I stayed quietly at one corner of Mama’s hospital room as the members of her Protestant church milled around her bed. Their pastor led a prayer of healing and worship as the members sang their psalms in beautiful harmony. I could see the tears from Beema’s eyes glistening as they rolled down her face. I must’ve been on the verge of tears myself especially when they started to sing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” Morning by morning new mercies I see … for this has been a song that has been with Beema’s family ever since I became part of it. I remember Papa (when he was still alive) singing it all the time. Even while we would be walking around the mall, Papa would be worshipping God complete with his arms raised singing aloud “Great is His Faithfulness.” I’d tease Beema and tell her that people might think that Papa was out of his mind … how little I knew then.
All that I ever needed, Thou hast provided; great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me … I would later in my renewed life, be humbled much by this family that I have now become a part of. Then, I thought I had everything only to discover that it was nothing. Then, I thought they had little only to discover that they had everything … for Mama and Papa had always lived their lives asking only for daily graces that they trusted the Lord to provide them. There was never an ounce even of resentment of their status in life, only thankfulness. I remember when Papa died, how so many people came to his wake whom we never knew, but who gave testimonials to the richness of Papa’s heart and how he had helped each one in their own lives. You will never be able to put an equivalent monetary value on that at all; because the wealth that he brought with him when he died was the love of so many people he had touched.
Renewal came to me as a crossroad in my life … I had been so greatly affected by Papa’s death. I had just told myself that here was an honest man. What a beautiful way to go, with a clearance slip from this earth signed, “All Clear, No debts, No enemies, No unfinished business, Clear to go to Heaven and meet his Maker.” Emulating a person such as Papa didn’t come as easy as I had thought, for knowing such a person didn’t give you license to be recognized as being such a person. God listens and says, “… so you want to be a good person? Let’s see of what stuff you are made out of!” And in one swoop of His might and power, He takes away everything in your life … then you know, you have to prove yourself to Him.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!” The fundamental thing about it is so simple and clear … He will forever be there for us… but the change must come from within us. There is no shadow of turning with Thee. Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not; as Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.” What He is, He is … what we are, we are … for really, we cannot think that our community lives will save us from our everyday lives. It would be foolish to think that one is distinct from the other. The mistake comes from the human tendency to infuse an arithmetic whose sum will not really matter. Should it really matter that we keep counting and looking for that 75 percent in service or attendance? Mama and Papa did not compromise their love and faith in Him. God will never compromise His love and mercy for us.
I do believe that mine is not a unique situation, for I cannot alone claim to be the sole participant to this beautiful drama in my life. There are more beautiful stories to be told of how great His Faithfulness is with other people’s lives … stories that need to be shared. I have learned, and continue to learn from the different twists and turns that my own storyline is playing out. I am almost sure that He has also plotted out the stories that each of us is weaving in our own lives. I pray that someday, the life that I have led could also be a story to be shared.