For more than a year, I was unable to visit our members in long term care, independent living in communal locals and generally shut-ins at home. This past week I was able to visit almost all of our shut-ins, and much joy and peace was shared.
One person called me later to tell me how wonderful it was that we finally got reunited after 13 months of separation. It is odd seeing people who have changed and may have had additional health issues and other things that have happened to them over time. Some commented that I had changed also.
My list of shut-in's has changed over a year, since the Lord had called home about ten members, and some have died even after I had restarted my visiting of those unable to be visited. Several died whose families did not call for funerals or memorial services for various reasons, so I never got to see them at all. This is not as important as them believing and trusting in the Lord who never separated from them. He was with them all the way home, and He was the One who called them from this vale of tears--we are understanding this concept more and more--to His paradise in heaven, where they await the Lord Jesus' making all things new.
In the Lord's ministry there is no distance, there is no separation, but a life of close connection and comfort.
Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Gracious God, our heavenly Father, Your mercy attends us all our days. Be our strength and support amid the wearisome changes of this world, and at life’s end grant us Your promised rest and the full joys of Your salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.