Disappointment, Guidance, And Comfort

For the past 25 years or so, I have been a pastoral care volunteer at the local Long Term Care facility. During that time, I have led Bible discussions and worship services when needed. Because of my involvement, I have met many people who were residents of the home. In years past, many residents had a Christian upbringing and, as a consequence, were very receptive to any programs which were church- or Bible-related. Also, the residents were much younger and more capable then. Now, many are unchurched and just not interested in Bible-related activities. Also, because of home care now available to people in their own homes, they are older when they come to live in the facility, and because of their advanced years, they are quite often less mobile or capable to take part.

Due to my involvement, I have had some people who, even though they were initially not interested, became regularly attentive, which, from a human point of view, was very gratifying.

Also, during the last few years, I have been asked by staff or family to spend time at the bedside of a dying relative. This is a humbling experience, to say the least, and I have had different involvements. In some cases, the family was there, and we would talk, reminisce, read or quote some Scripture, and pray. It has happened that the person passed away while we were doing that.

It has also happened that family members were present but were not really interested in my presence. In most cases, the person dying had become an acquaintance and had left word with the staff that they would like me to be there. However, the children involved felt that my presence was not needed at all, but they were likely too polite to ask me to leave. Experience has taught me to feel the friction in the room. On one such occasion, I realized that I needed guidance while walking in this dark valley, and a silent prayer came to mind:

Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (NKJV)

Isaiah 41:13 – For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, "Fear not, I will help you." (NKJV)

God's comfort guided me, strengthened me, and gave me courage. Are you discouraged at times? God will comfort you during those times — the Bible says so.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray that, during the times when we are disappointed about doing Your work, You will guide us and lead us and give us comfort. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

1 comment on this post.
  1. PresbyCan Feedback:

    Good word for today, Joel.


    Joel, Thanks for sharing this devotional with us. It brought many precious memories to mind. Thank you, again. Blessings.


    Dear Joel,
    May God continue to give you courage and power to lead persons to our Lord even when they might appear uninterested.
    For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
    I pray that God will continue to keep you moving on in His power.
    Keep writing.


    Joel,
    Your devotional was a very timely message arriving during the wee hours of the morning; sent to me at the perfect time to confirm the truth about God’s goodness. Your title and scripture selections were a perfect match for my momentary despair. Casting all my cares on God in prayer and trusting Him to help was bolstered by your testimony and devotional. Keep on doing God’s work, you are indeed a blessing.


    Dear Joel,
    I always appreciate your devotionals. I am encouraged when I read about your faithfulness in your pastoral care to seniors.
    Today I am discouraged because my dear son is not interested in spiritual things and is not open to talking about the Lord. I will keep on trusting. Our pastor says that the one prayer that is always answered is when we pray to know God better, so I will keep on praying that prayer.


    Dear Mr. Jongkind,
    Thank you for this most meaningful message. It touches me deeply.
    I have been hospitalized for a couple of months.
    Soon I will move into a seniors’ home… something I never expected. My family are most helpful, for which I am most grateful. I keep praying for God’s help and guidance in accepting this change… I am in His hands.
    Blessings.


    Another wonderful reading today, thank you for that.


    God bless you in your much needed ministry.
    (CA)


    Joel, it’s wonderful to hear how God is working in your life through Your ministry. May He continue to strengthen your faith and fill you with peace while you do His will in serving others. Blessings.


    Hi Joel,
    I have experienced a similar ministry to the one you are talking about in your devotional for many years, so I know the joy and privilege of serving the Lord in this area. I have made dear friends and been deeply moved to share some of their life experiences with the Lord.
    Now with the many scary events occurring in our world, which may be leading to the last days, the urgency to share the Gospel is increasing every day. I pray God will open doors for both of us to witness to our unsaved friends and neighbours that those who do not know Him as Saviour will come to do so.
    God bless you.