I am a social worker in a nursing facility. During a workday I often speak with dozens of residents. Some visits are scheduled, some are not. One day was particularly terrible. I was all doom and gloom. I felt empty, useless, and defeated. Even now, years later, I remember the depth of the feelings.
On that day, I visited a resident with whom I made no appointment. It was a total whim, or so I thought, that I was there with her, in her room, putting on a smile and engaging in conversation. After a few minutes, our conversation turned to discussions of faith. She spoke of her fulfilled and joyful life. A life she happily reflected upon, and for which she gave thanks to the Lord. She spoke of all that He had provided to her. She did this despite the recent death of her husband, which was the reason she was placed in the nursing home. She thanked God despite her own failing health and the need to be placed on hospice care. She wasn’t angry. She wasn’t counting her losses. She wasn’t feeling empty. She shared that she felt indebted. As we continued, she spoke about how the Lord was always with her.
It was then that it dawned on me that God is listening and observing us. Of course, He is! On my terrible day I failed to remember that He is always with me. For thus says Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out (Ezekiel 34:11). This woman’s witness reminded me of His constant presence. My emptiness was nothing compared to what my Savior had endured. It was also nothing compared to what she was enduring. This woman lost so much! Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice in His death for us on the cross! I sat there humbled, praying for forgiveness. We sometimes need to be reminded to a have grateful heart and to look to the Lord for joy no matter what the circumstances. We need a messenger to show us not to get stuck in those times in life. We especially need this when we feel all the things in life are too big for us. For me, on this day, it took an 89-year-old dying woman to remind me of the love of Christ.
Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord! Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and testimonies (Psalm 25: 6–10).
After this special woman’s passing, I thought of our conversation many times. I often try to remember why my day felt so terrible, but the “why?” became such an insignificant part of the story. When my mind wanders to her all I can think of is my Lord, and I pray. I thank Him for His blessings, past and present. Blessings freely given even on the terrible days.
Have you had a “terrible” day that God used to bless you?
Has God used you to be a messenger of His love and presence?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Even when we might not be listening, we thank You for daily reminders of Your love. Thank You for always being there to guide us and lead us so we are not alone. Thank You for Your Word which is filled with comfort and peace. May we always look for Your messengers and remember to be Your messengers. Amen.
Gospel Outreach Committee
New Jersey District
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Thanks from the Gospel Outreach Committee!