Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)
TITLE: From Reading To Knowing To Union
By Jason Fusek
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Over the last few months, though, a remarkable transformation had occurred. While her body began to succumb to sickness, her spirit had grown stronger. She was filled with a joy and hope that wasn’t there before. And now, in the face of death, she shined even brighter. She anticipated a glorious meeting with one that she had been reading about who had been talking with her as she read. She was going to be with Jesus!
Her hope was very young. Earlier, she had taken a class at the family’s Methodist Church called Disciple. Always a good church-going person, she had though it would be a good thing to improve her daily reading habit and learn more about the Bible. Daily Bible-reading had always been her weak point. What she didn’t know was that this class would confront her with the person and God in Jesus Christ.
By the end of the class, mother was alight with her new joy. She didn’t really know what had happened. All that she knew is that when she read the Bible, she heard Jesus speak. Before she had known about Jesus. Now she knew his heart and mind and soul. It was all in the Bible, available to the reader.
Now on her death bed, she felt feeble in her attempts to read and listen. Most of the time she slept. When she was awake, she read the Bible and prayed. But even those things were taxing. With only one eye functioning, it took a lot of energy to focus on the words.
Father volunteered to read the Bible to her. While she valued the remaining time with him, her sons, and her parents and siblings, she wanted very much to hear from Jesus through the Bible.
Day after day and night after night father read to her. He read from some of her favorite passages. But mostly she wanted to hear about Jesus and his teachings. So he read from the Gospels.
As he read, she listened and talked with Jesus about what she heard. She also prayed for father and her two sons. She wanted them to know God’s comfort in their grief. Most of all, she wanted them all to be able to read the Bible and hear Jesus as she now did.
Reading the Bible was difficult for father but he did it because he loved his wife and wanted to be with her and support her. He had had a love-hate relationship with the Bible his whole life. When he read, he mostly heard the voice of his mother condemning and shaming him as a man of science. She used the Bible to justify her views of science as being the "Devil’s device" to distort the truth. Because of his devotion to science as a career, this caused tremendous conflict in his soul. He had never resolved this conflict and, to this day, he could not read the Bible without thinking that God didn’t like him because he strove to understand the universe and truth using the tools of science. He didn’t disregard the Bible as a valuable voice of truth. In fact, he considered it to be the only valid spiritual voice. Science filled in the gaps and explained many of the things that he desired to understand.
The reading continued. He wondered about mother’s new fascination with the Bible and Jesus and why she prayed so much now. As much as he tried, he couldn’t understand and her explanations didn’t help. He felt lost and adrift because of his inability to fully share his wife’s new joy and hope.
One morning Father went to read again but this time he knew there would be little or no listening. It was time. Mother rested peacefully but her body was in rapid decline. Still, she wanted only two things: for father to hold her hand and for him to read the Bible. He read, she listened, and then she saw Jesus. The physical veil of this life that separated them opened and she passed through to the glorious union she had long anticipated.
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