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.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Children Of The Heavenly King" (Lyrics)