Greetings, Friends of Christian Concourse!
As [Jesus] went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me!”
And Jesus stood still…
Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.
And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
Dear brothers and sisters, if you are in relationship with an older person, if you are in nursing home ministry, if you work with the elderly and infirm, let us encourage you! Some may wonder what good you are doing. Some may say you are wasting your resources and abilities. Some may think, in any case, your efforts are in vain trying to make a difference for someone who is so hard to communicate with and so set in their ways.
Blind Bartimaeus was alone, living in the utter darkness of being blind, completely unable to do anything about the hopelessness of his situation. I can only imagine what type of help he did get from folks who just tried to shut him up when he was crying out to the only one who really could help him. They CHARGED him to hold his peace!
Please let us share our thoughts along these lines for those of you who minister to the elderly in their home or in a long-term care facility. The trials that care facility residents endure really are hard for us to grasp. Often we have no idea what is really going on beneath that silver hair and behind that precious smile. We do not know what she saw last night when her roommate threw a temper tantrum at the CNA – or visa versa. We do not know anything about his finances or his complete loss of control over his finances. We know nothing about the longing in her heart to see her dog (who was euthanized), who was the closest companion she had for the last few years when she lived at home. We know nothing of their dread of the next shower; the next round dealing with bodily functions; the next diabetes shot. We know nothing of the gaping hole in her heart left by her husband’s death – who she could not visit before he passed from COVID in the hospital.
You know how you would feel if you got a letter from the IRS informing you of a mistake in your taxes that will cost you a payment including penalties and interest that you do not have the money to pay. Imagine that hopeless, critical situation about which you have no solution and it keeps you awake at night. When you go to visit your elderly friend, you may be holding the hand of someone who is facing that hopelessness on several fronts. No wonder they are not very conversational. No wonder they are a little stoic about the message you bring about Jesus. No wonder they soak up your love and attention like a dry sponge!
We pray for you, that your Lord will give you a vision of the blind Bartemaeus you have the privilege to be ministering to. That He will anoint your words to encourage them to call steadfastly to Jesus for their strength and hope…and joy! That you will be empowered by the Holy Spirit in your heart to be a gentle catalyst in their life that they find a renewed love for their Lord and Savior who has seemed so remote and disinterested lately. Scriptures are full of the record of His merciful compassion, His loving kindness, His delivering power to save and comfort. Take Jesus to them…there’s nothing we can do without Him that lasts! When they cry from their heart to Him they will find He will stop in His tracks to bless, to heal that crusty, weary heart, to save that longing, thirsty soul.
Love in Christ,
Jerry and Dar Johnson