Green Jellybeans are Good for You
It is two in the morning, and the only living creature asleep in your house is the dog. Trudging to the baby’s room, you wonder how you can possibly be on duty for eighteen more years.
The years go by and that bouncing baby is now a loud teenager who still keeps you up at night! You spend your days running errands, eating dinner late, attending parent meetings and rushing through life. One day, you turn around and this all-consuming human being is gone. Time, once your enemy, is now your best friend. Eating out is a pleasure since you no longer have to run a child to the restroom or watch your teenager stare at you with a look that says, “Why am I eating out with my parents?” Personal meetings and activities are a sweet indulgence. You feel energized and happy.
Then, the phone rings. Your parent is lying on a stretcher on their way to the hospital. Your body goes into overdrive. In the days, weeks, months and years to come, there will be trips to visit the family member, decisions about proper treatment, supplies to buy, and prescriptions to fill. You will make life and death decisions, maybe for the first time.
When you are a child, someone else gives up part of his life to nurture and sustain you. As an adult, you wrestle with issues that range from diapering and first steps to graduations, weddings, and learning to let go. And now, when it is time for you to care for your parents, you feel like a child again.
Going it alone on this journey is impossible.
You cannot do it.
But each day, with God as your guide, miracles can happen.
“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household
and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I
will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.’” Genesis 12: 1-2
Abraham was seventy-five years old when he was called to enter Canaan. He was a young ninety-nine when God told him that he would be the father of many nations, and the promised land of Canaan would be an everlasting possession for him and his descendants.
I am fifty-six years old and I can barely take care of my home, a puppy and one long-suffering husband. How a man in his seventies can travel 1500 miles on foot to a foreign land and start over is amazing to me. But there is more to Abraham’s journey. His wife, Sarah, a pretty young thing in her nineties, bore Abraham a son named Isaac, and that child became a human sacrifice to God. Talk about total commitment! God sent a ram to be killed in Isaac’s place, but I can’t imagine the rubber legs that Abraham must have had when he took a knife to his child.
When God whispered, “Go,” Abraham went. When God told Abraham to take his precious son, Isaac, and offer him as a sacrifice, Abraham did as he was told. Was it a mystery that this man was chosen by God to be the father of the nations?
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, says the hymn writer.
Begin your journey as a caregiver, like Abraham.
Say yes to God.
May I have the feet and spirit of Abraham, Lord. Guide and lead me. Amen.
“Moses said to the Lord, ‘O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you
have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.’” Exodus 4:10
Poor Moses. He would never have been voted ‘Most Likely To Succeed’ or elected to the student council. How could someone who had a speech impediment go to the top of his class?
Ask God that question. He’ll tell you about Moses. He’ll tell you that Moses is a natural- born leader. He’ll brag about his courage and leadership abilities, not to mention his strong back and calloused hands. Yes, sir, if the Good Lord could pick only a handful of men and women who were his best and brightest, Moses would make the cut.
When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses saw the glass half empty, but God knew it was half full. Sure enough, this guy who suffered with a speech impediment, led a nation out of bondage and into the Promised Land. A man with a lisp delivered the Ten Commandments and walked through the Red Sea like it was a day in the park.
Our name isn’t Moses, but we have been called, with or without the burning bush. Listen for the call of God, and when it comes, let that fire burn within you until you are able to say…
I will go, Lord.
I will do what I can for someone else, Lord.
I’m hiding in my insecurity, Father. Light a fire within me. Amen.
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” Romans 15: 1-2
In my life there have been times of weakness and times of strength. I find it interesting that when I am feeling weak there is always someone there to help me, and when I am strong, I feel a compulsion to reach out and help others. Truly, this is the work of God, for on my own, I would be selfish and not selfless.
We had two cats, Otis and Nosey, who were perfect examples of this principle. When Nosey wandered off and didn’t come up to eat, Otis would go in and out of the door searching for his friend. When Otis had a bad bladder infection and ran fever, Nosey slept by him and groomed him like a mama cat. If animals know how to love and care for each other, shouldn’t we?
Christ never tired of caring for others. Thinking nothing of his own needs, he spent his days and nights healing the sick, feeding the multitudes, and helping the helpless.
Helping others does not consist of making a few stops on our scenic route through life. It is a lifelong process, filled with rocky detours and unwanted surprises.
To love and care for those who are sick is a risk.
Choosing not to means losing our way.
Get off the main road and never look back.
You are the help of the helpless, Lord. Come and abide in me. Amen.