Find Him Familiar
Familiarity. It can be comforting, with a sense of security. I am reminded of a most tremendous moment I experienced a couple of years ago. I was working as a caregiver at a local assistant living home. Many of the folks are suffering from Alzheimer’s. While checking on a resident, it was pointed out to me that ‘Preacher’ (whom I lovingly nicknamed) was wandering the halls. I went and found him. The look on his face was complete ‘lost-ness.’ The poor guy had my FULL attention. His aged demeanor in the previous days was that of dignity, maturity and strength. But not today.
He and I had shared conversations before about God and His Word. I asked him one day, “Preacher, what is on your heart, if you could preach right now, what would it be?” He was silent for a moment, as in deep thought, then he began to share about the King of Syria. For the next few moments as we shuffled along, meandering to the dining hall, he preached to me the most tender little sermon.
However today, there was no sermon. Alzheimer’s had again reached out and pulled him in. Hesitating in the hall, Preacher invited me into his apartment and asked me to sit down. As he was preparing to share something very concerning for him, his eyes wandered about the room, as if looking for something ANYTHING that defined this place his, his home. Then, looking at me with longing, he told me that his house, ‘just across the river’ was a nice little place, but … he went to bed last night, with all ‘this’ (said, as he motioned to the items in his little apartment), “but this afternoon when I woke up I was HERE. All my furniture, my things, but this is not my little house.” My heart was now aching for him. He continued, “I don’t know who I belong to.” Now my heart was crying. He looked me in the eyes, with bewilderment, he whispered, “um… what should I do?” Now, I began to pray for God’s wisdom for the moment. A simple prayer for … “HELP!”
I softly began to assure him that he did indeed belong here, these WERE his things. I remembered hearing him talk on the phone to his son, so I suggested we call him. Mark wasn’t home, but I left a message asking him to please call his dad. Preacher seemed content in doing this. As I hung up the phone, his eyes followed my every move. I knew he needed MORE.
I asked him, “Would you mind if I prayed for you?” It was THEN, there it was, there HE was. Something familiar. SomeOne familiar. He may not have recognized me, or the place, or the time, but GOD he knew! His eyes began to well up. I reached for his hand he in turn enveloped mine in his. And we prayed. We prayed for peace. We prayed for clarity of mind, and for God’s all consuming ‘calmness’ to come on him. After I prayed, he too with confidence and strength that exceeds any I have known … he prayed. When we said our amens, he grasped my hands alittle tighter and thanked me.
As the Psalmist writes in Psalm 71 “Be my rock of refuge, to which I can go … for You have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth…” Preacher conditioned himself over the years … knew his God, he KNOWS his God. God is familiar.
There WILL be times, when life gets ‘unfamiliar,’ when we too may wander the halls of this world, when NOTHING seems to define home to us …. HOWEVER, may we all like Preacher, position and condition, one might say, ‘train’ to KNOW our God, find Him familiar.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” ~ Heb. 10:24)
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