Ministry to my father has been a roller coaster ride for me in the past couple of years. The pattern has been that I see something positive and think maybe he’s opened his heart to the Lord, only to be discouraged in some way or other soon thereafter. But I do not give up hope and when I visited him at the nursing home this weekend my hope was not disappointed.
I went to his room and wheeled him into the lounge. We have a little routine and usually the first thing I do is ask him how things are going. His response, for months, has been pretty negative. I don’t fault him for that because I know that he’s in a season of serious suffering. What I do look for though is some evidence that he’s begun to call on the Lord for help in his affliction. Well lo and behold when I asked the routine question yesterday, his response was a bright smile. Then he told me the following …
He said that he’s been wanting to die but, to his disappointment, he keeps waking up every morning. When he opens his eyes and sees the light of day he realizes that he’s still alive. This scenario he said has happened many times and he has come to the conclusion that dying is not an easy job. (He said this with a smile. I was glad to see that he still has a sense of humor.) Then he said that after all that he’s gone through he’s found that there’s still hope after suffering. What a startling proclamation! He said he had hope!
We talked a little about the Lord after he told me this, and his response was positive. I was encouraged. A little while later his lunch came. Everything was ready and set before him. At that point, before he began to eat, he lifted up his hands to the Lord and said something like “Lord help me to eat this.” I have never seen him do this before. I was amazed.
God’s grace is truly so amazing!
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.