Psalm 34:11-12 – Come, my young friends and listen to me, and I will teach you to have reverence for the Lord. Would you like to enjoy life? Do you want a long life and happiness?
My wife and I met her one day fifty miles from home in a U Pick strawberry patch. She was a couple of rows over from us. She wore a broad brimmed hat and a long-sleeved jacket. There was little to distinguish her from sixty or more other pickers.
To our considerable surprise she spoke to us as if to old friends. We were embarrassed. We couldn't place her. Here we thought that we were among total strangers. We stared at her still puzzled. She made a further remark but the sound of her voice did not help. Then she smiled. That did it. It was Rhoda. No one else had that happy and glorious smile. Then a hearty gale of friendly laughter followed when she realized our dilemma.
Since then I have learned a lot more about the amazing person behind that smiling face. Two features stand out. Rhoda has not had an easy life, but, despite pain, disappointments and heartbreak, she has learned the secret of enjoying life; the secret of that long life with happiness as in Psalm 34:11-12.
At age 29, their son Wayne was suddenly smitten with a deadly bacterial infection. For seven months he barely survived the savage bouts of high fever and utter misery of that terrible affliction. Across those dreadful months Rhoda struggled grimly. She prayed constantly for help and relief. Finally it became too much to bear. She cried out to God. "I can't handle it any more, Lord. You will have to do it." At once Rhoda gave up worrying and left Wayne totally in the hands of her Lord Jesus Christ. Later that same day the phone rang. It was Wayne. The fever had left him at the very moment his mother had prayed that honest and desperate prayer. It has never returned. For the next 20 years, Wayne's health has never been completely free of problems. There have been ups and downs. Recently he had critical heart surgery. To my amazement, Rhoda never expressed the slightest concern about it. Her very strong trust in the Lord to look after him continues to carry her through. Today Wayne is enjoying the best health in years.
For his part, Wayne is now learning the same reverence for the Lord that has sustained his mother. He belongs to a Gospel singing group called Common Thread. When I inquired of him what the common thread was he replied, "We all love Jesus and we are all related".
Prayer: Our gracious God and Father, how marvellous are your ways! For those who trust you without reserve and with boundless confidence, there is no limit to what you will do. In your great mercy and compassion, create within each of us that kind of faith for which nothing is impossible. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.