Sunday, November 27, 2011
In my post titled Preconceived Ideas, I said: "After weeks, I finally walked over to the nursing home to introduce myself and that began a most incredible journey...the truth of the matter is that God knew I needed these older ladies in my life as much if not more than they needed me. But that's a story for another time."
Another time has come...
Within minutes, I had judged by her impeded speech that she was no longer intelligible. The years and ailments had taken their toll on her outward body. She was hard to look at and even harder to understand, and the odor in the room turned my stomach. Foolishly, I whined at God. “Why am I here? How am I supposed to even communicate with her?” It was not a good first day!
Looking back now, I know that it was really ME that was blind…blind to God’s good purposes and blind to beauty that a foolish eye can't see. I’m horribly ashamed now to even admit that all I saw that day was a disfigured, lonely old woman, whose body was falling apart, taking up bed space at a nursing home. I dared to question God as to why He even had her still breathing. My evaluation of the situation called into question God’s goodness and His purposes…how could He let someone remain like that for SO LONG? “Just take her home, Lord.” Her lot in life seemed cruel to me.
I had fears at that point in my life of growing old and being abandoned and the day I met Cora I felt like those fears were confirmed & nearly consumed me. So much exploded in my mind in the hours and days after our first meeting. BUT God had pulled out His scalpel and had begun to do surgery on me...all I knew then was the pain of the first cut. I had no idea what God was going to do. I had no idea that He intended to give me a very special gift of friendship with this woman, and open my blind eyes, and cast away my fears, and grow me in compassion.
God encouraged me with Zech. 4:10 to not despise the day of small beginnings. Small beginnings? “You mean you want me to go back there, God?”
Compelled by His Spirit, I went back, week after week. God began to peel back the scales from my eyes and over time I came to see just how beautiful Cora was. It’s true that her speech was impaired, but she had a patience about her that was remarkable and she would try and try again until I could understand what she was trying to say. And God grew my patience in the listening.
God tells us that His people still bring forth fruit in their old age (Psalm 92:14). I am convinced that I am one of Cora’s many fruits by God’s grace.
The Apostle Paul wrote from prison and told us to “rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice”...Cora, imprisoned in her own dilapidated body, did that. She was one of the most joy-filled people I’ve ever known though her circumstances were FAR from desirable. I could tell many stories about Cora and the scripture truths she illustrated for me through her very real trust in God, her prayer-warriorishness, her contented spirit in accepting from God whatever His hand brought her, and her hope of being with God through all eternity. She understood that “this momentary affliction is not worthy to be compared with the glory that awaits us in Christ Jesus.”
I was SO WRONG in my thinking and evaluations that first day. And God was and is SO GRACIOUS. God is the Giver of life and as long as He gives it, He has designs for His glory and our good in the course of every breath and every heartbeat. Cora’s life, to her dying breath, was filled with meaning and purpose and fruitfulness. Yours will be too. Mine will be too. Because God is who He is, and because His word to us is sure. We can rest there, in His arms, ALL the time (young or old, weak or strong, clothed or naked, hungry or full, chained or free, prosperous or poor, vibrant or in pain).
I look forward to being able to see as clearly as Cora now sees. What a precious gift her friendship was for the two years God gave it. Truth be told, it is a gift that keeps giving. A gift I didn’t even want. How many gifts of God do we foolishly resist? I’m so glad that His grace overcomes my foolishness!
The other day I saw someone sign a comment they had made on a blog with “Still on the Potter’s wheel,” followed by their name. STILL ON THE POTTER’S WHEEL…yep, that’s me! Then and now. Lord, please keep molding me into Your image.