Why Don’t You Just Give Up, Old Woman?

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The old woman lived in a village filled with people. She loved them all (well, she tried to love them all. She succeeded with some more than the others; but then, she was a woman who needed Jesus every day. And, she never did stop trying.)

So, every day, she studied the Book of truth about Jesus and every day she spoke with Him in prayer and then listened very hard for His still, small voice. Through reading the Book and listening to Him, she understood that His powerful truth wasn’t just her truth; it was a truth for everyone in the village (because after all, if a thing is true, it is The Truth, even a little child can know this). Someone had once told her the truth and now she had the wondrous adventure of knowing Jesus. She knew what Jesus wanted was for her to tell the truth to the people of the village.

So, she did.

Every day she found a way to tell them the truth. Sometimes she used words. Other times, she demonstrated the truth with her actions and then explained it with her words. At times, she spoke with a loud voice to crowds in the town square but other times she sat quietly with one or two and spoke the truth softly over tea. She found it wise to write the truth and post it on the wall in the village square for all to see, or to pen it on slips of paper and slide it under their doors. Once she hired a skywriter visiting the town fair from several towns over to write the truth in smoke across the noon sky.

Lately, she was feeling more urgent about the signs in the skies. She considered more dramatic ways to communicate the truth. Perhaps shesombrero-1082322_640 might paint the truth in graffiti on their walls, stage dramatic re-enactments from the Book in the square, or perhaps she would sit in the coffee shop at the center of town and tell the truth all day to anyone willing to listen.

The people from the town listened to her (for they had no choice. She was an old woman, after all. She was one of them, living and working in their midst, and besides, she would not stop with the telling so it might be avoided for a time but it took hard work to avoid her forever). They liked her stories but they took offense at some of the statements she made about Jesus, the truth, and their lives.

“That truth is too hard, old woman!” someone would shout from the crowd.

“There are many hard things in this world,” she would say, “but this hard thing leads to life.”

“Your words cause pain, old woman. We don’t want pain.” Another would protest.

“No one wants pain but this life is full of it, isn’t it?” she replied. “Still, the pain caused by this truth is like the pain of childbirth – it leads a soul to joy in the end, can’t you tell?”

woman-1246587_640Over time, no one in the village seemed to change at all from the truth the woman spoke to them and this was something she discussed much in daily prayer. She wasn’t a woman who liked to cause discomfort. She wasn’t a woman who wanted to cause discord. She was a gentle woman, after all, and it was hard for her to be the one to deliver hard truth.

But, Jesus was clear. He loved the people of the village and the old woman loved the people of the village (well, she tried to love them all. She succeeded with some more than the others; but then, she was a woman who needed Jesus every day. And, she never did stop trying.), and the way of love was through this hard truth. Jesus had become this Way and it cost Him everything. The old woman had taken this Way and through it she found everything. And all must take this way who desire love, truth, and eternal life. Besides, Jesus walked with her every day as she carried out the task.

So, she continued to speak hard truth to the people of the village.

Once a dark visitor came to town looking for land in which to invest. He observed what there was to observe and so, naturally, he noticed the woman’s activities among the people and he heard the message she delivered in some way every day. He also noticed that no one paid the woman much mind so it thought it might be a place where he could settle.

“Old woman,” the dark visitor asked, “why do you do this thing? Day after day you annoy these people with what you say is truth but day after day they ignore you. You aren’t changing them, why go on?”

“I never imagined I could change them.” The old woman replied. “Change is up to them and Jesus. Changing them is not my job.”pray-442560_640

“Then why do you persist in speaking hard truths to them when it’s clear no one is changing?”

The woman paused as if she was listening to another voice (for so she was). Then she replied, “It may not be within my power to change them into people who choose the Way or who embrace hard truths, but I will not give them the power to change me into a person who abandons the Way or who stops speaking hard truths. I have been given this message by One who gave everything for me. I cannot be many things but I can be one old woman who keeps speaking the truth – even when it’s hard, even when no one listens, even when darkness comes, because this truth is the only light.”

The dark visitor shook his head and sneered, “They call you names behind your back. They think you’re a fool.”

The old woman shrugged. “This isn’t news, dark one. They think I am a fool today but today will not last forever. There will be a day when we all stand before Jesus and every truth I’ve spoken will be as evident as the wall against which you now lean or the pavement beneath your feet. On that day, the people of the village will know that Jesus loved them all along. That Jesus never stopped sending messengers to them to deliver the life-giving truth that could save them. I don’t live by what I see today but by what I know I will see on that day and every day after forever more. Now, go from here. There is no square of land for you here because as long as there is old-woman-laughingone small spark of light darkness will not find a comfortable corner on which to build itself a home in this place.”

And so he left.

And so the old woman went on with her day, speaking hard truth, and learning to love as she is loved forever. And she is still telling the truth to this day . . .

**Note to the reader: This story is a fairy tale that could come true if we let it.

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  1. What a fascinating fairy tale, Lori! A tale of faithfulness and surrender and dedication to the Truth. I marvel at this old lady and her willingness to share Jesus when no one around her accepted her message. That should be my goal everyday, to simply share Truth, and to remember that a person’s response is between them and Jesus.

  2. This morning I read, “The prophet is considered a fool, the inspired person a maniac. The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman over Ephraim, yet snares await him on all his paths, and hostility in the house of his God” (Hosea 9:7b-8). Looks like Hosea could identify with your fairy tale.