Psalm 71:9 – Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. (KJV)
We were early that very first Sunday morning when my husband Marcelo and I walked into what would become our new church home. Sitting on the back row in her wheelchair, an elderly woman, excited to see us, motioned for us to come near.
We went over and she proceeded to ask us a very important question: "If you see two flies in the kitchen, how do you know which one is a cowboy?" Smiling, she answered, "The one on the range!"
We found out that her name was Juanita. She was in her eighties, and nobody got past her without leaving with a smile on their face!
She lived with her daughter and her son-in-law, and arthritis prevented her from getting around.
Over the years, we grew to love Juanita very much, and she and I became very close. Her joy, humour, and love for the Lord were contagious.
One day at a restaurant, a server came bustling out, both hands carrying trays of food high above his head. In her wheelchair, Juanita stopped him and said, "Uh-oh, sonny, you left something there behind you."
He turned to look behind him while still juggling the heavy trays. When he asked her what he had left behind, Juanita said, "Your footsteps!"
Physically, Juanita couldn't do much, but from that wheelchair, she moved mountains when she prayed!
Though she didn't have much financially, every year when our church held its "Penny Bucket" contest to help pay for children to go to summer camp, Juanita would bring her Ziplock® baggies full of pennies. That was a big deal to her, and it meant so much to her to be able to contribute.
Along with jokes and riddles, Juanita would hand-write Scripture verses of encouragement and pass them out to any and all who passed by her wheelchair on Sunday mornings.
Our God does not cast us off in our old age nor does He forsake us when our strength fails, and Juanita knew that. She didn't let financial or physical limitations restrict her from serving the Lord in any way that she could.
Towards the end of her earthly life, Juanita became bedridden and eventually went physically blind, but believe me, there was nothing wrong with her spiritual sight. Her outlook remained positive, her humour stayed intact, and she continued being a prayer warrior.
When she passed away, my husband and I attended her home-going celebration, and there wasn't a dry eye in the place, not because of sadness — we knew where she was. Many people shared how she had prayed for them and their families and the wonderful results that they saw. Then Juanita's daughter shared with us the crazy, hilarious, funny things that she had said and done throughout her life. We all couldn't help but have big belly laughs!
As we left the celebration service, I was about to get into our car when I spotted on the ground a spanking new, shiny penny!
It was as though Juanita had jokingly tossed it down from heaven. I laughed as I picked it up … and then, I blew her a kiss.
Prayer: Lord, thank You that even during old age, You have a purpose and plan for our lives. You never cast us away nor forsake us. Amen and hallelujah!
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "He Hideth My Soul" (Lyrics)