Ralph Petersen

Ralph Petersen

Sally was a resident in the assisted living home I managed for 16 years. She wasn’t a Christian, but she had a curiosity about God, and she had a few bizarre stories.

She claimed that she had died and was carried by angels to heaven. Her story had all the familiar parts; the white light, the image of “Jesus” waiting at the gate as she was approaching, the sense of peace and overwhelming love, and so on.

But her story had a new twist that I had not heard before. Sally claimed that God stopped her at the gate and said, “You think you know me, but you really don’t.”

So, He turned her around and sent her back until she learned who He is.

OK, so I was (and still am) skeptical about her experiences. But ever since that alleged event, Sally was on a quest to “know God.” She spent lots of time in her room reading her Bible. And when she came out, she often claimed to have some special new insights or strange revelations from God.

I found myself wanting to refute the inaccurate or nonsensical ideas that she had formed about God but, because she was attending all our Sunday services and listening intently to all our sermons, I decided to hold my tongue. I knew that arguing would not be productive. So, I just listened politely, smiled, and encouraged her to keep reading the Bible.

I take a great deal of consolation in God’s promise in Isaiah 55:11, regarding His Word. “So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

The Bread of Life is an allegory; it is a picture of Jesus Christ. We see that in several places in Scripture where the Word of God is described as bread that is to be eaten for our Spiritual sustenance.

The Hymn, BREAK THOU, THE BREAD OF LIFE, is a prayer petitioning God to feed us with His Word. It was written by Mary Lathbury and there is no question about her intended use of this allegory; This Bread of Life can be found “within the sacred page.”

That’s where we must all start. Do you want to find God? He is revealed in His Word. Do you want to know Him? Know His Word. Do you want to hear Him speak? Read it out loud.

The hymn’s last stanza tells us how God accomplishes His work of salvation in the lives of sinners and His work of sanctification in the lives of those He has saved. It is by the ministry of the Spirit of God who opens our eyes and leads us into all Truth through the pages of His revealed Word.

Sally needed what we all need; the life-giving Bread from heaven that nourishes us and keeps us spiritually healthy. So, my staff and I just continued to do for her, what we did for all our residents; We never answered their questions about God from our own personal experiences, dreams, or feelings. we fed them with the BREAD OF LIFE which is the Living Word of God. We preached the Gospel from the Scriptures, and we prayed that God would reveal Himself to them.

Comments are welcome. You may contact me at ralphmpetersen@gmail.com


Originally published on therogersvillereview.com, part of the BLOX Digital Content Exchange.