Matthew 22:31-32 reads, “But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
In a sense I am concluding an account that I started on the Baptists for Life web devotional in October 2013. In that article I explained that my Dad had a stroke, and then reviewed the options and decisions we as a family had to make for his care and well being. We wanted Dad to have the best care and options to sustain his life – rather than withhold food and hydration so he could “go in peace,” as the attending physicians suggested. The physician’s rationale was that he would have no “quality of life” and that existence in a nursing home would be intolerable for him.
Well, the Lord allowed us the blessing of having Dad remain with us until December 3, 2015. We are so thankful God gifted us with an additional 70 months of his love, leadership and example. Though he was in the nursing home, unable to communicate well and limited to a wheel chair, Dad was very lucid, alert and “his old self.” Though his life was obviously not as it had been prior to the stroke, Dads residency there had many purposes. My Mom visited him each day, and other family members were with him regularly. We made many friends with the staff, other residents and their families, which allowed us several opportunities to share the Gospel. My Dad likewise provided an amazing testimony to everybody at the nursing home, as he made the best of his extremely difficult circumstances. His demeanor was sweet and he was usually smiling, content and friendly to all.
My Dad was a steel worker, and was a member of a small Baptist church for many years. Yet at his visitation the night prior to the funeral, there were people from across the years offering condolences – a line that was four solid hours long. With a full house for the funeral service, many heard the Gospel clearly from Dad’s pastor. Hearts were challenged as the memories and tears flowed. The Lord’s grace and power were clearly evident.
I am reviewing these things for an important reason. As every Christian realizes, there are no accidents with God. Dad’s stroke was no accident, the difficulties that followed were no accident and the people we had the opportunity to minister and witness to would not have occurred had Dad not been in the nursing home. Dad’s testimony was amazing, and God truly used the circumstances for His glory as Romans 8:28 reminds us, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
For those that are ready to end another person’s life because there is no “quality of life,” be reminded that God can use His children – even in their limitations – for His glory. For those facing “end of life” decisions on behalf of a loved one, realize it is important to take “reasonable measures” such as food, hydration and medications to sustain life. We don’t know how much God can use whomever He pleases in whatever ways He chooses. When God wants to bring His child home to glory, He can do so without our help.
In the funeral service, I shared a testimony about my Dad, and was so thankful for the Savior’s words in Matthew 22:31-32. It is the highest blessing to know Dad is in his Savior’s presence now and forever … and that God called him home in His time without our negligence or help. And we will be together again … when He so chooses.
Devotional submitted by:
Pastor Richard C. Rogers
Calvary Baptist Church of Sturtevant
President of the Board, Baptists for Life of WI
President of the Board, Alpha Women’s Center of Milwaukee, WI