Livin It Devotionals-Perfect Imperfection
Knowing who I was before I walked in Christian shoes, I may have smiled at the couple as they passed, but that would be it. I might have felt sorry for them, or thanked God that I was not bound to that wheel chair obviously suffering some horrible pain filled disease. I might have told a story about them using words like hideous or horrifying.
Lucky for me, the woman was thrown into my life as a patient in my care. She was a demanding patient only due to her medical need, but her soul was so strong and bright that it wasn’t a burdon to care for her no matter how many times the call light came on, what I was in the middle doing when she needed me, or how late it kept me after my shift.
Always sweet and smiling, she would be waiting for me when I entered her room. The first thing she’d do was tell me how much of a blessing it was to her that Jesus sent me to tend to her needs. She would read bits of the bible while I tended to her feet, talk to me about God’s love for me, or pray for others while I dressed her wounds.
Her husband never missed a day of visiting with her, and his soul was just as bright as hers. You could feel the presence of God when you walked into the room and found them singing or laughing. No matter how hard life was for them, they didn’t seem to care! They greeted me with a smile and a hug every single time I went in.
They spent every day witnessing to everyone around them, but it was different. It didn’t feel oppressive or like you were just attacked by ‘bible thumpers’ to people who didn’t walk in the light of God. It was comfortable and filled with love. They lead by example, talked about their blessings, and made each person that came into their lives feel like Jesus himself had sent them personally. People left that room with bits of heaven stuck in their hair and to the bottoms of their shoes.
I sat with her husband the day she left this planet. I cried. He rejoiced. I understood why he was happy that she wouldn’t feel pain and that she was with the Lord, but I felt the weight of her loss more than any other patient that had ever gone on while I was on their hospice team. It was like my source of warmth had been extinguished. The halls were suddenly dark and empty. A few days later, some one else occupied her bed as if she was never there. I found myself questioning God. Why would you take some one who so perfectly spread the word you so much want everyone to hear? Why wouldn’t God have spared her, or healed her, or made her live to be a billion years old? I could almost see Jesus standing in the hall leaning against the wall looking at me like, ‘Um, have you ever heard my story?”
A week passed, and her husband started coming by every day to volunteer. I would visit and pray with him, and laugh until we were in tears and unable to breathe. It was like his wife’s light merged with his. It was sweet and warm and familiar. Even in his pain, you could feel how comfortable in the Lord’s hands he was. There was no one he wouldn’t help, nothing he wouldn’t do for another, and he made sure others were served completlely before he drug himself home and poured into his bed.
A couple months had passed since his wife went home to heaven, the man needed surgery that would require rehabilitation, so he found himself a patient in our building. No matter how icky he felt, how high his pain level was, or how much he just wanted to jump out of that bed, his smile never faltered. His prayers never slowed down. His time was still spent dwelling in the word. We still laughed just as hard as we always had. Nothing ever got this guy down outside of general anesthesia.
When the alarms started to sound, the aids and nurses ran for his room and the universe slowed down. I knew, almost like I could feel his soul dancing around me and hear him whisper in my ears, that he was leaving to be with his wife and God in heaven. The crash cart was wheeled in, the ambulance came, and I watched them roll his bare chested body out, one paramedic straddling his torso giving chest compressions and the other squeezing his bag in time. I heard their yells echoing from far away even though they rolled right past me. I could see each face bent and stressed. I could hear the woosh from the bag over and over again: woosh…woosh…woosh…woosh.
His heart couldn’t take the stress of surgery and healing, and it stopped beating while he slept.
I spoke at his funeral about perfect love from an imperfect heart. He was love. They were love. They taught me something about living a godly life, dying, and heaven that I couldn’t have ever learned in a class or a church pew.
Instead of wallowing in sadness like I had done before, I took a part of that light, that knowledge, that love, and I kept it with me. I take it out all the time and share it with others, because while most of the world wants to be like the rich guy with the fast car and the huge house, I would rather be like the severely deformed woman, the mentally challenged man, and the never faltering faith of pure perfect love for God no matter what life puts in the way.
1 John 3:18 says ‘Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.’
My challenge to you this week is to think about the people you love and ask yourself, ‘Am I loving with actions and truth, or with a bunch of words that don’t have anything to back them up?’ If you aren’t, then start today.