Dr. Paul Brand, a well known doctor and author, was raised in India. His parents were missionaries there. In his book, titled "In His Image," he writes about his mother. It is one of the most touching stories I’ve ever read.
He writes that when his mother was 75 years old, she was still walking miles every day, visiting the villages in the southern part of India, teaching the people about Jesus.
One day, at age 75, she was traveling alone and fell and broke her hip. After two days of just lying there in pain, some workers found her and put her on a makeshift cot and loaded her into their jeep and drove 150 miles over deep rutted roads to find a doctor who could set the broken bones. But the very bumpy ride damaged her bones so badly that her hip never completely healed.
He said, "I visited my mother in her mud covered hut several weeks after all of this happened. I watched as she took two bamboo crutches that she had made herself, and moved from one place to another with her feet just dragging behind because she had lost all feeling in them."
He said, "At age 75, with a broken hip, unable to stand on her own two legs, I thought that I made a pretty intelligent suggestion. I suggested that she retire. She turned around and looked at me and said, "Of what value is that? If we try to preserve this body just a few more years and it is not being used for God, of what value is that?"
So she kept on working. She kept on riding her donkey to villages until she was 93 years old. At age 93 she couldn’t stay on her donkey anymore. She kept falling off. But she didn’t stop teaching. Indian men would carry her in hammocks from one village to another. And she continued to tell people about Jesus until she died at age 95.
Paul writes, "My most vivid memory of my mother is of her propped up against a stone wall as people are coming to her from their homes, schools, and places of work. I can still see the wrinkles in her face, and her skin so tanned by the weather and the heat.
"I saw her speaking to those people. I looked at them and saw the sparkle in their eyes, and the smiles on their faces. And I saw them deeply moved by the message of God’s love, spoken by this old woman. I knew what they saw was not an old woman who had passed her prime, but a beautiful person bringing tidings of love straight from heaven."
"Remember me with favor, O my God, for all I have done for these people.”
(From a sermon by Melvin Newland, Dealing with Adversity, 11/24/2011)
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Melvin Newland on Aug 2, 2002
Our Lord said, “Go into all the world & preach the good news to every creature.” What is that good news? I think it consists of two things that need to be proclaimed - that would really be “good news” to the world today. (PowerPoint Available - #288)