I know I have written before about changes. Changes in my life, the world, people, etc. But today I am thinking about change again.
Partly because I am sitting in a new office, in a new town, at a new church, serving a new congregation — but more because I saw a change yesterday that demands my attention.
I was honored to stand by the bed of one of the matriarchs of Chatsworth First UMC as the decision to remove life support was made and carried out. This saint of the church had grown older, frail and had suffered a broken hip as is common. Having been cleared for surgery, she was given a small dose of medication to put her to sleep and in an unusual response, she had a very significant reaction to the medication.
For some 6 minutes, she had no heartbeat. This lead, as it commonly does, to a series of major organ failures and eventually to the place where her body could no longer successfully sustain life. The family in love and concern gave the consent to remove mechanical help and allowed nature to take its course.
We had gathered around her bed, surrounded by medical equipment, medical staff, and a very real presence of the Holy Spirit. We offered a prayer for God to touch her, the family, and the medical community. And then we turned it over to the hospital staff & God.
Medication that was keeping her blood pressure artificially raised and the ventilator were removed and nature began to once again move in its own way. And we watched, and we waited, and we prayed, and tears were shed…….
AND WE WATCHED AS GOD SHOWED UP IN A VERY REAL WAY TO RECEIVE HIS DAUGHTER BACK INTO A PLACE WHERE ILLNESS, HEARTACHE, LONELINESS, PAIN, AND DISEASE DO NOT HAVE A PLACE AND WHERE TIME IS MEANINGLESS.
We watched as her earthly tent was taken down and she clothed herself in glory as scripture promises. We listened trying to hear God speak words of welcome as she made the change, the transition, the move from time-bound, temporal living to life abundant and eternal. Unlike our family moving to Chatsworth, she carried nothing from this life to the next. For there she has everything and more.
Change is not always bad, Change can be good. Change can bring new opportunities, new relationships, new skills, new joys and newness of life. Change can be the answer to prayer.
May God have mercy on us as we often resist changes, and may we find in those changes of life the very presence of a loving, merciful, gracious God.
Rest in the arms of your loving Heavenly Father, Miss Ann Hemphill.
Until the next time….The Hog Father,