God’s Presence In Your Absence

by  SHIRLEY RALSTON
This devotion was originally published at Thrive Ministry
Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com
“Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
Isaiah 46:4
The familiar number displayed on my phone caused me to hesitate to answer. Maybe guilt, rather than honor or true concern, compelled me to pick up. I heard my father’s panicked voice, “I need help!” My mother had passed away three years earlier and now my father’s health was failing. He was alone, scared, and unsaved. Even under the best of circumstances, Dad was a challenge. Our relationship wasn’t great. Now he was reaching out, and I was nine thousand miles away. Talk about feeling helpless. The emotional turmoil of that time defies description.

Are you a global worker with aging parents, facing tough decisions surrounding their care and support? It is becoming one of the top reasons global workers leave the field. This may be especially true for women, who tend to fill the caregiver role. What do you do when there is no one else to stand in the gap? Whether you are called to return or remain on the field, the choice is heart wrenching.

Take comfort that God has foreseen your circumstances and He understands your struggle. Just as God speaks through the prophet Isaiah to assure his people of His sustaining power “until your old age,” you, too, can trust His provision for your family. Whether you stay or go, know He will “bear you up” and your aging parents.

My father passed away before I made it home. During preparations for his funeral, my sister told me of God’s unique provision for him in his last days. Two wonderful Christian ladies we had known since childhood, life-long friends of our mother, had stepped in to care for Dad in the midst of his physical suffering and intense fear of dying. And, where my own sharing had fallen on deaf ears, these special saints led my father to Christ the day before he passed peacefully into the arms of Jesus.

When your thoughts turn to concern for your aging parents, be encouraged as I was by the words from the beloved hymn, “How Firm a Foundation,” where John Rippon captures God’s promise of provision for his people until the very end:

“Even down to old age all My people shall prove, My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love, And then, when grey hairs shall their temples adorn, Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.”
Lord, we praise your unchangeable character. You have told us that you are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We thank you for keeping your promise to carry us and bear us up. Help us to remember that you walk alongside us with wisdom and discernment in the decisions we make about care for our families–especially our aging parents. Amen.
If you have faced a tough decision involving the care of your aging parents, how did God lead you in resolving the issue and giving you a path forward? What counsel do you have for other global workers who may face this dilemma?

About texpatfaith

I'm a returned Christian expat living in Texas after several years residing in the Middle East and the South Pacific. I have the great privilege of writing about my experiences through the eyes of my faith, and to know and love my brothers and sisters serving in Christ's name all over the world. I have a special heart for the missionary community whom I now serve through the Missionary Care Team at my church. I am a writer, researcher, teacher, and archaeology enthusiast who also loves peering into the heavens any chance I get - but most importantly I am a wife, mother and grandmother who loves the Lord. "The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman." Elisabeth Elliott Shirley Ralston (MA Christian Education, Dallas Theological Seminary)
This entry was posted in Blog Entries, Devotional Essays and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s