6/24/22 Counseling, Visiting the Sick and Elderly.
In my many years in the ministry, I had the pleasure and task to visit the sick and elderly. This was not always convenient.
This was not always pleasant. It went against my grain to get involved in people’s private lives. But I did it for the Lord’s sake and the sake of the ministry. Sometimes it was very rewarding and other times it was not appreciated especially when it was for counseling of married couples who just continually acted immature and stubborn.
Many times I had to leave my family at family time when these situations arose and it was often unfair to me and my family.
Which is why, many pastors don’t give out their home phone numbers or address. Mine was on the church marquee. I was almost always available to the people in my church and often people in other churches and even non church members.
The people who appreciated visits the most were the elderly. Then the sick, and we sometimes had a healing take place when we prayed for them. That was very cool and something I had never experienced before my born again experience.
The hardest thing I ever did was counseling families. It was often at odd hours, repetitive. And sometimes very sensitive.
I not only had practical experience in doing it but went on to get a master’s degree in it. It was something I never ever desired to do and yet, I did more of it than most pastors.
See, most of the people who condemn me over this crime I am incarcerated for would never take all these hours, thousands of them into consideration for mercy on me. Some families thought nothing of just wasting my time over and over with the same problem and never taking my advice. That my friend was brutal.
But the joy of seeing the faces of the elderly light up when I arrived to visit made up for all the knuckleheads who were unappreciative. More than made up for it.
I once had a couple who decided to get married in a rush and go to the Bahamas to live within days of their wedding.
Now I don’t know what you think of this but this is the truth. I had a dream of the husband, who wanted to be a scuba instructor, drowning in a cave and gasping for air.
I warned them to slow it down. They didn’t listen rushed into the journey and moved within a couple of days. The husband got a case of the ‘bends’ just like my dream in a cave where he came up and had to be flown to Los Angeles since he couldn’t afford the 40k for the decompression chamber routine.
Of course, they called me, I went to pray for him, God not me, God, healed him on the spot and guess what? They never came back to church. Well the wife came once the night before the Northridge Earthquake. That was is.
That’s people for you.
Visiting the sick and elderly sounds like nothing but it was a lot of work. I often traveled many many miles to pray for someone, or to teach a bible study, or to counsel people who might not even be in my church. Does this at all speak to you?
THE STORY ABOUT SHORTY IS APPROPRIATE RIGHT HERE.
Many people ask me why I have spent so much time trying to help inmates. Well, “it’s the sick that need a physician not the well” said Jesus.
When I came to Terminal Island [what a name for a prison right?] I met a little black crown night heron that had fallen out of a tree in front of our unit. Shorty. He had broken his leg in the long fall and the inmates nursed him back to health and fed him twice a day for 12 years at that point.
This spoke to me that if these men who have so little could be that compassionate to a little bird and care for him. Buy him food from their little commissary accounts to make sure he was ok, they, couldn’t be that hopeless. Shorty was greatly loved here until the pandemic and then after it, we saw him no more. But, his son, Junior still comes by and of course, the men take good care to feed him.
As a minister, I had to learn to see the good in each person, or I would never have endured all the people put me through.