Shining Light to Seniors


The story of Betty is, perhaps, the most stirring one for me out of all the rest--at least, it one of the most amazing! The way it started was, in itself, amazing.
One of the nurses stopped me in the hall as I was going from room to room and informed me that Betty was not doing well and that she, in fact, did not have long to live. This nurse was of the B'Hai religion. As an employee there, she had heard the singing and the spoken word from the Bible. The administration and staff often hunted me down to ask me to work with folk who were depressed and would not leave their room or would not eat. This, though, was unusual--this nurse asked me to go minister to Betty spiritually.

She told me that Betty was thrashing in her bed, that she was unable to hear and that should not talk. My immediate thought was, "What can I do for her?"

I will tell you this amazing story, but first, I need to go back a couple of years. When I first met Betty, she was suffering the after effects of a stroke. She could only say one word: Waiting. If I asked for her name, she said, "Waiting, waiting." An answer that required a sentence was a long series of the same word with voice inflections she would have used had she been speaking the right words. She came to the meetings, but I never knew if she understood a single word. 

Down the road, she had another stroke that left her completely incapacitated. After that, I did not see her very often. Now I was commissioned by an unbelieving nurse to go to Betty's room and do something to help her in her last days. I believe that this nurse felt deep compassion for Betty.

I went to her room twice. The first time, I found that what the nurse had told me about Betty's condition was true, only believe me, it was much worse. Betty was skin and bones--literally. She thrashed in her bed with the sides pulled up, sides that we heavily padded to protect her. I prayed, "Lord, what in the world am I doing here?" I gently touched her and prayed for her...I could at least do that. Then I left. I really was struggling about ever going back. Here was a woman who could not see or could I get to her?

The next week, I went again. I went knowing that if there was to be some kind of victory, it would be God's doing, not mine. When I entered the room, there was a nurse standing in the corner by the bathroom. Her presence unnerved me; it was the first time for that! I never experienced discomfort regardless of who was in the room. This time, I sensed a huge spiritual battle raging within me.

I cried out to God and I did some battle with the devil, using the example of Jesus in the wilderness and His answers to Satan. I have to say that in all my life, it was one of the most intense spiritual conflicts I have ever experienced!

Well, I went over to Betty where she lay moaning and thrashing, her eyes staring off into space. I decided to sing to her. As I leaned way over her bed, looking down into her gaunt face, I sang several hymns...Amazing Grace, Jesus Loves Me, and others. I sang and sang, but Betty just kept almost violently stirring in her bed. Finally, I started to sing, "On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame...." Immediately, she stopped stirring. Her eyes fixed upon mine and she stayed that way until I was finished.

I was deeply shaken for I knew she was connected to me. "Betty, " I said fervently, "do you know that song?"

"Yes," she replied, still looking into my face. So! Betty could hear! Betty could speak! Betty could understand! Was it that no one had taken the time to reach out to her or perhaps, had God worked a miracle?

I went on to ask her "yes" and "no" questions about the cross and Christ Jesus and heaven and hell. She answered everyone with unmistakable understanding!

"Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins?" She told me she did.

By this time I could not hold back my hot tears. "Then, Betty," I said, "then, you and I are going to be together in heaven someday!"

I quoted John 14:1-6 and the rapture passage in I Thessalonians 4 with fervor and feeling as never before. These words from the Bible were like fire in my bones as I assured her of eternal life based on her confession of faith. Never before and never again have I sensed the moving of God's Spirit in a situation. I was in awe.

Was Betty already saved but scared to death about dying? I don't know. Either that or else that day she "confessed with her mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in her heart that God had raised him from the dead! I don't know, but this I do know: Betty went to be with the Lord a few days later. A nurse said to me, "I don't know what you did, but after you visited Betty she stopped thrashing and moaning. She was very peaceful when she died."

To God be the glory!