I experienced something yesterday that I know I will never forget. It has taken some time for me to let it sink in to the point that I can write about it. I experienced the very real presence of God in a place.
I visited my grandmother at Palmyra Nursing Home here in Albany, GA, my home town. It had been some time since I saw her last, and since my last visit home, her health has deteriorated. Now mind you, my grandmother has been sick for some time, but over the last year we have all begun to think of the limited amount of time we have left with her. To put it nicely, she is in the twilight of her years and as with most people who are getting closer to death, conversations of the afterlife and of God are becoming more common.
I’m in school to become a minister; I am a Bible major at a private, Christian college with the deliberate intention of becoming a “man of the cloth”. As such, many people have turned to me recently and asked me questions concerning everything from life and death, health and wealth, and purpose in the things that we go through. One of the people who have been asking questions lately has been my mom. She has asked me everything from, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” to “How do we make sure that we go to Heaven?”
Questions like this come from fear and pain, both of which are completely normal human responses, and I think it was out of fear that yesterday my grandmother made a strange request of me. Grandma’ has problems completed her thoughts and often struggles to communicate with anyone about anything, so I was a bit confused when yesterday she began pointing and my necklace, a small coin chizzled into a cross, and started mumbling. After a moment, I took my necklace off and asked her if she wanted to keep it, to which she very clearly replied “No, I want you to pray with me.”
I was a bit surprised that she was so clearly able to tell me what she wanted, and I was happy to oblige. We prayed for about ten minutes; I didn’t pray for healing, but for strength, and I didn’t ask for a reason for her sickness, but I thanked God for the time He had blessed us with. To be honest, in that moment, it never occurred to me to pray for healing or understanding because I felt the overwhelming love of God Almighty in the room with us, whispering the entire time that everything was in His hands, that neither I nor my grandmother had anything to worry about. I was moved to tears, but I managed to fend them off until I got into my car some thirty minutes later.
We often forget that God is with us, which is easy to do because He is not visible to us in the physical sense, but I promise that yesterday He was in room 73 at Palmyra; He was there long before I walked in.