Do you crave God's Word?

Christian Retreat Centers in PA

By Stephanie Ziebarth, Barnabas Mentor Coordinator

My daughter Abigail and I witnessed a sacred moment the other day. May the beauty and power of it stay with us always.

Abigail graduated from the 4.12 Leadership Training Program last month. Sadly, serious health problems prevented her Barnabas mentor, Gladys McCrae, from attending the event, though we knew she was praying.

The day Abigail received her high school diploma, Gladys and her husband were moving into a nearby assisted living facility, where they will receive the extra help they now need.

I called Gladys to arrange a visit to her new place when Abigail would have a day off from camp, where Abigail is serving as a senior counselor this summer.

“When you come,” Gladys requested, “I think I’d like to have Abigail read to me. My eyes are keeping me from reading my Bible, and my Scripture CDs and DVDs are all at the house.” Knowing what a woman of the Word Gladys is, I could hear the longing in her voice.

Abigail’s first day off from camp arrived and we went directly to visit Gladys at her new home. After seeing their new place and catching up with Gladys and her husband, Leroy, we knew our visit was drawing to a close. Abigail pulled out a Bible to read aloud to her beloved mentor. They decided on Psalm 119.

As Abigail began reading this passage extolling God’s Word, Gladys immediately relaxed onto her walker. There she sat in her chair, oxygen tubes in her nose, head rested on her arms in front of her. Her face was radiant.

Abigail read verse after verse of the precious words… “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word…” “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times…”

When Abigail stumbled over a word, Gladys supplied it, clearly having saturated her mind with this passage through the years.

Abigail got tears in her eyes and tears streamed down my face for a few reasons:

                1) The beauty of God’s Word and the demonstration of this passage happening right before our eyes.

                2) The privilege it has been for my daughter to have this godly woman in her life, who has been there for her and prayed for her regardless of her own life circumstances.

                3) Gladys’ example. Gladys had gone a week without any form of Scripture readily available to her. Without it, she felt incomplete. When she finally heard God’s life-changing words read, her entire body
responded. She relaxed into it, bathed in it, savored it.

I love God’s Word, but do I crave it like Gladys? Abigail memorizes large passages of Scripture, but does she long for it with her entire being? These were questions raised by the experience that day. And our prayer is that we will both remember what Gladys demonstrated to us that day: “My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.”

All students who enroll in the 4.12 Leadership Training Program (for grades 8-12) pursue Christ more intentionally with the help of a mentor. Informational meetings for the 4.12 Leadership Training Program happen this month. If you or someone you know would like to apply for the 4.12 Leadership Training Program, plan to attend one of these meetings July 17, 24 or 26. For more information and to RSVP, e-mail


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