I curl up next to her on the twin bed, and lay an arm over her waist, careful not to bump the IV.
We didn’t expect to be here this long, watching the moon reflect through window blinds. But the doctor said Lydia was still too sick to go home. So we dimmed the lights and pushed the button to recline her bed. Mama and firstborn pressed in to one another, and I breathed warm words on the back of her neck.
“Do you want to go first?” I asked.
“You go first this time, Mommy,” she said, then scooted back to press her pink-wrapped body in closer still. “But don’t say Amen, because then it will be like one big, long prayer, OK Mommy?”
And so we dropped eyelids, and I led the night’s prayers in Room 115 as the IV pump tick-tick-ticked like a metronome.
It’s for moments like these that we commit God’s Word to memory. When we “eat this Book,” its words stay like honey on our lips. On this night, we had no devotionals to read, no Bibles to highlight with green . We hadn’t even packed toothbrushes because we didn’t know we’d be having a slumber party in a hospital room.
But because she and I know Scripture, we can pray its Truths without holding the Book in our hands.
Because these Words? They’re written on our hearts.
“Dear God,” I began. “We know that you love Lydia. We rely on Your love. We know you hold her in your hand. And we know that You are here with us , even in this hospital room. We trust that you have good plans for Lydia, and we ask that you would heal Lydia, and give her rest on this night. We know You hear our prayer, and we thank you. In Jesus’ name …” (Colored words link to Bible verses — the basis for our prayers. Clicking on them will take you to the exact verses at www.biblegateway.com)
Lydia prayed, too, then whispered our Amen. And I planted Mama-kisses on fever-red cheeks.
But for me, it wasn’t time for bed. It was only 8:45 p.m. I walked to the family lounge down the hall, and looked for something to read. I chose a Bible and two outdated Guideposts magazine, circa 2005.
I walked back to our room with God’s Word in hand, pushed open the door, and turned on a dim light over my bed on the other side of Lydia’s room.
But a wee voice whispered. “Mommy?”
“I’m sorry,” she said. “But I’m not going to be able to sleep with that light on.”
And so I didn’t get to crack the emerald cover of a borrowed Bible. I switched off the light, and in this darkness, I took to reading honey-sweet Scripture written on the soul. On that night, it was all I had. And it was all I needed.
I whispered in the darkness:
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.”
“Pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
And I whispered this one last …
” …his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your ….”
Perhaps I stopped even before the last word was uttered. I’m not really sure.
But this I know, and this I pray you, Lord: May all my days — even my very last one — end this way: with Your Holy Word upon my lips.
Lydia and I returned home yesterday afternoon from the hospital. She was treated for dehydration and an infection. She is doing well.
I asked her this question today: “Why do you think people should memorize Scripture?” Here are her answers:
Reason 1 — “Because Bible verses can help you in hard times.” Lydia, age 7, said she has been praying the verse “Be still and know that I am God” this week to help her deal with struggles and losses we’ve faced. “It reminds you that even when bad things happen, God is in control,” she said.
Reason 2 — “When you memorize the words, it reminds you that the Bible is true not fake.” — Lydia’s right. Becoming familiar with Scripture sets His Truths deeper into our hearts, helping us to combat doubts that creep in.
Reason 3 — “We can memorize Scripture just for fun!” — We give our girls stickers and highlighters and encourage them to mark up their Bibles — to make these a “holy mess.” They add flower stickers to mark verses that help them “grow in grace,” and they add paw-print stickers on verses that help them in their “walk with Jesus.”
A FINAL NOTE: Rick Warren, from the Purpose Driven Life, has challenged us to memorize one verse a week for the rest of our lives. In one of his daily devotionals last week, Warren wrote:
“You must use the Word of God as your weapon against Satan. Jesus modeled this when he was tempted in the wilderness. … Memorizing Scripture is absolutely essential to defeating temptation. You have quick access to it whenever you’re tempted. … If you don’t have any Bible verses memorized, you’ve got no bullets in your gun!”