Comforting the weak enables them to be strong.
Comforting the weak is a privilege and meeting Reuven, an angry journalist, for the first time proved no exception. His wasted body clawed for breath while terrified eyes surveyed the hospital room – Reuven pleaded through gasps, “Not here, please not here!”
When the Sister entered his room, Reuven glared and in a raspy voice choked, “Get her out.” Unperturbed the nun proceeded to ask the man various questions, but he remained silent and turned his weak body towards the wall.
“We are here to help Mr. Abraham, but first I need to gather some details.” Reuven remained sullen.
Deciding on a different plan of action the Sister turned to me and handed over the paperwork. “See if you can sort this out and also the reason why he won’t talk to me.”
Closing the door, I sat quietly beside Rauven. “I can get your information from your next of kin if you’d prefer?” Breathing through his oxygen mask, Rauven declined shaking his head. Slowly and painfully taking breaths and then removing his mask intermittently he answered the questions on my sheet.
“Why didn’t you want to come here?”
“Because it is Christian and I am Jewish. My people suffered atrocities and where were the Christians then? Why would I want to spend the last days of my life among these hypocrites?”
“Is that why you are drowning in anger?”
“Yes that is one reason, but the main one is because G_d has deserted me, he promised he would come, and I refuse to die until he does.”
I gazed at the young Jewish man, as tears began to flow from his heart. “But I have failed, and I am dying. Help me to stay alive.“
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Usually, my first course of action when comforting the weak involved using the Bible. This method, however, would be inflammatory to Rauven. So I prayed for guidance quietly. By the second day, Rauven would only let me tend to his needs when his family were not doing so. He felt safe having his circle of believers around him.
When the family left for needed respite as Rauven’s anger took offence at anything irritating, I slipped in and massaged his feet – praying as I did so.
Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
The medication coupled with the massage relaxed Rauven, and he soon fell to sleep. His breathing calmed, and peace enveloped Rauven’s face. This weak man only moments before struggled to move – now he sat up looking strong and elated, his eyes far off. Then he held out his hands expectantly. As quickly as it happened, the moment passed and Rauven sunk back onto his bed.
Comforting the weak and dying brought many rewards and this was no exception, however, what happened next blessed me to this day.
Rauven awoke with new eyes. A light shone so brightly from the haunted look I had come to know, and Rauven smiled. “I understand now; the lady showed me everything. I can die and be at peace. G_d loves me.” As I took his hand and thanked God, I felt a surge of energy, “Thank you, Margaret, I am going now.” I kissed Rauven’s forehead and asked him to wait a little longer so that his family could be with him as he passed.
Psalms 34:5 “Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”
When all stood by Rauven Abraham’s bedside, I stepped outside. A short while later sobs of grief echoed from the room.
After Rauven had been declared dead, I took the family to the counselling room. Once there I discussed the formalities with them. Rauven’s mother commented on how peaceful he looked. Offering up a quick prayer hoping that what I was about to reveal would be received, I spoke of the vision Rauven had had. There was silence then one voice uttered “Rauven got what he wanted, G_d came before he died.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
The burning question in my mind though, of why Rauven had come to a Christian hospice, still sought an answer. Rauven’s mother disclosed that although her son disliked Christians, she knew this was the right place to bring him to find peace. “And I like your G_d!”
Comforting the weak enables them to be strong. Rauven didn’t know the strength and love of God until he lay dying. Fighting the pain and carrying his heavy burden crushed him physically, mentally and spiritually. I had the privilege of being with him during his last journey when he was at his lowest. In his last moments, he became strong.
(Rauven Abraham is not his actual name, as it has been changed to protect the families name.)
In what way has God made you strong in moments of weakness?