|Volume 19 Number 12 December 2017||
It was over the Christmas holidays that our oldest son approached me about what arrangements his mother and I had made in case one of us needed ‘long term care’ due to a stroke or some other sickness that possibly could cripple us. Now that question caused some serious thinking on my part. It is something that we really don’t like to consider since we are still in relatively good health. Yet, our age is showing. After all, my wife and I will be 78-years-old our next birthday anniversaries. I think sometimes I am a 25-year-old man locked in this 78-year-old body. I don’t feel this old but I am.
Aging parents can really be a major problem for caring children, but ‘long term care’ is so expensive. People have lost their homes, property and savings when in need of ‘long time care.’ I knew of a Christian couple who was in the same nursing home, and a relative of theirs stated the cost was $12,000 per month! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Oh, I know that Medicare will pay some, but one still must give up practically all earthly possessions in the process of covering the expenses for ‘long term care.’
There are ‘long term care’ policies that can be purchased from various insurance companies for a price, and if you can afford it, that can be a wise choice. While my wife and I do not have one of those policies, we do have another ‘long term care’ policy that we have had for most of our lives. While in our youth, we confessed our faith in Jesus Christ as being the Son of God, and we were baptized. The cost for our salvation and ‘long term care’ was paid by our Savior who shed His blood on Calvary. We could not afford the cost ourselves, and so He paid it for us.
We know for a fact that the Owner of this policy has cared for us over the years, including 57 years of marriage. Oh, the road has not been an easy one to travel, but it was during the times of trials, burdens and difficulties that His policy really ‘kicked in.’ I am speaking of the care of our Heavenly Father that has seen us through the valleys of this life. The apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
The providential care of God is greatly emphasized by Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew 6:25-34. He provides for “the birds of the air,” and He clothes “the lilies of the field.” He then asked his disciples, “Are you not of more value than they?” Regarding the material blessings of life, the Lord said if we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteous” He promised that “all these things shall be added to you.” God has also given His children this promise as found in Hebrews 13:5-6. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What can man do to me?” I have often quoted Psalm 37:25 to express my trust in the providential care of our Heavenly Father. “I have been young and now I am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor His descendants begging bread.”
In 1904, Walter S. Martin wrote the lyrics to this beautiful song that mentions the promise that “God Will Take Care of You.”
Be not dismayed whate’er betide, God will take care of you; Beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you. Thro’ days of toil when heart doth fail God will take of you; When dangers fierce your path assail, God will take care of you. No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you. God will take care of you, Thro’ every day, O’er all the way; He will take care of you, God will take care of you.
The care of God does not end for His children when this life is over. His ‘long term care’ policy is extended into eternity. Our bodies are daily growing older. The days of our lives are numbered, “For the living know that they will die” (Psalm 90:10; Ecclesiastes 9:5). The fear of death does not overwhelm the faithful followers of Jesus Christ, knowing that they will be in the care of their Heavenly Father (Psalm 23:4). In fact, the apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 1:23 that to die and be with the Lord “is far better.” John was instructed to write in Revelation 14:13 the following. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ 'Yes,' says the Spirit, 'that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them'.”
Isaiah, a prophet of God, penned these words of encouragement. “Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die” (Isaiah 57:1-2).
Eternity cannot be comprehended by our finite minds, but we have the promise that God will take care of us. The sentiments expressed in the following song fills the believer’s heart with full assurance of that great truth.
Safe in the arms of Jesus, Safe on His gentle breast, There by His love o’er shaded, Sweetly my soul shall rest. Hark! Tis the voice of angels, Borne in a song to me, Over the fields of glory, Over the jasper sea. Safe in the arms of Jesus, Safe from corroding care, Safe from the world’s temptations, Sin cannot harm me there. Free from the blight of sorrow, Free from my doubts and fears; Only a few more trials, Only a few more tears. Jesus, my heart’s dear refuge, Jesus has died for me, Firm on the Rock of Ages, Ever my trust shall be. Here let me wait with patience, Wait till the night is o’er; Wait till I see the morning Break on the golden shore: Safe in the arms of Jesus, Safe on His gentle breast, There by His love o’er shaded, Sweetly my soul shall rest. – William H. Doane, 1870
The Jewish leaders considered themselves as holy. They considered themselves better than other Jews. They became self-righteous.
They had gotten to the point where they did not think they had to forgive others if their honor had been attacked. “If the disciple of a wise man be despised or reviled publicly, it is unlawful for him to forgive any affront to his honor; and if he forgive, he is to be punished, for this is a contempt of the law. He is on the contrary to avenge and keep the thing in mind, like a serpent, until the offender entreat to be forgiven” (Practical Lessons from the Experience of Israel. F.C. Gilbert, 1902, p.68).
In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus stated, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” According to Jesus, forgiveness is important. A person should never have the attitude that forgiveness is a weakness or a sin. Forgiveness is more important than personal honor.
Study your Bible. Learn all that Jesus has to teach. Obey Jesus. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.