MEMORY: “Your Word have I hid in my heart”
As a young Pentecostal evangelist in the City of Umtali Rhodesia, a beautiful town in the hills on the border of Mozambique, I was invited to accompany my Pastor as a co-speaker to an Easter Convention.
A small revival broke out. The Pastor in the opening meeting spoke on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Announcing, “God can fill every one of you with the Holy Ghost right now,” he swept his hand across the auditorium from left to right. All began to speak in tongues, in a wave, as he pointed in their direction. From then on it was impossible to put a foot wrong from the platform.
I was to speak at the next service and as I rose to take the mike a man entered the auditorium completely bowed over with back pain. “Stand up straight and be healed” I called, pointing in his direction. He ran down the aisle and fell on his knees at the front praising the Lord and crying “I am healed.” Every service was the same signs and wonders were being experienced at the hand of God as we declared His word and the name of Jesus.
Sunday afternoon was to be a rest time for all but on Sunday morning an elderly lady approached me. “Bill I remember you as the naughtiest boy in the neighbourhood. It is exciting to see what God has done in you. My husband has Alzheimer’s and is not able to come to the meetings. I tried to tell him about you but his memory has gone. I wonder if you would visit him this afternoon?”
“Certainly” I replied, and arrangements were made.
“I know that it won’t be much fun for you and will probably be an interruption in your preparation, but I really appreciate your willingness.”
At first the conversation meandered like a rambling river in a valley because of his loss of memory. He had little recognition of my childhood although he acknowledged what his wife said. I then quoted 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 regarding our Lord’s return and asked, “What do you think this will be like? What will happen when we see Jesus face to face?”
His eyes sparkled and he began to unfold the teachings of Scripture regarding the Bema seat Judgement of believers, the crowns, the rewards that would flow into the Marriage of the Lamb. No talk of long tunnels terminating in a bright white light or of the beauty of angels. He described the glory of our King clothed in light from His head to his feet and the radiance of his bride. Truly I was aware that “eye had not seen nor ear heard the things that God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit”.
Quoting scripture after scripture this dear man with Alzheimer’s opened these revelations to me from his heart. For more than two hours I sat enthralled. The difficulty I have in remembering exactly what he said comes from the use he made of scripture, truly comparing things spiritual with things spiritual.
As I left the retirement home of these two old friends I knew I had walked with him the courts of My King and I shall never forget this experience. I returned to the Easter Convention and our mini revival that seemed tame in comparison to what I had just experienced.
I have often pondered on this experience and concluded that although this dear saint had lost his memory, his spirit was still strong. God’s word that he had hid in his heart was still there and the Holy Spirit brought to his remembrance the things he had heard. Those who make God’s word the most important thing in their lives. Those who live by it. Those who memorise it. Those who study it. Those who meditate in it day and night. Those who cherish God’s word, will be preserved by it.
This incident is surely written in God’s book of remembrance.
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