorize.” “It’s too much work.”

My mother has been memorizing Scripture since she was a teenager. As a little girl, I remember riding around on errands, red Gideon Bible in my hand, checking each word as she quoted them from the book of James. At 75 years of age she has memorized James, Titus, and 2 Timothy, not to mention many other portions of relevant passages. Even if she can’t recall the exact words, if she can lay her hand on a Bible, she can find the verse in under a minute. Unless she has a cup of coffee, then she’ll only use one hand to turn the pages and it might take her two.

Because of this, her conversation is peppered with God talk. LITERAL GOD TALK. God uttered the Word and so does my mom. With His words, she can comfort a woman stuck in a beastly marriage. With His words, her words convict of sin with humility and love. She has been a source of wisdom for women (and men!) around the globe. Not only does memorization equip her with an apt word for others, but the words attend to her. “When I am afraid, I will trust.” “Perfect love casts out all fear,” have echoed in terrifying situations. “He will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is kept on you,” reminded her to focus her priorities and traverse difficult situations with calm. “Give thanks in all circumstances,” schooled her in the How-to-be-content Academy of Life.

 

She has given hours, days, maybe even years to memorizing. But because of the effort, there is a library at her disposal. She can check out loving truthfulness from Ephesians 4 when she must confront another. She can access a quiet spirit from Proverbs 15 when anger stirs. Contentment from Luke 12 when envy burns. A sense of beauty from 1 Peter 3. The captured words have seeped into the crevices and folds of her brain. Most of the time, she isn’t aware of them as WORDS, but rather an appeal to the right path. They come from a deeper, more dedicated source.

 

I will start to build my library of God talk. It’s long overdue.

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