My shoes clicked on the tiled floor as I walked into the quiet room. It was a small well-kept room with a single bed and a couple of chairs. There was Joan as she slept quietly. Her breathing was shallow, and her face would sometimes scrunch up as if she was dreaming something or having a conversation with someone that I couldn’t see.
Her husband of over 60 years was also in the room. He was keeping vigil over her as she was in her last days of life. Richard was a man of strong faith. I could tell he had been crying, but when I walked in, he tried to cover that fact up. He also looked like he could use some rest. He had been faithfully at his wife’s side for quite a few days in a row, never leaving the facility she was in because of her disease, Alzheimer’s.
This wasn’t my first visit with Richard and Joan. It wouldn’t be my last either. This time though, it felt a little different. Richard had something on his mind. After a few minutes of sitting vigil with him, he averted his gaze and asked the question. “I lost Joan a long time ago. I know Joan is no longer in there, but it seems that God has forgotten to tell her body that she is already gone. Did God forget her?”
After a few minutes of conversation, I was able to look him in the eye and tell him that God did not forget her. That Jesus will not lose her or misplace her. In fact, throughout this entire time, Jesus was walking with Joan and that Jesus has her firmly in his hands.
Then it is back to sitting vigil, waiting for bodily death to come.
Sometimes we need the reminder that Jesus is with us, walking with us, holding us, even in the times of pain. Especially in the painful times.
Pastor for Care and Community
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away, 38 for I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me but raise it up on the last day. 40 This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day.”