A convicting and helpful guest post from my friend, Jan Lacher:
I have been incredibly inspired this week as I have listened to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. The subject over the past three days has been memorizing Scripture.
Usually, every morning, as I give Michael his medications and tube feeding, Revive Our Hearts blares across the radios in my home. I typically listen to the program as I move from one room to another, going about my work getting Michael ready for the day. The featured guest this week has been a seasoned saint, Nancy Epperson.
On Wednesday, the discussion between Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Nancy Epperson peaked my interest, and I found myself nodding as they talked about all of the benefits of memorizing God’s Word. As a side note, I have memorized some of our fighter verses over these past years. I have had to learn them and relearn them. I have taught my “normal” children fighter verses; although, I would argue that I did not teach them enough Scripture. As Revive Our Hearts played, I contemplated how there has not been anything that I have done that has been more beneficial than memorizing the Word of God.
My mind was swirling as I pondered the question that if memorizing parts of the Bible are so beneficial, why don’t I do more of it? Why am I not memorizing full chapters and possibly books? I certainly know the benefits and have experienced them. Since Michael’s birth, I have been like a rock skipping across the lake as I have learned some verses and then having periods where I do not. For a variety of reasons, I have not been as consistent these past several years as I would like to be. I sighed at the thought of the work that it would take to regain the momentum to do such a task as memorize verses and eventually chapters.
My attention was refocused on the program. The two Nancys continued their discussion. Then Nancy Epperson said something that stopped me dead in the middle of Michael’s feeding. A segment from the January 6th transcript speaks for itself:
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now, don’t go too fast past that because there are a lot of people who will say, “I can’t memorize Scripture.”
Nancy Epperson: They will say that, but can I tell you something? That is not true. It’s true people say it, but it truly is a lie hatched in the pit of hell that Satan loves us to think. The fact is, everybody can.
Now, listen. I’ll never forget this. About 35 years ago, I was at a church in Winston, Salem. They had a group of young adults who were very mentally deficient. They could barely articulate. They were severely retarded, severely. They got up in this church—I will never forget it as long as I live—they quoted verse after verse after verse with the reference—verse after verse.
I’m telling you, I knew exactly, exactly why they could do that, because some precious, dear saint had spent hundreds of hours with them. Those precious, severely retarded young adults just quoted and quoted and quoted. It was just such a blessing.
I realized then anybody honestly can quote Scripture if you’ll go over it enough times. Stop and think about it. Think of all the things you know from memory.
When I heard the story above, my heart jumped. Michael falls into the severely to profoundly mentally retarded category. Plus, he is nonverbal. We have no way of knowing what he understands and how he processes information. We try to teach him simple commands that would aide in his care such as “lean forward” when bathing his back. And through the shear repetition of that command and through physical prompting, he has learned to do so. But, I must admit, I have not contemplated teaching him Bible verses. Who knows what he could glean from the repetition of Scripture being spoken to him when he rises up and when he lies down? Also who knows how the Holy Spirit could use it to strengthen and under-gird him in all of his difficulties?
After listening to this program, I have come away with a renewed vision and a resolve to make Scripture verses part of Michael’s life. He may never be able to quote the references and verses, but God’s Word does not return void. I am determined to get my hardhat on my head and do the heavy “work” of imparting Scripture to our sweet Fox.
(Note from John: Jan reported last week that she’s continuing to work with Michael on his verse. What an encouragement to persevere!)