Lady Esther, Keeper of the Keys

3 06 2018

Back around 1981, I was laid off from my company for a few weeks so I was forced to file Rock _nfor unemployment benefits. Like everything else before the computer age, you had to go down to the Unemployment office, fill out a form they gave you, then stand in line for hours before you could talk to someone and get the ball rolling to receiving your weekly allowance. Many from the plant were in the same boat with being furloughed, so I knew many who had come to get help as I did. Noticing one individual in particular who just stared at the form in his hand, then looked around the room, gave me a pretty good idea he had more of a problem than just unemployment. Catching his eye, I motioned him over to where I was sitting; we spoke for a short minute, then got busy filling out his form. This brother couldn’t read. Not making a big issue over it, I filled out the paperwork from the info he gave me. Then I gave him clues on how to recognize what question was being asked on the form and we made a quick list of the answers that went with them; this way he could handle the next one on his own. Thanking me, he got up from his chair and headed over to get in line to see a rep. Before I could join him, another individual came up and asked if I could help them. By the time I was able to take care of my own form I had helped five different people. At home that evening I thought about those people and their short coming of not being able to read. I won’t lie, I’ve always felt a little pride in helping others, but this time all I felt was sadness. You see there was a time I could relate to their situation. As a child, I never learned to read until I was 12 years old. I would look at books trying to get an idea what the words were saying from pictures on the pages. I memorized a handful of words that gave me some understanding, but for the most part the written language was a deep mystery to me. I could remember how insufficient and insecure I felt that I didn’t understand like the rest of my classmates. Those feelings of being less than everyone else stayed with me, that is until an earthly angle in the form of a substitute teacher named Esther Cobb took an interest in me and discovered the secret that so many had missed. Knowing how I felt about myself, I remember her saying to me, “Sweetheart, you’re not dumb, you just don’t have the tools to understand. And we’re going to fix that!”

For the next two years I went to Esther’s home once, and sometimes twice a week to learn letters, what and how they came together to make words. It was a slow process, but over time magic occurred. The mumble rumble mess of letters on a page became words, words became sentences, and sentences became stories that drew vivid pictures in my mind. I began a quest of reading everything I could get my hands on with William Campbell Gault’s books on sports and racing being my favorite. When Sweet Mrs. Cobb used her patience, understanding and care to unlock the door to understand reading, the world seemed to take on a more positive perspective in my life. I am so thankful for what that dear saint did for me; she gave me tools and understanding to believe in myself. I could never repay Esther for what she did for me, but I don’t believe she would have wanted me to anyway. I feel she took her reward in knowing she unlocked the door of understanding to someone she believed in.

When I first approached Christianity, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense either. It seems like a whole list of rules that were impossible to follow. But I had to, if I was to keep what I saw as an angry God from rejecting me. It wasn’t until caring people showed me that God wasn’t angry and that He loved me. Loved me so much He sent His Son to take the penalty of sin in place of me.

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.   John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.                   Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.

When the door was unlocked to understanding that the Lord was not a God of anger and hate, but One of love, the whole knowledge of how He saw me was unlocked, the mystery and the veil were gone.

Jerry Bridges: “God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.”

As Esther Cobb said to me, God says to each of us, “Dear One, I’m not looking to throw you out, I’m wanting to love you. You just don’t understand that love, but I’m willing and waiting to show you.”

The door to the Heavenly Father may appear locked, but Jesus is the key to open it widely and gladly. Amen?

Going back to my original thought, let me finish with this. Occasionally when I’m sitting at the desk down in my studio, I reach into a drawer where I keep diplomas and achievement awards I’ve earned from institutions of higher education. I’m not that impressed with them anymore. They’re nice to have but truthfully, if I took those and $5 over to Micky D’s it would could get me a Happy Meal! But I am glad I was able to earn them, especially when you think about how late I began my understanding of education. And on those occasions, I sometimes picture a certain “Traveler of Rock Road.” A sweet old girl who saw something when others didn’t. At those moments I can almost hear her words, “You see Honey, I told you, you were not dumb. I knew it, God knew it, and now you know it. I am so proud of you.”

‘nuf said.

See ya next time.




One response

9 06 2018
Beverly Crane

Wow look how you started out and what you’re doing today. You certainly had an angel beside you. Think of all the kids that get lost in the system simply because no one takes the time to invest time in their problems. Keep on reading and writing John. You are certainly an inspiration.

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