Erich Bridges: Then His Mind Began to Cloud

My pastor friend Tom had one of the keenest minds I’ve ever encountered and he used it to glorify God.

Tom was a master Bible teacher. He loved nothing more than exploring a passage of Scripture and shining light on its hidden depths for the edification of his flock, whether in the pulpit or the classroom. I marveled at his insights.

When one of his students grasped a new truth from the Word, Tom’s eyes gleamed. He would grin in delight, as if he were learning the truth for the first time himself. Many a disciple emerged from Tom’s one-man Bible school.

Then his mind began to cloud.

He couldn’t remember things, or people. It was a form of dementia. Not severe, yet, but significant enough that he could no longer do what he loved: teach the Word. He reluctantly left vocational ministry.

“Why?” I asked God. To silence such a teacher in his prime seemed cruel — like Beethoven going deaf at the height of his musical powers.

That was several years ago. Tom still lives nearby with his wife. Physically, he’s probably in better shape than I am. A dedicated runner, he jogs around the neighborhoods and the local park. He still flashes that toothy grin and waves at every passing car and pedestrian. We pass from time to time and he smiles at me, too, though he no longer knows my name.

One morning recently I pulled into my driveway. I parked the car and got out just as Tom was jogging by. Instead of waving and running on, he stopped. He had a quizzical look on his face, as if he were trying to remember an important message.

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Source: Baptist Press