My mother had a stroke while telling a children’s story at church. Providentially she survived the attack, but unfortunately was left partially paralyzed. My mother went to church that morning filled with joy not knowing she would never enter her home again. She went directly from the hospital to a nursing home where she spent the next three years laying on her back. In those three years with her life turned upside down and her dreams dashed I never heard her complain once.
My mother was the biggest spiritual influence in my life. She taught me more than any minister, seminary professor or Christian author, because she taught me that through the little things and the great storms of life God is always there. Sitting by my mother’s bed I often wondered how her faith was holding up under such circumstances. She had prayed faithfully for me throughout the years and saw her prayers answered when I became a Christian and she was proud of me when I became a pastor. I couldn’t help but wonder if she felt pain and disappointment because I had turned my back on Christianity, but I never had the courage to ask her. I only wish I had found my way back to God while she was still alive because it would have made her happy. What did she think about the events that led to her having to be in a nursing home the rest of her life? Did she ever think God let her down? One evening I managed to ask her how she was doing spiritually. She looked at me in astonishment then answered. ”I’m fine” is all she said, and I knew she meant it. She had no doubt about her relationship with God because it wasn’t based on the events of the past year; instead it was rooted in a lifetime of trust in the God who loved her unconditionally. She was happy in her relationship with God.
Have you ever wondered how easy it is to make God happy? I remember coming home to visit at Christmas, throwing the door open and calling out, “I’m home.” Mom would come running to throw her arms around me. It was as if her face glowed with joy and excitement to see me. I never once, when visiting with Mom, ever felt she wasn’t overjoyed to have me home. I felt secure and safe knowing she loved me unconditionally.
God waits for us to come home. Some of us have been a long ways off, but He loves us unconditionally. He longs to throw His arms around us and hold us close. In fact I need to rephrase the statement that God waits for us, because He doesn’t; He comes looking for us. Remember the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin. God searches for us because we are precious to Him. We are His sons and daughters adopted into the family of God by His wondrous grace.
Some of us are trying to beat our way through life on our own. Oh, we might pay lip service to God, but in our hearts we feel we are on our own. It seems like a pipe dream to believe that if we open the door and call out, “I’m home,” everything in life will change. Maybe the circumstances you find yourself in won’t change over night, but what will change instantly is your relationship with God. You will have the assurance that you are not alone, you are in God’s care and that in the life to come you are assured of your place. My mother never complained in the nursing home because that wasn’t her home and she knew it. Her home was in the life to come when she would be in the presence of God for eternity. The suffering she went through was nothing to her, because she had her heart fixed on something of much greater value. My mother found it easy to make God happy because she was willing to be counted as part of the family of God. She believed God and it was counted to her as righteousness.