Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
Sometimes our life circumstances leave us in a state of waiting. For me, I continue to work away at my dissertation while waiting to see how God will use this new learning. Likewise, my son and daughter continue to work while they wait to see where God will use their gifts.
Sometimes waiting comes in steps, such as with my mother-in-law, Dorris. We discovered that after 18 years of caring for her husband with Alzheimers, she was losing her own cognitive ability. We took a step when we realized she could no longer live alone: another step when we realized she needed daily care: another when we realized she needed to live a more sheltered life in memory care. We don’t know when the next step will be, but we have memories of what those steps will entail.
This past week, I experienced a different kind of waiting; the waiting of the opening of heaven’s door. Paul’s Uncle Jerry went for a walk, took a wrong step and fell, receiving a serious injury. Events at the hospital soon brought on the hospice team. Jerry was going home, to be with his Savior. Heaven was not going to wait for long.
Last Sunday I had the honor of sitting by Jerry’s side for a few hours. While I sat, I read scripture. In Isaiah God is waiting for His people to return to Him. The words provided a beautiful description of Jerry’s journey home.
Lift up your eyes and look around;
all your children gather and come to you.
Isaiah 49: 18
Jerry’s son, his grandson, his granddaughter, and his great grandson were among those who had opportunity to stand at his bedside, hold his hand, and speak with him. In church, today, our Pastor talked about how Marie and Jerry had a love for children and took many into their home. I know our two children were blessed to know Papa Jerry and Gram Marie and to be watched over by them.
He gives strength to the weary and
increases the power of the weak.
Isaiah 40: 29
Jerry struggled with pneumonia and gave great effort for every breath he took. Marie stayed by his side, night and day, Philip and Jesse spent every free moment in his hospital room. In their weakness, God gave them strength.
I am worn out calling for help;
my throat is parched.
This verse from Psalm 69 was also a part of my reading. These words took on a new level of meaning as I watched the nurse tend to Jerry with swabs of water. His ability to eat or drink was gone and he waited, and labored patiently, as his Savior came for him.
I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed,
for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41: 9b-10
Even as Jerry lay in bed, breathing, sleeping, waking, there was a restlessness about him. He spoke to Marie about things of the world, wanting to be sure that Marie was cared for. He was a servant doing the work God set before him, even as he took his final steps home.
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you,
I have summoned you by name;
you are mine. Isaiah 43: 1b
Shortly after moving to a hospice center, God called Jerry home. His family gathered around him with tears and hugs. The wait was over; Jerry, the redeemed, was summoned by name. We look forward to the day when we will be together, again.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart.