For the past 25 years or so, I have been a pastoral care volunteer at the local Long Term Care facility. During that time, I have led Bible discussions and worship services when needed. Because of my involvement, I have met many people who were residents of the home. In years past, many residents had a Christian upbringing and, as a consequence, were very receptive to any programs which were church- or Bible-related. Also, the residents were much younger and more capable then. Now, many are unchurched and just not interested in Bible-related activities. Also, because of home care now available to people in their own homes, they are older when they come to live in the facility, and because of their advanced years, they are quite often less mobile or capable to take part.
Due to my involvement, I have had some people who, even though they were initially not interested, became regularly attentive, which, from a human point of view, was very gratifying.
Also, during the last few years, I have been asked by staff or family to spend time at the bedside of a dying relative. This is a humbling experience, to say the least, and I have had different involvements. In some cases, the family was there, and we would talk, reminisce, read or quote some Scripture, and pray. It has happened that the person passed away while we were doing that.
It has also happened that family members were present but were not really interested in my presence. In most cases, the person dying had become an acquaintance and had left word with the staff that they would like me to be there. However, the children involved felt that my presence was not needed at all, but they were likely too polite to ask me to leave. Experience has taught me to feel the friction in the room. On one such occasion, I realized that I needed guidance while walking in this dark valley, and a silent prayer came to mind:
Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (NKJV)
Isaiah 41:13 – For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, "Fear not, I will help you." (NKJV)
God's comfort guided me, strengthened me, and gave me courage. Are you discouraged at times? God will comfort you during those times — the Bible says so.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray that, during the times when we are disappointed about doing Your work, You will guide us and lead us and give us comfort. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Wonderful Words Of Life" (Lyrics)