Jill Jarrell Newsome
Break My Heart For What Breaks Yours
I thought back to the song, "Hosanna" by Hillsong Worship the other day as Mom and I left our visit with her brother at a nursing facility. It is about an hour away and we go every ten to fourteen days. It is not always convenient and I have all the same excuses others do, but we have made that commitment. It saddens me to see the number of elderly people who have not seen their families. I always hope that is not me! My Granny and my mom showed their family how to treat the elderly and how to take care of family. There are so many elderly people isolated today and need a call, a letter or a visit. Many feel that their family has forgotten them. My favorite line of "Hosanna" is, "Break my heart for what breaks Yours." I believe this breaks God's heart.
Our older population faces many challenges and the greatest is loneliness. Millions of elderly people live alone, no longer work and do not go to church. With decreasing mobility, many find it harder and harder to make connections with people. The stereotype is that elderly people are set in their own ways but age forces them to relinquish some independence. Some are coming face-to-face with death. They are thinking about what will happen when their illness becomes terminal. These people have weathered marriages, jobs, raising children, war, heartbreak, illness, and conflict. Some have lost all of their friends.
While their body may be breaking down they still have wisdom. They can also look back on a long life and share what was really important - and what wasn't. We have so much to learn from them. The spirit is still capable of expansion, renewal, or even new birth. Those who have no relationship with Jesus can cultivate one. Often times, they need a spiritual support system. They need fellowship! They begin to number their days. Psalm 90: 12, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." In the next verse they ask the Lord to have compassion and mercy on them. "Relent, Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants."
God is a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows. Psalm 68: 5, "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." In James 1: 27, God calls his people to care for the needy. "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." There are so many people in distress. When we help someone in their distress we are reflecting God's character and expressing love for what He loves.
1 Timothy 5: 4, "But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God." For whatever reasons, this does not usually work out. 1 Timothy 5: 8, "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." Even though we are told in Galatians 6: 5, "for each one should carry their own load," we are only responsible for ourselves. We must do whatever we have to do joyfully. We do not want someone to feel that we resent having to care for them. 2 Corinthians 9: 7, "...for God loves a cheerful giver." Even in giving of our time.
My mom got a call recently from someone she went to church with for years. Mom could not quit telling me how special it was for her friend to call just to catch up. She did not need anything - just wanted to visit. She will never know what that 20-30 minute phone call meant to my mom. As Mom said, "to know she was thought about and thought enough of for her to call." She was loving on my mom like God does! I am blessed to have friends who are good to my uncle and my mom. And these people still work and have families of their own. While we are not blood related, we are family by the blood of Jesus and I know God loves the way they cheerfully give of their time. Who can you call or visit today?