Lessons from Cousin Sara

Seth and I are down in Florida for most of this week doing some work with Evangelize Today. So far it’s been a great trip and we’re expecting it to continue that way. But while I’m down here I wanted to run by and see one of my cousins, Sara Elder. She’s about 23 years older than me and has been having some serious health issues the past several months. Not too long ago she had her right leg amputated just below the knee. She’s now having problems with the other leg and said today that there’s a possibility some or all of her toes may have to be amputated.

Sara has been telling me for years that when she dies I’m going to do her funeral. Her deceased husband, Tim Elder, was a PCA pastor, so she respects the fact that I’m a pastor as well. Though she’s currently in a nursing home / rehab facility, her home is in Liberty County, FL where my mom’s family is from. In her own unique way, Sara has been a blessing to us cousins and has helped facilitate much communication and interaction among the family. But she’s hurting right now. Not sure how things will progress with her health wise, but today she blessed me spiritually with some very simple things I want to share.

The first involves her old worn and tattered Bible which has gone missing in the midst of all her moving from home to hospital to rehab to home, back to hospital to rehab, etc. She’s thinking one of her kids may have something to do with that because they recently bought her a new Bible and I suppose want her to start using it! She prefers her old familiar one and hope it turns up soon. In this conversation she made this statement - “The only Bible you need is the one you read.” When I heard this I thought it was rather profound. Many of you may be like me and have a dozen Bibles laying all around, but I think her point is simple … Bibles are meant to be read, not collected. It’s honestly not that impressive to have the latest, best, biggest, nicest Bible if you’re not going to read it. “The only Bible you need is the one you read.”

She also talked about how several people have questioned her about when she’s going to go back home. In the course of speaking of God’s providence, specifically as it relates to her surgeries and ailments, she told me that many years ago when she agreed to “follow Jesus,” she forgot to mention to Him that her commitment didn’t include hospitals or rehab facilities. Obviously using humor, she reminded me that she’s willing to follow Him wherever He takes her, and if it’s into loss and suffering and discomfort then that’s where she’ll willingly go.

I pray for Sara. I admire her faith. I appreciate her desire for God’s Word and submission to His will. I want to be like that!