It is late on Monday night. Today, in between a couple meetings, I have spent time at the hospital ministering to a family who is suffering. This morning, I talked with the husband at length as he tries to get his arms around the fact that his wife's health is suddenly failing, and there seems to be little or nothing he can do about it. It truly is a situation where she is in God's hands... He knows it, and he has been incredibly strong and tender at the same time. I don't know if I would be that way or not. But his heart has no anger, just a combination of sorrow and gratefulness for 33 years of marriage. Strength and Tenderness... qualities that only could come through the love of God. Tom has that.
Tonight, I went back. I took Pam with me. Over the years she has not done alot of this with me, in large part because she has had a job that she was not always able to break away from, and four kids who needed her attention. But now that we are semi "empty-nesters", she has been getting out more and connecting with people in need in a more visible way. I love this new stage of life from this perspective. I have NEVER been disappointed with her, when she enters into ministry in this way. Tonight was no exception. She brings a calming influence, a spiritual strength, an encouraging lift, and a peaceful look. Later in the evening, I was running out of gas and feeling it. So I came home, but Pam stayed.
What was interesting to me was the combination that God brought to the situation. For during the time we were there Nancy came by. Nancy is a Cancer Care Nurse that looks at what she does as a calling... a ministry... She waited till her kids were out of the house, and then heard a call from God to step out on faith and go back to school. Her purpose in life is to glorify God by helping people in these very difficult situations like cancer. She said to me, " It is an honor to help someone through this into the presence of Jesus." I had never really thought of it that way before.
I watched Nancy and Pam work side by side to comfort and strengthen the family. And I realized that even though I am the "preacher", they were bringing something that I could not bring. I can't put my finger on it, but I knew that when I left them with the family, that it would be not only okay, but better.
It reminds me that God gifts his children with special abilities that can not always be predicted. It can not always be coached. It can not always be understood. He just does stuff like this to show that He will use anyone who is willing, at any time and any where. I like that about God. No seminary degree was needed tonight. No resumes. No special doctrinal statements. Just words of faith. Just reminders that Jesus died for people so that when we face the moment of death, there is a way to God. There was no special choir , except for the family members that sang " When we all get to Heaven." and "I can only imagine." There was little in the way of chatter... some tears...but really tears of hope and joy...mixed with some sorrow and pain. There was scripture, and hope, encouragement to her that it was all okay... and when she saw Jesus, she could go.
Its just the thing God specializes in... For he knew from the Garden on that all human being would face a physical death. And in His Grace, he uses people , sometimes surprising people, sometimes suprised people, to bring just the right word, the right touch, the right song, and the right kind of joy to such a situation like this. And In His grace, he provided his Son... whose sacrifice was exactly what we needed for a time like this.
That is a combination that can't be beat....
And to think... no one even asked the preacher if it was okay 0:).He just brought the two ladies together and said to me, "Get out of the way."
I love God for that.