Tonight I’m spending another restless night with my Dad in his hospital room. This is my second night to stay with him all night. Just the two of us. It has been my privilege to be with him since last Saturday accept for a few hours when I was away from the hospital. I have talked to him, quoted scripture to him, sung to him, and prayed with him. The only problem is he can’t communicate with me.
Oh, how I wish I could hear his strong voice talk about kindness and winning souls and how we need to love the Lord, and thousand other topics as I have done so many times in the past.
The first night I slept about an hour and I am hoping will get a little more this time. We are about to be in day five after Dad has had a pretty serious stroke. Our doctor (who is outstanding) has said that we are in the most crucial days of the post stroke period.
Dad is still not responding but the doctor says that is not uncommon. He says that the hope is that he will respond after day five or six. We are praying that he will begin to respond and that he will regain his wonderful ability to communicate.
During this past week I’ve been reminded of the importance of family and friends. There are times in our lives that we are reminded of the importance of the people closest to us. During the past week family and friends from around the world have blessed us.
I have watched our family come together to surround our dad with love and attention. I have watched family members put aside differences to work together to show the common love that we have for Dad.
I have had friends who have driven for hours to come to the hospital (knowing that they would not be allowed into the room) just to spend a few minutes visiting and praying with us. Some of these friends have been a part of my life for more than thirty years (Thanks Russ, Gary, Mike, Johnny, Rick, Robert, James, Ron, Juan, and I could go on and on and on). The blessing they continue to be to our life is overwhelming.
Here are a few valuable lessons that I have been reminded of by family and friends this week.
(1) TELL PEOPLE THAT YOU LOVE THEM. The number of times this week that I have heard the words, “I love your Dad,” “I love you,” or “we love your family” has been overwhelming. We all know that God’s Word teaches that we should love one another (John 13:34-35; 1 John 2:9-10; 1 John 3:14-18), but hearing someone say those three magic words makes a tremendous difference.
(2) SHOW PEOPLE THAT YOU LOVE THEM. If saying the words is important, showing love by our actions carries love to the next step. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) This is love by action. If we really love someone we will show them we love them. My family has seen love in action during this struggle in our life. People have brought food, sent cards, offered their homes for out of town guests, driven for hours to sit for a visit, and shown kindness in numerous other ways.
(3) PRAY FOR THOSE YOU LOVE. Prayer is one of the most powerful resources that Christians have at our disposal. We can approach the throne of God with boldness and know that He hears us (Hebrews 4:14-16). We have the assurance that Jesus our Savior mediates for us when we pray (1 Timothy 2:5). Even when we are at a loss for words (as I have been some in recent days), and we can only utter, “God help us,” the loving Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27).
We have heard from people throughout our great nation and around the world to let us know that they are praying for us. To each one who has come by and prayed for us, to each church who has offered up special prayers for us, to every individual who has told us (in person, by phone calls, via Facebook, or email) that we are in your prayers, thank you is insufficient. We feel that we have been bathed and overwhelmed by the prayers of righteous people! There are not enough words in our vocabulary to properly say thank you.
It is not my intention to make this article about just my family, however this is my perspective at this time. I am well aware of the fact that there are thousands of other Christians around the world who are going through similar challenges right now.
There are Christians who are being physically persecuted, Christians who have lost someone close to them. Christians who have lost their jobs with no assurance of future work, Christians who are dealing with death, disease, depression, and dejection.
There are Christians who are dealing with division in their church. There are Christians who are struggling with some private sin, those who are questioning their faith, and they are desperately trying to find their way back to God. There are Christians who are going through marriage problems, dealing with divorce, and alienation from their children. There are Christians who have left their first love.
You may be saying, “Jeff what is the point of all of this?” Well, here it is friends, WE NEED ONE ANOTHER! There are so many shattered hopes, broken homes, and bruised lives in our world, so WE DESPERATELY NEED ONE ANOTHER. You see, we have no way of knowing for sure what is going to happen with Dad's situation or with any of the situations I've mentioned above. However we do know that God is on His Throne, that God is good, and that ultimately He will work everything out for our good. With this knowledge in our hearts & heads, and with the help of one another we can endure any difficulty or hardship that comes our way.
Dear God up in Heaven, help us not to just talk about Jesus, help us to become Jesus. Help us Father, not to just talk about being loving Christians, help us to say the words, “I love you,” help us to show our love by our actions, and help us to pray for one another more. Dear God, teach us to be all that You want us to be and all that those around us need us to be. Thank You, Father for showing us how we should live. In the Blessed Name of our Savior we pray, Amen.