The other morning I went into my grandparents’ bedroom and saw something startling. Grampy had scooted down to the bottom of his hospital bed, and had his lower legs up over the footboard, trying to get out of bed (he has side rails on his bed to prevent him from getting up without help, and falling. The sheets were tousled and pulled out of place, a clip on lamp had been knocked down, and everything was disarranged. Trying to keep the scolding tone out of my voice, I asked, “What were you trying to do, Grampy?”
“Oh,” he replied. “I was trying to get up! I figured it was Sunday and time to be getting ready for church, and I guessed you’d forgotten about us.”
I was frustrated—frustrated not so much at my grandfather but at the old age which has left him confused and mostly helpless. It wasn’t Sunday. It wasn’t time to get up. He has not walked without assistance for almost three years. And I had not forgotten him.
I tried to explain, but couldn’t quite hide my annoyance and hurt, “Grampy—“ I began, then stopped myself from continuing, “I couldn’t forget about you any more than a mother could forget about her child!” There’s no point in reminding him of the resemblance. Instead, I tried to remind him gently, that for three years I have not yet forgotten about any of his major needs—his meals, his medicines, his risings, his goings to bed—and that he can trust me to be there to help him when it’s time for him to get up.
And as I spoke, it was as though another Voice was whispering in my ear, “But [Rachel] said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me, And the Lord has forgotten me.’ ‘Can a woman forget her nursing child, And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.’” (Isaiah 49:14, 15) And He went on to remind me how for the twenty-one years that I have known Him as my Savior, He has not forgotten a single need, but has known and cared about and provided for every detail of my life.
As I helped Grampy move to his wheelchair so that I could fix his sheets, I realized that probably he had been working for a good half hour to get as far as he had, only to end in a futile tangle. All that time he could have been resting in quiet trust that help would come when it was time to get up. The analogy was inescapable, and as I got him settled and went back to my room, I was so humbled as I realized what hurt I must give to the Lord when I doubt His faithful care. Grampy has, after all, some reason to doubt me; now and then I’ve forgotten some detail of his needs. But the Lord has always provided for every need of mine long before I realized it was a need!
So often, when I could be peacefully resting in the knowledge that He will work at the right time, I’m squirming about, trying vainly to figure out how to accomplish what I think needs to happen. Like Grampy trying to find a way around the side rails that are there for his protection, I try to clamber over the limitations that God has put in my life for my safety. And it seems like the Lord must look down at my foolishness and want to say, “My child, don’t you realize that I’ve never forgotten about you yet? The time is not right, and your way is not right, and you aren’t strong enough to manage on your own anyway. Just “wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)
I don’t even have old age for an excuse!