Back in 1989 and 1990, our church was without a pastor, and I used to do a lot of visiting of church members and adherents. There was one couple's home in particular where I went quite often. The man especially enjoyed my visits and told me so. We used to talk about a number of things: politics, business, and the church. Quite often, his wife would go for a walk or go to another room so that he and I could have a heart-to-heart discussion. There were a number of things which were bothering him. He was retired from his job and he really missed it. He had had a good job with a number of colleagues, and he was longing for them. He was having trouble keeping busy, and he was really at loose ends.
On one of those visits, he told me that he wanted me to do their funerals. He gave me a note with the Bible text for me to use:
Psalm 118:24 – This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (NKJV)
I found that to be a very strange text to be used at a funeral, and on a following visit or two, we discussed it, but his mind was not to be changed. He said that he was struggling, and he was looking forward to life being over. Later, he gave me another note that said, "Please add this."
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)
Shortly after this, they went to the Long Term Care Centre. I visited him there, and he was so unhappy and worried because of some things that he had done. I reminded him that we cannot earn our place in heaven, but that it is only by the grace of God and the forgiveness that Jesus bought by His death on the cross that we can enter the place which He has gone to prepare for us.
He and his wife suffered a lot during the last months of their lives. Deteriorating from the onset of dementia, she fell and was in the hospital; he was unable to get around. One day, he experienced some physical distress and was taken to a hospital in a nearby city. They both died on the same day in different hospitals.
When I heard about it from the funeral director, all of a sudden, the verse that he had chosen made sense to me. It truly was a good day for both of them, for I was convinced that they were rejoicing and were glad. Their struggle was over.
In my visits at the Long Term Care Centre, on occasion, I meet people who are really struggling. I listen to them and tell them that in all their troubles, they can get comfort from Jesus. One of my favourite Bible verses (paraphrased) that I use most is:
Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in [times of] trouble. (NKJV)
May these words of Scripture comfort all who are in need of peace in their hearts.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are so many people who struggle with day-to-day problems. We pray that You will give them comfort, understanding, patience, peace of mind, and faith. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Blest Are The Pure In Heart" (Lyrics)