But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:2-3 ESV
As we approached, the little flock of sheep crossed the small gravel road and huddled together with their faces pressed against a building. They hid their faces maybe hoping that we wouldn’t see them. But after our car passed over the rutted road, the young boy acting as their shepherd patiently led them back towards their pasture. Though we had intended them no harm; the sheep did not feel safe in our presence. They did not know us and we did not know their names.
That flock of sheep that I met once in India, remind me a lot of the people I meet in nursing homes every week. They sit passively in their wheel chairs or geriatric recliners and stare. Because of our disconnected and fast paced lives; many of them have been forgotten by friends and family, except at holidays when a few come to visit. If you sense God is calling you to be involved and you wonder where to start – then begin by remembering their names. Yes every one has a name and you will be amazed as the vacant looks and blank stares turn to smiles when you call them Joe or Vera or Mary. Remember that there is a good shepherd whose name is Jesus. He is calling us all one by one. He has promised to lead us to green pastures and still waters to restore our souls. He remembers every name in every place and no one is forgotten by God!
As I shared last month; one of our residents was excited about sharing this song which she wrote back in 1990. Since the only available recording was on a cassette tape
(This is a cassette – for those of the younger generation}
So Bella agreed that we could record a video version of her song during our Friday morning singing time at Life Care Center. Bear in mind that I recorded this copyrighted song with her permission so if you should share or wish to record this yourself you will need to seek out the proper channels for doing so.
Whenever we minister at Nursing Homes always remember that not only Bella; but every resident whom we are called to serve has a story and abilities and value. One part of our ministry is not only to bless them; but to recognize and receive the blessings that they have to give!
During song request time at our nursing home service recently; Bella raised her hand and asked; “Can we do something different today?” Then she wheeled herself to the front of our little room and plugged in a cassette player. When she pushed the play button the room was filled with the sounds of a lady’s trio from her church singing a song which she had written many years ago.
The experience was eye opening to me. As I heard the music and words I realized again that not only Bella but everyone in that room had something beautiful to give. No matter what chapter we are at in our lives today; God still has some surprises to tell us about if we will listen for them. It may be that things seem dark and confusing in your world or in the life of someone you love for whom you have become a caregiver. If the waves seem to be filling your little boat faster than you can bail them out; why not consider the words from the chorus of Bella’s song this morning?
The Raging Storm
In the midst of all this raging
Comes a loud and piecing cry
In the storm and in the tempest
Be not afraid – For it is I!
God has not forgotten us. He specializes in commanding storms and calming fears. He is with us all through every part of our journey. If we open the ears of our heart we will hear Him calling; “Don’t be afraid because I am right beside you!”On the cross as Jesus took the penalty for our sins He cried out; “Why have you forsaken me?” in order that He would have to never leave us and He has promised to be with us to the very end!
I am grateful to my friend Robert Keller for his guest post today. Recently as he was recovering from a medical incident he spent three weeks in a long term care setting. That experience put him in the same kind of situation I see every week as I visit in facilities around our community. It […]