Imagine with me if you will, and take a trip into a story that may help give some in-sight to the immovable, impeccable word of God. So, let me begin by painting you the picture.
In the corner of a room is a built-in wooden hutch that has glass shelves on the top half and a cabinet for storage on the bottom. The hutch is made of beautiful cherry wood, and the home is also very old. The current owner of the home has just passed away, and the grandchildren are now going through their late grandmother’s belongings. The grandmother was ninety-eight years old when she passed away, and she had lived in this home since the time of her birth. In fact, her mother just a young girl when she moved into this home.
It is typical of homes of this vintage that have house two full generations to have several heirloom memorabilia. Each item in the collection represents past moments of time, such as the crystal sugar bowl that was brought back from one of the young boys in World War One, or the colored glass vase from the man who won the grandmother’s heart many years ago. Yes, behind the glass doors of the old hutch are many memories of the past, each item having been set on the glass shelves bearing their own story of why they have been placed in the memorial hall of fame. If there were no innate emotional importance to the items on the shelves, they would not have endured the years of change and would have been replaced long ago. The key here is that as politics, culture, and world events changed, the items placed on these shelves have not changed. Along with that understanding, the importance of the items to the grandmother had not changed; in fact, they only became more precious with each passing year.
One of the items on the shelf is a porcelain sculpture of the hands of a praying man, which is often referred to as the praying hands. Some believe that the sculpture was supposed to represent the hands of Jesus as he prayed in the garden just prior to his arrest and crucifixion.
This porcelain heirloom was given to the grandmother’s mother after she lost her husband in a horrible summer storm. Around one hundred and fifty years ago, these hands gave inspiration to that widow. The grandmother placed this statue of the hands in her hutch knowing that it was something that her mother relied upon during many cold, lonely nights. In fact, when the grandmother looked at these praying hands, she would often think of her father ‘whom she never knew.
The porcelain sculpture of the praying hands is unchanged from the day when it was created. While sitting on the glass shelf of the hutch, this item survived the many years of change that was taking place around the world. There was that cold winter back in 1937 when the ice storm caused the heat to go out for two full weeks. The inside temperatures of the house dropped nearly to freezing, and this is contrasted with the time that there was a record heat wave in 1941 that lasted for the majority of August. The temperatures were so hot inside the house that most of the living was done on the shaded porch where there was at least a breeze. No matter how cold or how hot it was, the hands just stood there on the shelf, unmoved and unchanged.
Last year, before the grandmother died, she went through a very hard time in her life as she was trying to recuperate from a mild stroke. On several occasions she would slowly make her way to the hutch in the corner of her dining room and carefully open the glass door. She would take hold of the praying hands with her own very old, withered, shaking hands and sit down with the statue. She would set it down in her lap and think back over all of the years of prayer.
There were the times that she prayed during the Great Depression just so she could keep enough money to save her home and have something to eat. She would remember the times she prayed when her younger sister was battling cancer. While meditating upon such things, she would often fall asleep sitting there in that chair next to the hutch.
One day, while sipping some hot tea in her high-backed rocking chair, it occurred to the grandmother that the items in her hutch were totally unchanged from the day that she placed them in there. For a moment she thought of how nice it would be if she were like them and not have to face the changes that come with age. These items had survived two world wars, the Great Depression, many different presidents, the addition of Hawaii and Alaska into statehood, and even the very lives of the loved ones she had lost., There sitting in the hutch were the unchanged and unmovable items that made up the memories of her past. Then something occurred to her as she looked over at her nearly-worn-out Holy Bible sitting in the center of her dining room table across from the wooden hutch. She always kept the Bible in the center of the table or sitting on the nightstand next to her bed, for this grandmother read the word nearly every day of her life.
She reached over with her trembling hands and picked the Bible up from its place, and she realized this one thing. The word of God was much like the special items in her hutch. From the time that she was a young child playing in the apple trees in the backyard to the time where she was now sitting in her chair, the word of God had never changed. From sizzling hot summers to bitter cold winters, the word remained the same. There were many wars and even rumors of wars, yet the word of God was the same. She realized that over the years she had changed, but the words of the Lord Jesus had not and never will change. With this new understanding the grandmother found abundant peace as she closed her eyes and laid her head back against the chair. She yearned for a place somewhere beyond, a place with no more aches, and a place that she could forever be with the Lord. With her eyes still closed, she caressed the Bible sitting there in her lap as she sighed briefly for a moment, and took her last shallow breath.
This story of the grandmother and her built-in hutch is a story to help us all to understand that we will grow older and We will someday meet our life’s end, but the promises of God will remain unchanged. In fact, heaven and earth shall pass away, but the word of God shall not pass away (Matt 24:35). The word of God ought to be like a porcelain memorabilia in our lives, something tangible that we can look upon and feel something emotional stirring from deep within us. The word of God is truly the most precious memory that we can cling to every day that we live.