An encouragement & tribute to our seniors that God Has Not Forgotten Them:
While many may not have heard about National Senior Citizens Day, it occurs every year on August 21st. Initiated by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, this day is set apart to acknowledge the life-long contributions our nation’s seniors have made to their community and country.
President Reagan in Proclamation 5847 stated,
“For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older – places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim August 21, 1988 as National Senior Citizens Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
That is why we have developed this article as a tribute and encouragement to our seniors that GOD HAS NOT FORGOTTEN YOU.
One of the ways we are reaching out to seniors in Houston is through an outreach in partnership with Seniority Services, a ministry established by a long-time Somebody Cares staff member, Susie Wolf, to address the needs of our Senior population.
We are hosting a community outreach to a low-income, multi-ethnic independent living community. Non-perishable food, toiletry items, a Thank You card and refreshments will be provided. Most importantly, we will spend time with them, letting them know that Somebody Cares.
Growing up mom had a rule for anyone who walked into the house. “Please take your shoes off at the door.” Perhaps this request was rooted in Japanese custom but mom believed it kept her house clean. When mom became a widow, she chose to move in with her eldest son – me. The rule had not changed over the years and to honor mom, whenever I or guests entered my home, we took our shoes off.
The reasons why this was the custom really did not matter. What was important was showing mom the honor, respect and love she was due throughout her entire life. For no other reason, I did it simply because she was mom.
If I as a son understood the importance of honoring my mom, God valued her so much more. He knew every step she would take and every challenge she would face. It’s true for each one of us. God knows you, loves you and is looking out for you.
God has not forgotten you! He has a special place in His heart – just for you. Whatever your present circumstances may be, God’s thoughts toward you are good, and full of hope for your future. He has a plan and a purpose for you that are greater than any temporary situation. He will keep and fulfill His promises to you.
Perhaps you are reflecting on your life and taking an honest assessment of the ways you’ve overcome challenges and also examining your shortcomings. Regardless of your past, your life experiences have become your life lessons that are producing a life message for the next generation. You are of great value and have much to impart to us. There is purpose for your life far greater than that which you may realize.
As I think about one of my spiritual fathers, Dr. Ed Cole, I am reminded that all his years as a Pastor served as preparation for a ministry that he began in his 60’s which continues to impact men and families across the globe. He laid a foundation from which others have continued to build and carry on to the next generation. God can produce great fruitfulness in our latter years and those years can be even more significant than our former years.
I can only imagine some of your concerns in this season of life. Not only are there personal burdens, you may wonder what will happen to loved ones and how well prepared they are for the future.
Tom can relate. A successful small-businessman nearing retirement, he is concerned about the future of his company. The employees are like a second family to him and many have been with him for more than two decades or longer. Challenging economic times have brought him to a crossroads and wondering if the company can withstand turbulent times. Will they make it for future generations to come? It’s not about the company; it’s about the people.
A mother still prays for her wayward son. A grandfather watches grandchildren living without regard for their own future. These are real issues that sometimes separate family members. But in the midst of that pain and disappointment, there is hope. Relationships can be restored; a son can turn his life around. A grandchild finds the way to turn the passion of her heart into a path for her life.
God is concerned for your well-being and the well-being of your loved ones. But perhaps
your spouse or loved ones have passed and you’re dealing with being alone or other challenges. God is watching out for you. He promises to be your protector and defender. You can hold onto His commitment to you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
If you are in any way being mistreated, know that the Lord is looking out for you. He hears your cry and will vindicate you. It breaks God’s heart when you or anyone who is vulnerable is being taken advantage of or harmed. He will protect you and your property. He will bring justice to pass on your behalf.
Mary lives on a fixed income and each month she carefully plans her budget. Because of her advanced years and health issues, she does not cook often. Thankfully a local “meals on wheels” provides one hot meal for her each day. In fact she used to volunteer for the program but now she needs them to help her. Friends and neighbors check on her. The small rural community where she has lived most of her life serves as her extended family. Since her husband of nearly 50 years passed, Mary has lived alone. Her friends are getting up in years too and some are passing. She trusts in God and He always provides those to lend a helping hand. As she has cared for many in the town, others are coming to her aid in time of need.
Her story reminds me of a principle found in the Old Testament. When the crops were ready for harvest, God instructed the people to leave some behind for the widow, the orphans and the foreigner. Throughout the scriptures we read of God’s intimate concern for widows(ers) and all who are vulnerable. His heart and His principles have not changed. God has bound Himself to look after and care for you. He won’t change His mind or turn His back on you.
In the midst of the challenges you face, God is good and faithful. I encourage you to turn your focus from your circumstances to God. Trust Him to carry you through your current difficulty, the hope or dream yet to be fulfilled.
As I think about the future and where I am heading, I often take time to reflect on the landmarks of my past. God has brought me through every step of the journey just as He has you. Even though I can’t change my past or erase some of the decisions I’ve made before, the decisions I make now, each day, give clarity and definition to my future. Even in our human frailties, shortcomings and mistakes, God demonstrates His love and faithfulness. He never changes.
You can trust Him with your disappointments, concerns, hurts, fears and pains of this life. God has not forgotten you or His promises for your life. I encourage you to reach out to Him with the burdens on your heart.
Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to pull away and rest. Jesus modeled this lifestyle. Throughout His ministry on earth, He often took time to get away by Himself to pray. That time spent with His Heavenly Father gave Him the perspective, clarity, and resolve He needed to continue.
I recall when my mother was battling cancer. It came upon her suddenly and progressed quickly. She had persevered through many challenges in life and was always concerned about her children. Mom lived with me for eight years but in her last year she lived near my sister. During mom’s final month, she lived in my sister’s home. Even in the midst of such difficulty that last month was a life changing and bonding time for Jeanne’s children, Annie and Randy. When I arrived at their home, we knew mom’s time was near and she only asked one thing, “Dougie, pray.” Whatever we are facing, the peace we’re looking for is found in the Lord and in His presence. One day, my mother will greet me in heaven and say, “Dougie, Take Your Shoes Off… this is Holy Ground.”
Jesus invites you to come to Him and lay your burdens down and as you do, you find rest for your soul. In the stillness of His presence, you will receive His perspective and clarity. Expect God to intervene on your behalf. Even when we don’t see it, God is working things out for our good and watching out for our loved ones too.
As I think about one of our staff members and her relationship with her father, I see a fulfillment of a life journey that occurred in her dad’s latter days. Susie became her father’s caregiver when he was in his mid-80’s. He had overcome cancer for over a decade but as the disease progressed, his needs increased. Frustrated with his increasing physical limitations, sometimes he didn’t know how to deal with the changes. Through the challenges, they shared their concern for each other and the future. Susie learned much from her dad about practical life principles as he had much wisdom to impart. Their relationship became closer and they cherished the time together.
The assuredness they both had at her father’s passing in his early 90’s rested in words that the Lord impressed on his heart, “God has everything under control, and everything will be alright.” From the moment he trusted in Christ, there was peace for the future.
When you trust in Jesus and His word, your eyes are opened to things unseen to the natural eye. You will experience the heart of God for you and for your family. And soon, you will begin to see His presence and His provision in your life in practical and tangible ways. I firmly believe that what God started in your life, will be fully completed because our hope is in Him. It’s not based on our human ability but on God’s intervention. Always remember, God has special grace and care just for you!
Whatever may have happened in your life up to this time, know that God is here for you. His mercies are new every morning; great is His faithfulness. His sole desire is that you would know Him and the depth of love He has just for you. You can enter into or perhaps reconfirm a relationship with Him, even now. Maybe you simply need the reassurance that you are not alone.
You are not alone and remember that somebody cares every day and God has not forgotten you.
Scriptures of Encouragement
Deut. 10:18; Deut. 24:19; 26:12; Deut. 31:6; Exodus 22:23; Psalm 27:13;Psalm 142;Psalm 146:9
Prov. 15:52b;Jeremiah 29:1;Matt. 11:28;Phil. 1:6;2 Tim. 2:13;Heb. 13:5;1 Pet. 5:7;1 Jn 1:9
This article was adapted from a booklet that we have developed for Seniors as an encouragement. If you would like copies or if you would like someone to pray for you, feel free to contact us at [email protected]
Doug Stringer is the Founder & President of Somebody Cares America/International
For more information go to www.SomebodyCares.org or email [email protected]