There Is A Time For Everything

Thursday, January 9, 2020
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Listen while you read: "Children Of The Heavenly King"1 (Lyrics)

On several occasions after one of my devotionals has been published, people have let me know, "I knew it was one of yours as soon as I started to read it." This was mostly because of something that I had written about my experiences at the local Long Term Care Centre. For about 20 years, I have been the pastoral care volunteer at the home, and during that time, I have led 348 Bible studies. We did series on biblical subjects like the Psalms, Jesus' parables, and the spreading of the gospel as we find it in the Book of Acts, just to mention a few. We also did theme subjects during the periods leading up to Christmas and Easter. There were usually about 15 to 20 residents in attendance. During those years, I have seen many people come and go. Some I came to know really well; others not so much. Usually, I really looked forward to going every other Friday. I learned a lot from some of the residents, probably more than they did from me, and the research and preparation for these times together was a great joy.

But lately, I started to find it difficult to get enthused and inspired, and I agonized over my feelings. It was such a change from the way that I had always looked forward to these activities. I began to wonder whether I should quit or try to carry on. The residents are so much older than the ones who were there 20 years ago, and I have found it more and more difficult to have a discussion, rather than just me talking. One night in November, I prayed about it and then fell asleep. Early in the morning, I woke up and knew the answer:

Ecclesiastes 3:1 – To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. (NKJV)

Early in December, we were to have our last Bible study together, but because of illness, the home was closed. We did not have a final session, but Greta and I went there on Christmas morning for a worship service, as we have done for many years. I will also continue to do the periodic memorial services for residents who have passed away during the preceding period.

All through the years of our Bible discussions, in different ways, we talked about how the Lord is always with us. The people in my Bible class could relate to that in a real way. So many of them were struggling with their day-to-day problems — physically as well as mentally — and the words of the Bible gave them the assurance that God was with them. As one lady told me quite often, "If it weren't for God, I would not be able to carry on."

I am sad, but also relieved, that this period in my life has come to an end, but I am sure that the Lord will guide me on another path to do His work.

I'm also sure that these are the attitudes that we all should take when life throws us curve balls that indicate the end of an era: the Lord is always with us, and He will guide us on another path to do His work.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You that You have given us the ability and opportunity to serve Your people, even if it is only to pray for them. We pray that as we become unable to carry on, You will show us other ways to do Your work. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

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About the author:

Joel Jongkind <>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Praying for you as you move ahead, Joel.

    Very good message Joel. Thanks for sharing.

    Dear Joel, thank you for continuing to share your faith in God with us.

    Thank you for these comforting words, as life has taken a detour for me. Your words are encouraging.

    Thank you for a very thought-provoking post, Joel. May God bless you in the next phase. Blessings!

    Thank you, Joel, not just for this devotional, but for sharing the many you have.

    Thank you, Joel, for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. I am also in transition and appreciate your insight. Blessings.

    Thanks for sharing your story today, Joel. May God continue to bless you to be a blessing to others in whatever ministry He calls you to.

    Thank you for today’s devotional. I do enjoy reading them. May God continue to bless you with the ability to write and to minister in the retirement home.

    Dear Joel,
    I can identify with your mixed feelings about closing a chapter in life’s journey. Nonetheless, life is still an adventure, and you’ll find some happy surprises yet around the corner!

    “Van het concert des levens, krijgt niemand een program.”
    Isn’t it wonderful that God is perfect in His reprogramming?

    Sorry to hear you are no longer doing Bible lessons at the long-term care centre. Thanks for all you have done. My. Mom was there for years and benefited from your efforts but yes there is a season for everything.
    May God continue to use and bless you.

    Helpful as always, comforting, insightful. What you and Greta have done with your lives as God continues to guide you, have brought peace and indeed joy to those like me whom you shall never meet. Which is exactly what you both were designed to do. What a good life it gives us, Joel! Blessings.

    Hello Joel
    Thank you for your devotional, both encouraging and confirmation for others I am sure.
    Yes, for sure, God has a plan for us when one season ends another one begins, and He is faithful as we have our hearts and ears open to His plans!!
    God bless.

    I love the story about the glass.
    I have had many experiences like that.
    And with the type of work you were doing God mu have seemed very far away.
    But of course, he was there all the time.
    You have helped many people today and inspired me.

    Will you still occasionally do this devotional?? I understand by things you have said you are about our age so I understand your decision to cut back. If you quit this as well, I will miss you, but we all learn to adjust.
    Not always easy. Thank you for all I have read of your writings.

    Dear Joel,
    Thanks for another special devotional. Yes, it is so true the way our Lord maps out our lives and plans the timing of what we do and when the timing is right to do it.
    Bless you for all that you have done and are continuing to do so faithfully.

    Joel… so perfectly guided message through you from the Lord.
    I made a decision similar to yours in the same time frame. I announced my retirement from a non-profit organization today.
    Your writing is helping with my transition as I look to what the Lord has planned next.
    God bless.

    Hello Mr. Jongkind,
    Thank you for this message. Timely and meaningful as our own church faces the challenges of an aging population.
    Your devotionals continue to inspire me, and I hope your season of devotional writing continues for many years to come! Thank you for your ministry.

    Dear Joel,
    Thank you for your Devotionals. They are always inspiring and just what we need to hear, when you share.
    Keep writing and sharing the gospel on the PresbyCan Devotional site.
    You have been a blessing to many. May the Lord continue to use you for his glory, wherever He leads you.

    Dear Joel,
    Thank you for sharing about your special ministry of encouragement at the home where you ministered and witnessed for so many years. That verse from Ecclesiastes was also the theme verse for the chapel at a Retirement Village. It was my privilege to have worship services and Bible studies in that chapel—always remember the 11th verse of that same chapter. “He has made everything beautiful in its time….” Blessings.

    Throughout my life I have experienced endings.
    Most recently, after intense involvement in the church I am unable to attend, and keep a connection with a church where, if I am present, there is really no need for me to use my gifts.
    I feel the Lord led me to this church so this too must be part of his plan. But I do not know what comes next, if anything since I am well into my senior years.
    I must admit I enjoy my quiet Sunday morning, reading reflecting and journaling. But I miss the community.
    Today a friend of many years, ad work associate, told me she could not perform the monthly task she has done each month since the beginning.
    I do not know if she will be able to resume. Over the years, doors closing have always meant a new door opening.
    But now I do not know. I do know now, if the joy is gone, it is no longer part of His plan.
    I will be interested to know what happens in your case.

    Thank you for your message, Joel, and for all of your work through the years.
    I pray for your next steps in your journey with God.

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