Yesterday I visited with two wealthy elderly widows, one in my office and one at assisted living. Both have lots of health issues and are suffering a great deal. But how they are dealing with their suffering is a study in contrasts. One has one foot in heaven, and is waiting expectantly to get there. The other seems to have one foot in hell, where there is constant misery.
One has a spirit of great determination. She is not letting her physical limitations stopping her from serving at her church. She told me about how she gathered all her strength so that she could speak about her doll collection at a mother-daughter banquet, and how she is supporting her children and grandchildren. When I asked her how she manages to do this, she spoke of her deep faith, and shared with me what God has spoken to her from her Jesus Calling devotion book.
The other former client is living in hopeless despair. When I entered her room at the assisted living facility, she was telling the worker that someone had stolen money from her. As I listened to her monologue of woe, she mostly talked about her money, which seems to be her only friend. She complained about her relatives, was mad at God for allowing her to have a stroke, warned me about making friends with the staff and other residents. She wants to die and end her misery.
Seeing this contrast presents makes me ask what will I be like in my 80’s? Will my life be characterized by thankfulness for the good things God has given me? Will I embrace my sufferings and allow them to draw me closer to God? Will I be a blessing to others?
Or will I focus on my sufferings and be bitter? Will I focus on my loneliness and isolation?
I pray that for whatever time God gives me, whether a few days or a few decades, that I might be filled up with God’s goodness and overflow that goodness to others.