BEYOND THIS MOUNTAIN

“I ain’t ever been beyond this mountain,”
The elderly woman said.
“It’s right here I was born, got married,
Raised my children, and buried my dead.”
Her face had a leathery look from too many days in the sun.
I figured only God knew how much hard work she’d done!
Each line in her face could tell a story of its own.
Nobody will ever understand the heartaches she’s known.
As she spoke there was a faraway look in her eyes.
But, then she took me completely by surprise,
When she said, “What brings you to these here parts, young man?”
Slowly I tried to explain I felt it was part of God’s plan.
“I’m a preacher, Ma’am, “ I enthusiastically replied,
Although I felt a little shaky inside.
As I listened to the antiquated rocking chair squeak,
And waited for my host to continue to speak,
I whispered to God a silent prayer,
Because I knew in my heart He had sent met there!

She finally broke the silence in a voice soft and low,
Saying, “I knew you was a comin’ ‘cause God told me so!”
“Young man, I ain’t got much of this world’s goods,”
And I ain’t never been beyond these here piney woods.”
“Ah, but as a little girl I learned to pray,”
“And Lord knows that’s been many a day.”
“God has been with me in times of joy,”
“And also the saddest time of all when we lost our baby boy.”
“That youngun was the pride and joy of my husband, Will.”
“Now they lie together yonder ‘neath that little grassy hill.”
“Will and me had a house full of younguns, but they all moved away.
“And they had a fit when Will died and I decided to stay.”
“But, no amount of coaxin’ was goina do any good.”
“They’s only one way this old lady’s goina leave her piney woods!”

Then she said, “Young man, I don’t know when I’ve chattered so.”
“But, I don’t see too awful many folks around here, you know.”
“She said, “I go by Lizzie, but Elizabeth is my given name.”
“If you called me either one I guess I’d answer just the same.”
“How long have you been saved, Lizzie,” I said with a smile,
Thinking to myself it probably had been quite a while.
“She said, “I’ll be ninety years old right soon!”
“I accepted Jesus on my tenth birthday, the twelfth day of June!”
I thought, “This precious lady has spent eighty years serving the Lord!”
“When she gets up to Heaven she will surely receive a great reward!”

Lizzie said, "Like I told you before I was a youngun' back then."
“But, I knew very well the true meaning of sin.”
“So, when Jesus came in and rid my soul of sin and strife,”
“I vowed then and there to serve Him for the rest of my life!”
“And young man, I’m proud to say,”
“My Saviour still dwells in my heart today!”

She said, “My Mammy and Pappy never saw the need,”
“For any of us younguns to go to school and learn to read.”
“I made it through life without knowing how to read, somehow.”
“But, I’d give anything in this world to learn to read now.”
“You see, my younguns and other folks always read to me.”
“But, now I want to learn to do it myself.” Don’t you see?”
“Ah yes, I want to read the Holy Book myself!”
“Would you please fetch that Bible down from the shelf?”

I reached up and got a Bible down which was faded with age,
And when I handed it to Lizzie, she caressed every page.
She said, “I want to read that scripture, you know the one I mean.”
“Would you please help me find John Chapter three, verse sixteen?”
Then she handed the Bible back to me with her eyes opened wide,
Like a child opening a gift to find out what’s inside!
As I slowly read, “For God so loved the world,”
“That He gave His only begotten Son,”
Lizzie hung on to each word until my reading was done.
Then she said, “Them words are so dear to this old lady’s heart!”
“Tell me, young man when can we start?”
that time it was getting up in the day
But I said, “Let’s get started right away!”
Ah, it was a labor of love and my heart was stirred,
As Lizzie struggled to recognize and pronounce each precious word!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son!”
Time after time we repeated each word until the verse was done.
“That whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Ah, this verse had been the means of many escaping,
A world of sin and strife!

I eagerly visited Lizzie several days each week,
And we were so engrossed in our task we hardly took time to speak.
Then, early one morning I knocked on her door.
When she opened it she was as excited as a child once more!
She said, “Hurry and come in, Dear,”
“I have something I want you to hear!”
Tears filled my eyes as I joyfully heard,
Lizzie reading perfectly each and every word!
Then she said, “Mercy me, I’d better catch my breath.”
It was then I sensed the cold hand of death.
Ah, Lizzie knew well that her life had come to an end.
So, she didn’t even struggle, for death was her friend.
And as the angels came to bear away Lizzie’s soul,
I smiled knowing she had accomplished her goal.

Robert F. Dotson © 2003
Brother Bob's Christian Poetry Potpourri








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