Bitter Root

Saturday, June 5, 1999

Matthew 11:28-30 – Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my burden is easy and my yoke is light.

I watched her as she lay there in her hospital bed, angry and bitter over her misfortunes. Surely the Lord simply wanted to hold her in His arms of love and carry her home, but I could see that she would go kicking and screaming all the way to heaven.

Audrey was 76 years old. I had prayed for something to take my mind off my single parent circumstances, and God put Audrey down the hall from where I lived. She was wheelchair bound as a result of a hip surgery gone wrong. The apartment was not handicap-equipped, and I could see she was going to need some help.

Audrey had been a professional ice skater. She had skated for the troops in World War 2, had been a calendar "pin up" girl and had continued to skate well into her 60's. When the hip surgery failed and she was confined to a wheelchair, an ugly root of bitterness began to grow in her heart.

As we talked those first days, I shared with her that I was a Christian, and she said that so was she. Somewhere along the way, she had accepted Jesus as Lord and prayed the sinner's prayer. Noticing she didn't own a Bible, I brought one to her, a big print one, so she could easily read it through her broken eyeglasses. I'm not sure if she picked it up much, but I shared with her whenever I had the opportunity.

I wish I could say that as a result of our time together, Audrey came to understand the love of the God that she had given her life to years before, and how in her crippled state He was using her. Unless it came to her in her last minutes on this earth, I would have to say she did not, until she stood in His presence. However, through knowing Audrey, the Lord stirred in me the desire to tell others about the love of Jesus; about how He, if they would only allow Him, can bring comfort to their hearts in the midst of their suffering; and about how, when their time on earth is over, He will be waiting for them to rest in His arms of love and be carried home.

Prayer: Lord, as we go through this life, help us to seek out those who need to remember who You are. Speak through us to their hearts. Thank you for a yoke that is light and easy. Thank you for enabling us to rest in You. Thank you for being there to carry us home. Amen.

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Joann Tompkins-Winborn <>
Pompano Beach, Florida, USA

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