This is Day 28 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge! Only three more days left of the Challenge. You will find the complete list beginning on Day 1. You will find Day 28 a bit different from the way I have been traveling down this Prayer path. A valid question was asked, and when I became aware of the wondrous answer, I had to place it here with our exploration of Listening Prayer.
Since July 25, 2014, my dad has been in Five Oaks Nursing Center in Kannapolis, NC.
There are some wonderful benefits offered to him there:
- They have Bingo.
- They have quality care.
- It is located close to my sister.
- It is very clean.
- It has no unpleasant smell.
- They have regular planned activities.
- They help him become more independent.
Aside from these benefits, it is a place of pain, suffering, distress, and misery.
At any given time, you are likely to hear pitiful cries bellowing from rooms. You may hear someone rolling their wheelchair down the hall while hollering, “Somebody, help me. Oh, Jesus, somebody help me!” Sometimes you hear, cursing, or moaning, and alarms going off when someone has crossed their boundaries of movement.
I visited him there twice this week, and Jay asked this thought-provoking question: “Where is God in this?”
I thought about this for some time, and I thought about the sad fact that as bad as this was, there were much worse places on the earth. For example,250,000 homeless children live on the streets of Calcutta encountering daily dangers and abuses with barely enough nutrition to stay alive another day. Where is God in this?
One of the most horrific places and times in recent history was the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany, where Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsie were imprisoned for hiding Jews in their home. Corrie tells her story in the Hiding Place. One example of the pain, misery, suffering and distress that has invaded our earth is this place.Here’s a description taken form this article:
“Barracks built for 250 women later housed 1,500 or 2,000, with three to four to a bed. Thousands of women did not even have part of a bed, and were lying on the floor, without even a blanket. When 500 Jewish women arrived from Hungary in the fall of 1944, they were placed in a huge tent with a straw floor and died in masses. A plague of lice and danger of disease from the water made life in the barracks even more unbearable.”
Many asked, “Where was God?”
Jay’s question demanded an answer. “This is not God,” he said. We’ve taught our children that God is love, and life, and joy, and peace. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. What is going on here? Pain will remain. Suffering will continue. Distress lingers; misery persists.Where is God? God showed us the answer.
- He is in the kind nursing assistant who patiently warmed the tray of cold food my dad had been offered.
- He is in the sister who goes day after day to bring a smile, love and sunshine, making sure he has everything he needs.
- He is in the son-in-law who drives 15 minutes both ways to bring a milkshake because “Pop” couldn’t eat his supper.
- He is in the wife who answers the phone, though she’s been asleep for hours, and patiently answers his questions.
- He is in the volunteers who take the residents on outings.
- He is in the nurses who work long hours and still maintain a pleasant demeanor.
- He is in the volunteers that take time to come and sing, entertain, engage or pray.
- He is in the touch on the shoulder, the hug, the time spent listening.
You find him as your father tells you once again of stories of his childhood. From his wheelchair, even though he has fallen out of bed the night before, even though he is confined to the inside of this building, even though he has barely been able to eat for days, he shakes his head and says, “I’ve had a great life.” And then he says it again.
You find Him in the prayer prayed by the grandson asking for healing and for peace for his grandfather.
Many are the people you encounter who have that same pain, suffering, distress, and misery right within the confines of their body, soul, and mind. You meet these people every day. You sit near them at church and pass them at the grocery store. You interact with them on a daily basis. Some may be family members and friends. Where is God? Look for Him. He is there. You are there.
It isn’t easy to see God, or hear God in a place like Five Oaks Manor with so many suffering, helpless people. You have to look closely. If you don’t find Him, you must look within yourself. He is there.
He is there in a glimmer of light, a glimmer of kindness, a glimmer of hope, a glimmer of love. He is there.
Betsie Ten Boom died on December 16, 1944. Before she died, she told Corrie,
“There is no pit so deep that He [God] is not deeper still.” He is there.
Can you find HIm?
Continue to Day 29