For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? Romans 8:24
In the town where I spent my teen-aged years there is a hill we called Mount Pleasant. On most days it was just another rolling green hill. But on mornings when it was perfectly sunny elsewhere, you often found yourself surrounded by deep impenetrable fog.
Though the fog bank usually was no longer that the short half mile over the crest of the hill, the only safe way through was to slow to a crawl and keep your eyes on the yellow center line. You just had to keep going and it would not be long before you would break back out into the sunshine.
Fog banks come to all of our lives. A single phone call, one visit to the doctor or a short screech of tires on pavement and the familiar landmarks of our world can quickly disappear under dark foreboding clouds. Living in Long Term Care or in the shadow of a diagnosis, can sometimes feel as if life has entered a fog bank from without any end. But God’s promise for us in those moments is that He will still guide us. He gives us His hope to light the way even if just one inch at a time. God will stay with us and carry us all the way through. When dense clouds close us in we need to remind ourselves that on God’s mountain road the brightest hope is just over the top of the hill!
I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:4 NLT
As we were singing “How great Thou art!” at the nursing home last week; it occurred to me that some of my friends could no longer remember where they were or how they had come to live there. A few had forgotten their children’s names and one or two, even their own. But as we sang that familiar chorus; most had no trouble at all remembering the words as our voices lifted up in praise.
That experience made me remember that what matters most is not how smart we are, how much money we have in the bank or where we live; but in how much we trust in God. He has given a promise to carry us not only during the decades of our youth and strength but on through white hair and failing eyesight. His love for us is an eternal and unchanging commitment. Even if everyone else forgets, He will still take care of us. He has promised to carry us for a lifetime: and His promise is forever!
Though there were no institutions like nursing homes in the days of Jesus, there definitely were the same kinds of people who lived in them. That society had no social security, government health insurance or orphanages. The poor and helpless either were cared for by family or were thrown out to beg on the street. In the Bible we read a story of one woman we will call Rosemary, who teetered on the edge of destitution. Rosemary was a widow being supported by her only son. Then the worst happened. That son was struck down by some disease or accident. The morning as she followed his coffin on the way out of the city she wept not only for the loss of her child, but also because her future seemed dark and foreboding. Then Jesus came!
Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow…Luke 7:11-12 ESV
It is interesting that village of Nain was only about 12 miles from Nazareth; but this is the only time we know of that Jesus visits there. In the same way that Nain was close to Jesus’ home, nursing homes are close by every one of us. We drive by them every day without realizing that inside those walls are people who are just like Rosemary. While some receive regular visits from loved ones, most are simply forgotten.
Easter is now past and many of us are planning where we will go or what we will do on our summer vacations. Why couldn’t we also plan to make a shorter trip and begin to visit people like Rosemary who live near us and bring them the message that God has not forgotten?
If you or a loved one are going through a time of serious illness are shut-ins or nursing home residents this is book of hope is for you. God is unlimited in His power to minister hope and healing to those of us in need. Now in large print here are 31 daily readings based on the promises of God’s word. You can either find this for yourself on Amazon or you follow the link to 31 Days of Hope. (Also available in e-book format.)
31 Days of Hope – Large Print