It was 35 years ago last Christmas Eve. That day an elderly saint of God had called me to her home for an urgent visit. I knew she was soon going to heaven but I did not realize her departure was as close as it proved to be.
She and her husband lived in a gracious bungalow in Port Credit as it was then known. They had bought the home 50 years earlier and had quite a large lot. They were childless.
The house was unusually quiet and the interior was only dimly lit. I sat with her in the living room full of beautiful furniture and she told me her life story. She had married someone who was not a believer. He had made their marriage a miserable affair, but the amazing grace we sing about kept her in the relationship.
She told me of how precious Jesus was to her. She quietly wept as she rehearsed her heartache at being childless. There was not a whisper of resentment at the Lord for her lack of family. She praised her Saviour for being faithful to her through many years of sorrow and suffering. My, how she loved the Lord. No one outside of herself, her husband and I knew the pain filled years she had spent married to him.
I suppose as the father of little children it would have been better if I had been home with my family, but the Lord wanted this saint of God to have at least one person in this world to share her grief at her tragic life as she saw it.
I read to her the Christmas story from Luke’s Gospel and had prayer with her. As I left, my vision was blurred with tears for this gentle kind woman. Getting into my car and starting the drive home, I pled with the Lord to give that woman her greatest Christmas present possible. I asked the Lord to take her home to heaven soon.
Christmas night her husband called to say that she had slipped away during her afternoon nap a couple of hours earlier. As I reflected on that pain filled life that was mercifully over, I realized that quite possibly I was the only person who wept with her in over 50 years at her daily pain and loneliness.
My gift to her that Christmas Eve was to quietly listen, tell her of my sorrow at her life experiences, and to weep. Yes, she knew I wept in spite of the poor light in the room. My ministry to the dear woman was to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). Have you been given a ministry of tears? If so then go to the home of suffering and quietly listen to the pain expressed, weep and then pray committing them to the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Someone may be waiting for you today. Don’t disappoint them, and do not disappoint the Lord Jesus.