In my work with Hospice patients, I see patients struggle with pain, loneliness and helplessness. One of the many obstacles they face is the lose of independence. Strong men who worked all their lives now confined to a bed; women who took care of their families who can no longer take care of themselves. Dealing with the loss of their independence is difficult for them. As I sit with them they seem to want me to know who they were before they were ill. They tell me wonderful stories of raising eight children, of working ten hour days in a sawmill, of trips they have taken, of achievements of their lives and now they must depend on someone else for their every need.
When given permission by them to talk about our merciful, loving God and the comfort of the Scriptures, I remind them that during this quiet time during their lives away from the busyness and struggles of daily living, they can grow closer to God. Now in the stillness they can hear the Holy Spirit speak to them and give them words of peace and love. They can grow closer to Him and strengthen their relationship with Him.
Some patients turn bitter and resentful and we talk about the response to this transition they are faced with. It takes a leap of faith, a change in attitude, a new perspective to leave the past behind and live in gratitude for each day that God has given to us now.. To be able to live in the present affords them new opportunities. Many of the worries that plagued them are gone. They can hand those over to their families or give them to the Lord for peace of mind.
I’ve seen families that lived separate lives in separate places come together in support of their loved one and each other. The closeness these families achieve warms the heart of the dying mother or father. Many times the patient finds relief that they are no longer responsible for solving all of life’s problems.
Then there are some patients who enjoy those long sleepless nights or those lonely days to talk to God. They want to share with Him how they feel, how they are sad to leave loved ones but they know what lies ahead. These patients express no fear of dying, but on the contrary, begin to think about people they have loved and lost and are excited to see them again. They want to talk about the wonders of heaven and the joy of seeing Jesus face-to-face. Their lives turn toward God and in those quiet times they can hear Him speak to them with words of comfort and can hear the angels sing.
“Be still before the lord” (Zechariah 2:13)
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
“It was good for me to be afflicted so I might learn Your decrees.” (Psalm 119:71)