Four nights a week I arrive at my job at Christian Horizons, visit with the staff briefly, check the communications book and go to bed. Sounds easy? Usually it is!
I’m there as a back-up for the Night Awake staff who prepare meals for the next day, tidy up, do laundry and make themselves available should one of the individuals we serve wake up and need assistance.
Our home is very unique. We presently have three men living there and that number will increase to five in the next month or two. All of the men are coming from institutions where they would not have received the loving care and support that Christian Horizons provides.
Often my sleep is interrupted when the night staff person is called to tend to an individual. I lie there quietly listening. Some of the men we serve aren’t verbal so it’s usually a one way conversation – a monologue.
I’ve been deeply touched and richly blessed by what I’ve overheard. As I’ve eavesdropped on these “night sounds” I’ve sensed a warm, compassionate spirit on the part of the staff. Usually what they’re called on to do in the middle of the night isn’t pleasant. Stripping wet bedding and sponge bathing or showering one of our men after an “accident” is commonplace there.
Often I’ve been rebuked in my own spirit as I’ve pondered what my reaction might be if the tables were turned. If I was “ministering” to their needs and another staff member was comfortably laying in bed? Would I resent the interruptions to my middle-of-the-night schedule? Sad to say, I likely would.
I’ve also been wondering how Jesus Himself would treat these special individuals, His creation, His people. By faith I can see the loving look in His eyes, feel the tender touch of His hands and detect the warmth in His voice. The Great Shepherd of the sheep would lavish His love and kindness on these men.
Each morning I’m awakened when the 6:00 a.m. staff person arrives. He or she assists the one who has spent the night serving. As they interact between themselves and together carry on the work God has called them to, I again sense true Christian love emanating from these caregivers.
Don’t get me wrong! I’m not trying to say that our staff are always “saints” and never get frustrated. Of course they’re not and of course they do. But, as a rule, I’ve been listening in on some pretty powerful “night sounds” that have significantly impacted me.
I’m reminded of the words of the compassionate but confronting Jesus who once said, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” – Matthew 25:40 (NASB)
“Thank You, Father, that I’ve been placed in a position where I can see and hear Your love demonstrated in tangible ways. May the love of Jesus be sensed by these individuals who all too often have been shoved to the sidelines. May our hands be Your hands reaching out. AMEN!”
Note: One of my earliest "posts" on Pilgrim Scribblings concerned the Christian Horizons organization. At that time I wasn't personally involved with this ministry. Check out that post here.