Joyce was referred to Hospice with end stage liver failure. As the hospice social worker it was my job to meet with Joyce to reach a mutual decision about whether hospice was right for her. I can visualize our first meeting. Joyce was sitting up in her bed when I entered her hospital room. She was frail and so thin I could have wrapped my thumb and index finger around her upper arm. She was only in her thirties, but her face reflected a person weathered beyond her years by a stormy life. She was clearly in the final stage of her disease. I introduced myself and asked about her condition. She boldly admitted, “I know I’m going to die soon.” Since she was so direct I decided to be too. I asked what she believed spiritually, about whether or not she believed in life after death; and without saying a word, she reached for a Bible lying on her bedside table. She pulled a creased stained sheet of paper from between the pages and shared, “Someone at a half way house I was staying in gave this to me. I don’t even remember who it was, but I’ve held on to it ever since.” She handed it to me as if to say, “This is what I believe!” I don’t think I’ve read anything that better describes the value and power of God’s word. Joyce passed it on to me, now I’m passing it on to you.
“The Bible: This book reveals the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy; its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the travelers map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilots compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here too, heaven is opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents. Owned it is riches, studied it is wisdom; trusted it is salvation; loved it is character; and obeyed it is power,” (Anonymous).
The Bible is different than any other book. We read other books to understand, but after a few minutes reading the Bible, we realize that the Bible understands us. The Apostle Paul explains, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and shaper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intent of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:11-13).
Loren Hardin is a social worker with SOMC-Hospice and can be reached at 740-356-2525 or at [email protected]. You can order Loren’s book, “Straight Paths” at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.