Some years ago my friend Darryl suffered a major stroke. This was the worst in a series of strokes each leaving him weaker and so this time after a brief hospital stay, he was moved into a nursing home. At our church we often prayed for Darryl, but for me praying just wasn’t enough. I knew that God wanted me to visit. I did work in the city where Darryl was staying and passed fairly close to his nursing home on my way home, but each time the thought came to my mind, I gave the Lord a different excuse of why that day wouldn’t work. I was too tired, my clothes were too dirty, or I was way too busy! It is amazing how creative I could be in avoiding God’s will. But the Holy Spirit was gently persistent. He just wouldn’t take “ No” for an answer. Every day God would remind me again that I needed to visit Darryl. Finally after weeks of procrastinating I gave in. So that morning I brought with me a fresh change of clothes and after clocking out at four-thirty I cleaned up in the wash room and changed. Half an hour later when I entered Darryl’s room and saw his face and the face of his wife Beverly, God’s peace settled in my heart and I knew something special was beginning.
One visit became a regular weekly get together and at Darryl’s request, I began to bring along my guitar to play a couple of songs for him. Soon other residents joined us for the singing and over a period of a time we began an informal prayer meeting. Like the opening of a rose changes came gradually, one petal at a time as one opportunity led to another. The staff gave us a small activity room for our meeting but sometimes we were preempted by a nurse’s meeting and on others only a one or two people would show up. On one of my most discouraging days as I was leaving to go home I found myself alone in the elevator complaining to God. Once the doors closed the Lord clearly spoke and asked me a simple question, “Would you do it just for one?”
I suddenly felt ashamed and remembered that Jesus had left the crowds to meet one rejected man who was wandering through graveyards at night and cutting himself with stones. Jesus had made the longest journey of His life to visit a Gentile woman and bring deliverance to her child. Little did I know that when I answered “Yes”, to Jesus just before those elevator doors opened that 25 years of nursing home ministry and hundreds of “Only ones” were waiting for me on the other side.
Today in the midst of this Covid-19 crisis the homes have all been closed. Not even family can get in to visit their parents. This disease has created a wall that feels more impenetrable than the iron curtain. But all is not lost! We still can pray. We can still call on the phone; send video messages, cards, flowers and small gifts. We can sit outside windows and blow kisses and as we do whatever God gives us to do remember the question, “Would You do it for One….Would you do it for me?”