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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Purposefulness (Purpose in Life) (05/25/06)

TITLE: Muddled Words
By Janelle Bailey
05/31/06


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The oxygen machine wheezed softly in the background as the doctor leant carefully over my grandfather. Grasping his feeble hands gently, she examined him thoroughly, yet in vain.

More than fifteen years earlier my Pop had suffered a stroke that left him paralysed and without speech. At fifteen I had never heard a single spoken word cross his lips.

But he could sing, and sing he did. When visitors came to his tiny home to cheer him, he sang. When the electrician came to repair the air-conditioning, he sang. And now as he lay dying in his hospital bed, with the oxygen mask veiling the frail lines of his face, he sang.

We never knew for certain if he deliberately muddled the words of the hymn, or if his stroke had done so, but for fifteen years these had been his words:

“I am delighted to follow Jesus
I am delighted to follow Jesus
I am delighted to follow Jesus
No turning back, I’ll follow him.”

At fifteen I didn’t understand the lifelong challenge those muddled words would give me. Twenty years on though, with all the frantic busyness, to-do-lists and urgencies of adult life, I am suddenly revisiting Pop’s quavering song. I find myself in awe of a faith that enabled a paralysed, mute man to sing of his delight in Jesus. And I have come realise something. Pop discovered a golden truth in those fifteen bedridden years that I, with all my goals, successes and ministries have forgotten.

The Psalmist says in Psalm 37 to “delight your self in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This is the truth that my Pop discovered. I was made to delight in Jesus and to be delighted in. And this is God’s gift to me, no matter what else happens.


*See the words to “I have decided to follow Jesus” (Anon.) for the original rendering of this hymn.
*Psalm 37.4 NIV


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This article has been read 484 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sherry Wendling06/01/06
"To delight and to be delighted in"--what a purpose! Tenderly and beautifully crafted. Grandpa's legacy lives on!
Edy T Johnson 06/07/06
What a powerful tribute you have written to this beloved grandfather! And, what a blessing God allowed him to be, witnessing all those years in spite of his helplessness!

God bless your gift for writing---thank you for sharing your story with us.
Edy T Johnson 06/08/06
Congratulations, Janelle! I'm so glad this story of yours received recognition.