Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Peter Langbroek
Mr. McDonald on Bed #2 in Room #223 stared vacantly at the ceiling. His insides, numbed by medication that ran through the IV tubes, still hurt, four days after major surgery. Just then the black suit man and his two boys entered the room to visit Mrs. Tolsma beside him. They were "religious people," as he called them.

Just then the man with the black suit looked at him and smiled. "Hi, how are you?" he asked.

"Fine," said Mr. McDonald curtly. He didn't want to talk.

The man and his boys went to the bed next to him, behind the white curtains. He couldn't hear Mrs. Tolsma. She could only whisper weakly. She had had her leg amputated. From other visits he had heard that her husband was deathly ill down- stairs. That wasn't as bad as his problems, he thought. His wife died two months ago after ten years of Alzheimer's disease. He could hear the man and his boys, however. "Mrs. Tolsma, do you remember my sons, Joel and Martin?" asked the man. "Say hi to Mrs. Tolsma.

"Hi," they said together. "How are you feeling?"

The conversation carried on like that until (he knew it), they'd talk about God. "The Lord is holding your right hand," said the black suit man. Mr. McDonald thought he heard the woman crying. The man's voice became softer and gentler. Then he began to read: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want... I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

"Boys," the man said, "sing the Psalter you learned at Sunday school." They sang:

The Lord's my Shepherd, I'll not want;

He makes me down to lie

In pastures green; He leadeth me

The quiet waters by.

Mr. McDonald thought he'd forgotten, but the song flooded into his memory. He was a boy again, in the back seat of the 1927 Model A Ford. He was dressed in his Sunday best, beside his two sisters. His mom was in front, fixing her blue hat, while Dad steered the car into the parking lot of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. Then he remembered himself and his friend John singing the same song in front of the church.

Not that he went to church much after he and his wife got married and his parents died. Life was just too busy and too much fun to get religious, he had thought. Now life was neither busy or fun. If only he had listened to the minister with the black suit then. The boys' singing made his eyes water. Maybe, he thought, the minister and his sons would talk to him too. Mr. McDonald felt so lonely.


Children, I wrote this story to encourage you to sing Psalters. Sing them to listen to their message. The Bible says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Colossians 4:16).

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