High Places at the Nursing Home


I was in one of my gloomiest slumps as I went to the nursing home yesterday. I minister at four different places and this particular one is one of those 5 star places that look more like a cruise ship than your typical long term care home. But other than some wonderful times of ministry in the memory care unit, the chapel services in the regular assisted living wing have been almost totally empty since Covid-19. The staff is stretched thin and some of the residents who used to attend have passed away. On top of that it has been hard to explain to the new activities director that we need staff to encourage and help the residents to come to church. The result has been that for the last several sessions the chapel meetings have been empty. Of course this has not been a complete loss as I simply did a u-turn and went in to sing for my friends in memory care (which is always fun!). But I already have scheduled meetings with them on other Sundays and I have kept hoping to restart church services with the rest of the facility.

So with dim hopes yesterday I just surrendered my frustrations to the Lord and accepted that if it was not His will for chapel services then I would leave that in His hands. So I arrived and logged in with the high tech equipment that reads my temp, recognizes my cell phone number and prints my name tag, expecting to find the meeting room vacant once more. But when the elevator door opened on the second floor and I peeked around the corner I was delightedly surprised by several faces looking my way as they heard the elevator opened! My feet suddenly felt as light as a feather and I excitedly walked down the hall, took our my guitar ready to begin with a fresh reminder that God is faithful and that His plan will work out in His own time and His own way. As He had done in the past, God allowed me to fall to my lowest point so I could learn again that only He knows best. My Bible reading this morning was in the book of Habakkuk. There I saw that my Old Testament brother reminded me a bit of myself. Of course he was facing life and death and I was not, but that gloom and doom surrounding most of the first three chapters seemed vaguely familiar. Then his book ends with a glorious Hebrew poem of praise that is like the sun breaking out of the clouds just before sunset. Its song showed me that I could rejoice even when the chapel sat empty and no one seemed to care, because in His own time God filled it again and taught me to walk on my high places!

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

For the director of music. On my stringed instruments

Written by Habakkuk copyright 629 BC

4 Comments Add yours

  1. What a sweet and precious gift God gave you, just as you are a precious gift to the residents there. I love these encouragements from God! Bless you for your love and care of our elderly, Pete.

    1. pastorpete51 says:

      Thank you for the encouraging words. We each have our own place to serve.

  2. I nodded my head in agreement as you described showing up to empty (or near empty) multi-purpose rooms at assisted living centers. But I’ve also had the opposite happen, where I’ve shown up feeling down in the dumps, but a room full of smiling residents lifted my spirits. The passage from Habakkuk fits well with your experience. Blessings!

  3. gracespeaker says:

    Such an important ministry!

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