Some of you may recall my mention of Miss Liz several times over the years. The following is a repeat from several years ago, which I share with you because I now have another blessing to pass along to you about this dear sister in Christ.
"I sure wish I could go with you and Frances."
Miss Liz said this in response to mention of our hike in the mountains of Virginia. We conducted a service today before we left for Virginia at the retirement community where Miss Liz lives. She's hiked those mountains, and would love to do so again. It's not going to happen in this lifetime, however. Miss Liz's body is confined to a wheelchair, in stark contrast to her soaring, singing spirit. Indeed, you may recall my mention of this dear Christian woman in a previous Orange Moon from several years ago:
"I think also of Liz, the dear lady who loves the first hymn many of us ever learned as children. "Glen," Liz told me one day, When I'm going down the halls in my wheelchair and encounter somebody who looks down and sad, I stop and take them by the hand. I ask the person, "Why don't we sing 'Jesus Loves Me' together? It always seems to help."
I never think about this image without tears, as in the present moment. Allow yourself to see and to hear such moments of grace communicated by our Heavenly Father through His daughter. Consider how many hearts He has encouraged by her words, and by her song. And recall that she performs her ministry in a nursing facility, and from a wheelchair that keeps her from trekking through the mountains of Virginia. They do not hinder her soaring and singing, however, and her escorting others into Heavenly places from her wheelchair. I'll think about that for the next 5 days as we venture into those mountains.
I responded to Miss Liz's expressed desire. "Miss Liz, remember that you, Frances and I have already made plans for a hike some day." Last month after a service, I suggested to our dear sister in Christ that in eternity, we will find some beautiful planet yonder in the "new heaven" that will spring forth when God has redeemed and perfected all things (Revelation 21:1). "We'll see sights there glorious and unimaginable, Miss Liz, and you'll lead the way as we climb purple hills, wade in crystal waters, gaze into skies bluer than blue, and rejoice in the glory of God that will shine forth in all things and all places." Miss Liz smiled again today as I reminded of our plans. For now, of course, she'll soar in song and in helping others to realize the love of Christ. "Jesus loves me, this I know…" Yes He does, Miss Liz. And we too know that He loves you. "O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together!" (Psalm 34:3).
Here's that addendum: Yesterday, I said goodbye to Miss Liz as we left a service at the retirement community where she lives. She continues to suffer great physical challenges, and her body remains confined to her wheelchair. I told her how much we had enjoyed seeing her, as always, and Miss Liz looked at me with that intent gaze I've seen so many times. "Glen, the Lord has taken such good care of me! He is so good!"
I've heard believers say that many times over the years. It's always a blessing to hear. But yesterday, Miss Liz's testimony of God's good grace seemed to shine all the more brightly as a ray of light proceeding from what might seem to be a dark place. Yes, I heard that "soaring and singing" spirit again. And I remembered the Psalmist's affirmation of a grace that composes the music of grace where it seems unlikely and impossible:
"And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely, who having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God" (Acts 16:23-25).
Miss Liz has also suffered "many stripes", as it were, stripes of pain, loss of limbs, and hardship. All appearances would indicate she is confined to a prison, with her "feet fast in the stocks." That is not, however, the case. Her soaring and singing spirit abides, and yesterday we yet again saw and heard the glory of a Christ whose illumination so often shines most brightly in the darkness night. It certainly does in Miss Liz.
"The Light shineth in darkness."
Weekly Memory Verse
What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.