As Simple as Holding Hands

Photo Credit: David Gerber @DaveGerber60

How can you demonstrate God’s love for a loved one?

“Dad has an interesting relationship with God,” his son said. His dad, “Bill” was in our community for rehab but quickly declined after surgery. “Bill’s” memory wasn’t great due to dementia. 

My first meeting with “Bill” set the tone for every visit after. I would walk in and say, “Hello. How are you today?” 

He would reply, “I’m good. Who are you?”

“I’m the chaplain.”

“Oh.” Then he would close his eyes and pretend, I think, to go to sleep. Every single time. It was funny.

On my visits, after dad went to sleep,  the family would talk about their dad. Often we talked about theirs and their father’s faith. 

His daughter in law told me she would come in every day to hold his hand and silently pray. She also wondered about her father in law’s relationship with God. I told her I didn’t know anything about that, but I was sure God’s love for “Bill,” and each of us, is reliable. “BIll” was deeply loved by God. 

On one of those family visits, his daughter in law told me a story from the previous night. She was holding his hand and praying like she always did. Without being fully aware, said started to pray out loud. Dad’s hand shook and he pulled away from her hand. Surprised but unshaken, she continued to sit by his side and went back to silently praying.

That’s a pretty wonderful example of God’s love. Even though she was rejected, she stayed. She continued to pray for his comfort and healing. She didn’t leave because he rejected her praying for him. Her love for him was not dependent upon his acceptance of her prayers. She made God’s unconditional love real in that moment.

We are supposed to make God’s love tangible for those around us. We make God’s love tangible by living out the things we say about God. God forgives, loves, hopes, provides…you get the idea.

So, what do you think? 

Whose hand needs holding?