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Sermon – 5/9/04
Psalm 62:5 -

Friday Study Ministries

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My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my hope is from Him” (Psalm 62:5)

During the long drive across the American continent from California to Virginia, I was surprised to see many abandoned homes and farm buildings.  While on a trip to the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, some years ago, I had seen many such properties and mistakenly thought that such would NOT be the case in the central United States.  I was wrong, for there are MANY abandoned houses along the road called Interstate 40, as it passes through Oklahoma and Arkansas.  Some had been mobile (pre-manufactured) homes, but others were typical farm houses and residential homes, representing the efforts of those who had built them.  As we passed, I tried to imagine the failed hopes and dreams that accompany those abandoned properties.

Have you ever had dreams that didn’t work out?  Have you ever wanted something or someone badly, but every “door” slammed in your face and you ended up with – nothing!  For about five years, I taught in a convalescent home on Sunday afternoons, and now am teaching in such a place once more, this time on Thursday mornings.

Most who attend have essentially lost everything – Their homes are gone, often sold to pay the cost of convalescent care, and from their perspective, just about everything else is gone as well.  Some are younger patients, who come because of injuries to the spinal cord or brain, and one of the first things that happens to them is divorce – Most spouses in this day and age do not mean it when they say, “until death do us part” in the marriage ceremony, because marriage is one of the first things to go.  I talked with one of those gentlemen the other day.  He is relatively young and his “wife” visits him often, but she is no longer his wife because she divorced him shortly after he was hurt.

Often, the older patients have outlived their children, if they had any, and all too many have seen the demise of their little ones, which is too great a burden for most to bear.  The typical patient is in a wheelchair.  Their legs might work to some extent, but age brings pain and weakness to a point where walking is just not worth it anymore.  They may have a few friends, but mostly don’t know whether they do or not, because if those friends are alive, neither knows the whereabouts of the other.  They may not have a telephone to call them, and the various medications which keep them docile, interact to such an extent that they may not recall the telephone numbers even if they previously knew them.

Some years ago, I had breakfast with a man named Brad, who was the Administrator of a large convalescent facility.  He told me that, “Nationally, 80% of those in convalescent homes NEVER have a visitor.”  Can you imagine? - Your home is gone, your children have either preceded you into death or live in other states and are too busy for you, your spouse is deceased or you’re divorced; you have no car and could not drive it if you did; whatever pension you have is being taken for nursing home costs, and nobody visits you!

Our Scripture, “My soul, wait silently for GOD ALONE, for my hope is from HIM” (Psalm 62:5), is probably one of the most important verses you will ever encounter, and the younger you are when you read those words, the better.  Most people place their hope in jobs, marriage, homes, bank accounts, money, doctors, families, various possessions – Things that don’t last!  That’s the point of the “80%” who “NEVER have a visitor!”  We must look to the Lord, who ALWAYS is with us and gives us our only true hope.

Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal…” (Matthew 6:19-20).  Our priority is the Lord.  He will last for you.

Some of those in convalescent facilities are gentle and patient, with a kind word for all they encounter, but others are angry, filled with feelings of betrayal.  Many sit in wheelchairs near the elevator or exit door, waiting for those who will never come.  An elderly lady on the third floor calls to “Mama,” over and over… If only she could listen and understand that she needs to call out to the Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth, for her hope, our “hope is from Him.”  He will hear when we call.

Joshua was a quiet, unassuming, relatively young man, but he was also someone who had been successful in warfare.  He was to succeed Moses as the human leader of Israel.  God, who is always well aware of our circumstances, had said to him, “Moses My servant is deadNow therefore, arise… (and) GO…” (Joshua 1:2).  From God’s command, “Arise,” it seems that Joshua had essentially collapsed and was lost in personal grief over the death of Moses.  The older Moses and the younger Joshua had been together for over forty years.  The promises of God to Joshua included: “I will not leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5).  God is with YOU, just like He was with Joshua.

Joshua’s true hope had never been in Moses, though that older, wonderful man had been the agent for many of God’s miracles, which were personally seen by Joshua.  It is hard to separate the miracles from the man, and Joshua was feeling abandoned at the moment.  It is difficult to lose the marriage, home, children, financial security, and health that God previously gave to us – We wonder: How could God allow this loss?

It’s important to see that everything we are and all we have, including our own bodies and our health, are just on loan to us for a time.  It’s like a lease relationship, in which our implied pledge is that we will carefully maintain the properties entrusted to us, and God will allow us the use of them for a specified time, the duration of which is known only to Him.

There was a joke told to me some months ago that went like this: “Be nice to your children, for they’ll be choosing your nursing home, someday!”  That’s kind of funny, but what we really need to hear is this: Give your heart, life and love to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, and you’ll spend eternity with Him, in His joy and in His peace!

Lord, there is a process of weakening in all of us that makes me see my need of You.  I call out to You and say, YES Lord, I trust in You.  My hope is now in You.  Please forgive my unbelief and let me be with You – Forever.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
Tel: (562) 688-5559
PO Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)


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