As a long-time pastoral care volunteer at the local Long Term Care Facility, I have had occasion to comfort residents who were having a tough time coping, either mentally, physically, or spiritually, which I have always done to the best of my ability.
With mostly elderly residents, there are a number of deaths every month. Some time ago, the person in charge of the activities for the facility felt that it would be a meaningful experience to have a memorial service to remember those who had passed on in recent months.
Members of the families of those to be remembered were invited, and also the residents who had shared either a room or a dining room table, or who had become good friends with those now departed from among them. I was asked if I would be interested in leading the service and giving a meditation. A member of the staff would talk about those whom we were remembering. I would then give the meditation. After that, there would be a short slide show of the residents whom we were there to remember. Family members would then be asked to lay a carnation in front of the picture of their loved one. I would finish the service with some closing words and the benediction.
I was very nervous and anxious. I did not know some of those whom we were to remember. They had not at all been involved in my activities. I did not know how the family members would react to a Christian service. After all, it seemed to me to be far more intimate than a funeral service.
I based my message on two passages;
Isaiah 40:1 – "Comfort, yes, comfort My people!" says your God. (NKJV) and
Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. (GNT)
I emphasized the facts that God gives us comfort during these difficult times of adjustment and that Jesus invites all of us to come to Him and He will give us rest.
Afterwards, from one of the families, the wife, a son, a daughter, and their spouses came to thank me for those words, which, they said, gave them comfort and closure while struggling with the recent death of a husband and father. Right then and there, I knew that God's comfort had given them peace.
Are you struggling with the loss of a loved one? Are you having a hard time coping with whatever situation in which you find yourself? Be assured that God can and will give you comfort.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray that You will comfort all who are mourning or are having a hard time coping. We ask for Your blessing upon them. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" (Lyrics)