You know, the Lord has a funny way of confirming His will sometimes.
In the most unexpected ways.
I’ve shared with you that I go each week to an assisted living facility for the elderly. I am part of a church service that is offered to the residents. We sing hymns, we pray, we share stories and Scripture.
I’ve been blessed there –
But I’ve also shared with you that sometimes it’s been a real struggle.
Last Friday, our regular leader wasn’t going to be there. The other two ladies do not want to lead – so, by default, they let me do it. And last week was a very busy, tiring week. I was babysitting Marty, the sons’ beagle – and so, after a very early morning walk, and feeding him, and feeding me, and getting ready – I had to travel the 30 miles back into town where the service takes place.
On that drive, during morning traffic, I talked to God about my attitude.
"Lord, I’m so tired right now. And I just don’t want to go. I don’t want to lead, I don’t really feel like speaking, and I feel guilty that I’m feeling this way. Could you please show me something today that tells me You’re right there? Something that confirms to me that You still want me there?"
And with that, I pulled into the driveway and parked my car.
I hadn’t written anything original to share this week. In fact, just Thursday afternoon I had looked at my bookshelves, and randomly picked out a couple of Max Lucado books (He Still Moves Stones and No Wonder They Call Him Savior).
One of the books had some great stuff to say about getting older, about finishing your race well, about resting in the sure assurance of your salvation. And in the other one, I found some wonderful words about another Person who finished their race well – Jesus.
So, this was my talk for the morning.
When the service was done, as I always do, I made my rounds to all the people who had attended. I hold their hands, I talk with them, I smile and tell them how happy I am that they were there.
Though I’m not inclined to play favorites in life – I have to admit, I have a couple of residents that are extra-special to me. I have really made friendships with them.
Especially one – Rita.
Rita is a lovely, sharp, kind-hearted woman from Ireland. She's 90. I love to talk with her – her accent is just precious. We have become fast friends over the last two years. She is the only one who kisses me on the lips when she says goodbye – and I don’t mind – it’s like kissing one of my very own grandmothers.
I noticed last Friday that she was in a wheelchair, and she looked a little frail. I noticed that she kept falling asleep – and this wasn’t like her.
So as I was making my way to her side, the nurse who brings these people to our service came next to me and whispered, "Would you please pray with Rita?"
I said, "Of course."
I saved Rita for last.
I began talking to her. I could tell something was different. Her mind was still sharp as a tack, but she was weak. And she was talking in a way that she had never done before. I don’t know what led me to say this, but I looked her straight in the eye and said –
"Rita, are you dying?"
Her face lit up in a smile.
"Yes, dear, I am. But I’m so happy. I’m going home."
In that moment, the room faded from my consciousness, and a hush came over my spirit – and it was just me, and Rita, and God.
We talked awhile.
At one point, as tears were threatening to spill over, she touched my cheek with her hand and said –
"Do not be sad. I’m at peace. I’m going home. And I’m going to see my mother and father. It’s going to be wonderful."
I told her that I was sad for me – but not for her. I told I would celebrate her homecoming. I told her that she had run her race well. I told her that she had finished strong. I told her that I would miss her if she was gone before I saw her again. She replied –
"Oh, but I will see you again. I’ll be looking for your dear, sweet face to arrive."
And I said, "Oh, Rita – I’ll find you, too. And we will run and laugh and play with our Lord together!"
You know, God not only showed up for me last Friday. He showed me Himself – and He showed me the heart of a loved one on the very brink of eternity. He showed me, through the peace on Rita’s face, that all of His promises are true. He really does exist, He really does love us, He really has prepared a place for us, He really has given us the hope of eternity.
As I drove home, I thought of the words that God had called me to share that morning. The words of Max Lucado. And the words He had given me to say to Rita.
And I was reminded of the three best words I have ever known in my entire life – uttered by the One who gave His life on a cross…
It is finished.
Yes, indeed, it is.
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"