Monday – Daily Devotional 3/23

Good News for Monday, March 23rd

Pastor’s Piece

Friends- I miss you!  It has already been hard to have our lives disrupted, and I trust that you are finding routines and strategies to adjust to this new way of living.  I’ve been making some phone calls and checking in on people in our congregation and from what I can tell, you are quite the resilient bunch!  And while I do hate to be the bearer of bad news, it seems like this will be the way things are for quite some time.  

This week, health officials are telling us to brace ourselves.  They expect the worst part of the pandemic to begin this week in the United States.  As if the news hasn’t been bad enough, they are warning us that we will see a spike in deaths this week.  They are also expecting the hospital systems to be overwhelmed, and that will likely begin sometime this week as well. 

None of this is what we want to hear.  None of it is hopeful.  But I find that I best cope by mentally preparing myself for the stressful times that are ahead.  As Dory from “Finding Nemo” says, “Just keep swimming.”  Keep heeding the warnings and recommendations.  

On Sunday I preached about walking through the “Valley of the Shadow of Death.”  It surprised me when I learned that this was a real, physical valley and a place Jesus had walked many times.  If you missed the sermon, you can watch it by clicking HERE.  Please join me in praying for each other and for those who are much less fortunate than we are in this time.

Blessings in the wilderness,
Pastor Andy

Updates & Tips

If you have a tip on coping with the quarantine that you think may benefit many in our congregation, please reply to this email to let us know about it.

Our Devotional

“God is love. Whoever lives in Love lives in God, and God in them.”
1 John 4:16

My wife Kathi has been a Resident at Osage Beach Rehab & Care Center since April 5, 2018. She suffers from late stage Alzheimer’s disease. My life since then has been to be with her at the Nursing Home not only giving her comfort but feeding her lunch & dinner.  I believe my constant presence has helped to slow the progression of the disease. She still knows me, but a few weeks ago she went two days where she couldn’t remember my name.

With the rapid advent of coronavirus, it became clear to me the Nursing Home might prohibit my visitation rights. On March 12th, my fears became reality as I was told by the Administrator that visitors would no longer be allowed. My first reaction was to argue that denying my visitation rights would cause Kathi to rapidly decline. I was given a ray of hope that the corporate company was reviewing the policy for those relatives like me, who were with their loved ones daily, would be granted short visitation rights. My prayers were answered as I received information that I could visit Kathi for a short time daily, starting that very afternoon. After spending about an hour with her, I was told the policy changed again and would have to leave. They wanted me to stay away until the following Monday so they could evaluate Kathi to see if she was mentally deteriorating.  Between tears and prayers, I made it through the night.

The next day, Friday March 13th, was the first of the now daily press briefings by President Trump and Vice President Pence regarding the status of the coronavirus pandemic. I will never forget Vice President Pence speaking and among the changes the government was initiating, was the shutdown of all Nursing Homes to everyone except critical personnel. My heart sunk as I now realized it possibly was months before I could physically be with Kathi. As Vice President Pence continued speaking I realized how selfish I had been. Vice President Pence elegantly explained how Nursing Home Residents were part of the “greatest generation”, they raised us and provided for us, they took care of us. He said it is our responsibility now to take care of them and not pass coronavirus from us to them, as they are the most vulnerable of our population. He was so correct .Anyone entering a Nursing Home could be a carrier. I asked God for forgiveness for selfishly thinking of myself rather than protecting our elderly population.

I pray that Kathi and her fellow residents remain healthy under the care of the wonderful Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants. I am also praying for the Doctors, Nurses and other Medical Professionals who are working endless hours across the globe bringing relief and comfort to our fellow human beings.

Blessings,
Bob Schlutow