They kept me in hospital overnight. This is surely never a pleasant experience, so when the doctor told me I could go, I quickly arrayed myself in yesterday's clothing and walked to the front lobby. Then I looked at the clock. It would be at least two hours before Pat could pick me up. I walked around for awhile, read an out of date magazine, and then spent time watching people come and go. In time I noticed that one of the doors leading off the lobby was different from all the other points of egress for on it was inscribed one word: "Chapel". "Perhaps I can sit quietly inside to pray and read my New Testament", I thought.
I quietly made my entrance into the comfortable looking little auditorium. In the rather dim light I thought I was alone until my eyes became accustomed to this surrounding. I am not sure if I saw or heard her first. Perhaps auditory and optical sense came into operation at the same instant.
The elderly woman sat huddled on a chapel seat at the end of a row, next to the wall. She was poorly clad in a thin, worn coat which would be no match for the cold November wind outside. I had just stepped outside a few minutes earlier in my down-filled jacket and felt the damp chilly weather sweeping in from Lake Ontario and the cold penetrated to my bones. My heart went out to the poor soul weeping alone in the corner. My first instinct was to offer her help but somehow I could not bring myself to enter her world of sobbing solitude. Perhaps I should have offered words of Biblical comfort or at least asked the cause of her lament? These are questions I shall ask of my own heart for a long time to come.
During most of the long drive home I mused on the plight of the poor pathetic old woman who had shared space and time with me. In the days that followed she often came to mind and most of all I thought on the possible causes of her anguish. Had she been diagnosed with some terrible terminal disease? Had a loved one died? Maybe the husband with whom she had shared the vicissitudes of life's journey had passed from time into eternity. The joys and sorrows of the partnership now merely a heartbreaking memory. Or could it be the loss of a son or daughter that caused such heartache? Possibly it was the memory of some dark unforgiven sin or even a totally wasted life? Probably I shall never know what moved my momentary companion to such a display of tears.
This tired old world of ours has many weeping women and many moaning men. Heartbroken and lonely they pass their days in morbid bitterness often unnoticed and forsaken by family and friends. You will find them in our cities and towns, villages and hamlets. Uncounted numbers are parked by insensitive relatives in homes for the aged, senior citizens complexes and the like. But all the weeping, heartbroken people in our communities are not old; they come in every age, and in every shape, height and colour.
Those who are believers in the saving work of the blessed Lord Jesus Christ can, in the face of all this heartache, rejoice in the words of Isaiah 61:1-2, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."
Yes, we can rejoice because the Saviour of sinners applied this Old Testament prophecy to Himself. With reference to the verses quoted above He said, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." (Luke 4:21). Paul says in II Corinthians 1:3, "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort."
Truly the Son of God is all that God is, made flesh, and all comfort is found in Him. Whatever the cause of the broken heart He can bind up the wounds. If it is a guilty conscience then truly "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5) and all He requires is repentance and faith in Him.
Has someone lost a parent or other loved one? David's words can remind them of the loving kindness and nearness of God. "When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up". (Psalm 27)
There is no heartbreak that He cannot heal, no sin that He cannot forgive. There is indeed "balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul." Is your soul in need of healing? Then to you He would say, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
Yes, this tired old world of ours has many weeping women and many moaning men. The poor, materially and spiritually, will always be with us, and despite the fact that the Saviour has come to bind up the brokenhearted, many remain who know not of His love and grace.
James the half brother of our Lord defines "true religion" for us thus: "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (James 1:27) Did James give us these words as a test for the reality of our faith? Can we sit in comfort and unconcern while the elderly sit alone in sorrow and while the young flounder in fear and doubts Christians have a message which meets the needs of all who "labor and are heavy laden". A visit to a senior's home, the sharing of a park bench, a quiet friendly conversation over a cup of coffee may give you the right and the opportunity to declare the message of God's love to some one who feels unloved and helpless. Could you be a friend to a young person in your neighbourhood? There are many who have not found the "Way" and are headed in the wrong direction. Such need to be introduced to the Lord Jesus who said of Himself "I am the way, the truth and the Life" (John 14:6). You must first earn the right by your pure and kindly conduct. Many conversations may be required so that the one in need understands your love and sees reality and sincerity in your actions and words. You must show that you're a friend of the Saviour before you can introduce Him with confidence.
Take an hour a week and spend it in this quiet and perhaps unnoticed service. The Master will notice and on "That Day" will say: "Well done thou good and faithful servant." (Matthew 25:21). Look to the Holy Spirit to guide you, be wise in your approach and He will bring blessing upon your gentle work.
This was written after a hospital stay on November 21, 2000 and it was found by me (Pat) the day after his funeral service on January 14, 2001. It is a very timely message indeed for the whole family.
Jack Scott loved his Lord! He passed away on January 10, 2001 after a lengthy illness.
He is missed greatly by his family.
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