Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Anniversary (04/11/05)
By Jan Ackerson
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A year ago, Jessica’s life was changed forever by a devastating accident. She has worked hard for months of physical therapy and rehabilitation, but the effects of the accident linger. She knows that there will be lots of people at the party, asking prying questions or—even worse—giving her pitying glances or trying to hide whispered conversations. Furthermore, the open house will be held outside, in Grandpa and Grandma’s back yard, and walking on uneven terrain with her two canes is still difficult for Jessica.
Trying to decide about the party, Jessica thinks about her grandparents, whom she greatly admires. Their 50-year marriage has been rich and fulfilling, but in many ways they did not have the life they’d imagined when they knelt at the altar half a century ago. Their third child was born with a heartbreaking condition; doctors at the time advised them to put him in an institution and forget about him. Instead, they brought him home and loved him.
Jessica’s faith has sustained her through this difficult year, and she realizes that this faith is in part a legacy from those grandparents who have prayed for her daily. People might look pityingly at her for her disability, just as they have often looked at her grandparents with their handicapped son, but Jessica has observed their grace in action. She decides to draw strength from their example, and to attend the party.
During the open house, the pastor of Jessica’s grandparents’ church asks if anyone has something to say in tribute to this faithful couple on their 50th wedding anniversary. Jessica slowly struggles to her feet, and she says, “I’m thankful for my praying grandparents, and for the legacy of faith that they’ve given to my parents and to me. There’s a song that I’d like to sing for you, a perfect hymn for the 50th anniversary of a couple that gave their marriage to God.” In a clear, lovely soprano, Jessica begins to sing:
“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not…”
Overcome with the truth of God’s compassion, Jessica’s voice wavers. To give her strength, a few more voices join in, and then a few more. Soon the whole assembly of friends and relatives is singing the words of truth:
“…as Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hast provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.”
Jessica is 20 years old, and she sees ahead of her 50 years of more of total reliance on God’s faithfulness.
Jessica’s grandparents look at their beloved son, and they see 50 years of grace. Great is Thy faithfulness, indeed!
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