Last December, I went to see an elderly gentleman in a long-term care facility. About three-and-a-half years ago, he had a stroke, but through specific exercises, he recovered quite well. But then one day, he slipped, fell, and broke his hip. The result was that he was unable to continue his rehabilitation exercises. He suffered quite a setback and has been in the home now for about three years. I go to see him on a somewhat regular basis. When I ask him how he is doing, he always says, “I’m content.” But he told me one time that that was not the case in the beginning. He blamed himself for the fall and the changes in his life.
During this last visit, we had a good discussion, talking about our families and how they were all doing, and a number of other things going on in our lives. At one point, he reached for his Bible and showed me a passage which he had marked. He intimated that he had had periods of frustration, being unable to do hardly anything by himself or for himself, being so dependent on others to help him, and always knowing or at least thinking that it was his own fault that he had fallen. He told me that during his times of distress, he thinks about this passage:
“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness, ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I hope in Him!'” (Lamentations 3:21-24 NKJV)
Jeremiah had written this when he was having all kinds of problems. The people of Israel had been taken away as captives to a foreign land. Jerusalem and the temple had been burned to the ground. He was a discouraged prophet sitting looking at the city from a distance, probably from the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley. It was a favourite place to look at Jerusalem from a distance. He felt that he had been punished by God and was driven into darkness. He cried aloud for help, but God did not answer him. People laughed at him, and he figured that he did not have much longer to live. As a matter of fact, sometimes, he wished that he were dead, but still, he was sure that his hope was in God alone.
There are times when so many of us have problems. It may be our own sickness, or that of a loved one. Quite often, we remember the death of a family member or a good friend. So many elderly people are lonely. However, if we are suffering or hurting, like Jeremiah, we can be assured that we can always depend on the Lord’s mercies and His unfailing love.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray that during the times when we are in a state of depression, You will speak to our hearts and comfort us. We ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Meaford, Ontario, Canada
Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author’s permission