Last night I attended a most unusual worship service, Lord. Well, it was unusual to me. But, after some retrospection I realize it probably wasn't unusual to You.
We weren't in a church or cathedral. The room was about 12 by 12. No pews; just a hospital bed and a few chairs. Flowers with "Get Well" cards at half-mast were lined up along the window sill.
There was no sermon, no choir or soloist. No orchestra performing pre-worship selections. And no one passed an offering plate.
Last night I stood beside that hospital bed and watched with wonder as one of Your children worshipped and praised You for more than an hour.
My sister-in-law has never given her testimony before thousands of people. She has never traveled to the far corners of the world delivering the gospel message. She didn't graduate from seminary or write a book or even sing in the local church choir.
But last night E.J. showed me how to appropriate God's grace for dying.
Her body is now a little more than a skeleton draped in scraps of flesh. But her heart grows larger each day that she waits for Jesus to come and get her to take her Home to Heaven with You, Lord.
Morphine takes the edge off the pain and dulls her senses. Sometimes it clouds her thoughts or leads her through a dreamy fog. But it doesn't inhibit her spirit at all. She lay there surrounded by pillows with her sunken eyes closed to all that is around her in that 12 by 12 space. But her mind was wide awake. She was seeing someone I long to see someday. She was talking to Jesus.
This meek little lady of 72 years raised her ravaged arms heavenward and shouted. "I love you, Jesus! Oh I'm so glad Jesus saved me. Thank you, Jesus, for coming into my heart. Thank You, Jesus!"
She'd smile then clap her hands and grin like a new four-year-old at her birthday party.
"Oh, I'm so happy! I'm so happy You came into my heart, Jesus!" The smile would turn down and she'd weep. "I'm so happy I don't know what to do," she said again and again.
A nurse knocked and came inside. "Is she in pain?" she asked.
"No, she's resting."
"Oh! Thank You, Jesus! Help me, Jesus. I KNOW You're going to help me!" E.J. cried out and reached out to touch You, Lord.
The nurse smiled and nodded. Then tip-toed back to her station. She's seen this kind of worship more than once in the Hospice unit.
But I haven't. I was privileged last night to eavesdrop on a special time between You and one of Your saints, Lord. Soon she'll be at Your feet shouting, clapping, laughing, crying her praises to You for eternity.
Thank You for allowing me to be there last night. Lord, when it comes my turn to suffer, when it comes my time to die please give me the grace to love You as boldly as E.J. did last night.
She's getting ready to come Home, You know. Hers hasn't been an easy life below. But soon she'll be released from that pain and the other pains she has suffered. Soon she won't just be reaching out to touch Me. She'll be with Me. She'll be in My eternal embrace of peace and rest.
A lifetime of depending upon My grace for living each day makes it easier for E.J. to depend on My grace for dying, Little One.
What are you depending upon?