Mattie took a chipped mug from the old cupboard. She poured herself a cup of chicory coffee before sitting down at the kitchen table. She then opened her old worn-out Bible and as was her custom each morning, began to read.
She turned to one of her favorites, Psalm 37. Her thoughts were of the young husband she had loved so dearly, but who had died leaving her with two babies and expecting a third. Through that and many other severe trials in her long life it was this passage of scripture that had given her much comfort, so once again she silently read it.
“Fret not thyself because of evildoers . . . Trust in the Lord, and do good: so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass . . . Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him . . . “*
While she was reading, Mattie’s granddaughter, Ellen, walked into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of milk.
“Grandma, I try to read the Bible just like you do, but I don’t always understand it. When I do understand it, I usually forget it almost as soon as I close my Bible. I’m not sure it does me any good to read it.”
Without speaking, Mattie rose from her chair and put the last lump of coal in the stove.
“Ellen, I want you to take this coal basket down to the creek and bring back a basket of water.”
Ellen did as she was told although all the water leaked out before she could get back to the house.
Mattie chuckled and said, “I think you’ll have to move a little faster the next time,” as she sent her back to the creek to try again.
Ellen ran faster this time, but again the basket was empty before she returned home.
“Oh, Grandma,” she said, “it’s impossible to carry water in a basket! I’m going to get a bucket instead.”
But Grandma said, “No, Ellen, it’s not a bucket of water that I am wanting; I want a basket of water. I know you can do this—you just need to keep trying.”
And so Ellen tried once again. She scooped the cold creek water into the basket and ran her fastest back to the house, but when she reached her Grandma, the basket was once again empty.
Out of breath, she exclaimed, “See, Grandma, it’s useless! I can’t do it.”
Filled with love for her young granddaughter, Mattie softly said, “Ellen, look at the basket.”
As she looked at the basket, Ellen realized that it was somehow different. Instead of the dust-covered basket blackened from years of sooty coal, she now held a clean basket.
Smiling, Mattie gently said, “Ellen, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand everything or even remember every word, but when you read it, it will change you from the inside out.”
*Psalm 37: 1-7a (KJV)
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