God is holy. We are not.
Never has it been brought home as clearly to me when I was a caregiver that people are closest to seeing the holiness of God when they are in a fragile state, and Satan knows it.
Twenty years ago, after trudging through a mucky decade of my life, I came out on the other side and felt a calling to give back to the world out of gratitude to the Lord. My church had a Stephen Ministry program that trained caregivers to biblically minister to the grieving, hurting, confused, and sick. I prayed about this because, mind you, this was a massive step of faith for me. I was used to being the needy one, not the one called upon to help. But I learned worldly neediness is diminished in helpers who rely on the Lord for their strength and guidance.
After interviews, two other women and I began the 40-hour training that included monthly continuing accountability and support meetings with more seasoned Stephen Ministers. As caregivers, we “ministered” to the people matched to us by the coordinator. Over the next three years, I helped a new divorcee, a woman raising her grandson because his parents were addicts, and a mother navigating the world of teenagers. All were angry and fearful, and some felt guilt. I could empathize.
Later, I spent five years volunteering in hospice care. This ministry also was a calling I would never have chosen for myself because I had minimal experience with dying people close up, only from a distance.
I wondered why God led me to do this? What if I say the wrong thing? What if I’m repulsed instead of loving? Fast forward 3 1/2 years to Mary, my last hospice care receiver, a tiny black woman with a sweet smile. I wrote about Mary in this 2018 blog post titled “Blessed Are The Merciful”.
On the day Mary left to be with the Lord, she was lying in her bed, wide-eyed and confused. Her daughter was there along with her husband and the chaplain. After visiting Mary almost every Saturday for a year and a half, Mary’s homecoming day was when I first met her family. As soon as she saw me, she reached out and smiled. Even if she didn’t know who I was, she knew I was the one who played her favorite 40’s music, decorated her room, drove her outside and around the hallways in her wheelchair, and sat with her while she ate lunch. She knew I was there for her. I loved her, and paid my respects at her funeral a week later, sitting conspicuously in the back. No one knew who I was.
Mary went to be with the Lord in August 2011. In 2012, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and died in November 2017. In His sovereignty, God knew what was ahead.
I learned through volunteering that we could teach and bless others and learn and be blessed by those abiding in the most vulnerable of places.
God prepares us and orchestrates for His highest good. He makes sure everyone has something to give, even if it’s to warn us how NOT to live our lives.
In our humble condition, we are the closest we will get to holiness on this side of the veil without the Holy Spirit to help us.
If you are questioning and wondering why the Lord is leading you in a direction that seems strange and impossible, trust the Lord. Even if you are being discouraged, lack encouragement, and have no confidence, trust the Lord. Read God’s Word. Ask a trusted, biblically-sound friend, and continue praying for clarity. That ‘yes’ may actually contain a ‘wait’ clause.
“as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16