It’s been a tough adjustment. She was already having significant memory issues, and a major relocation didn’t help. What everyone told us to expect has come to pass. This big change–a new environment, all-new routines, strange faces–has only exacerbated her confusion.
Mom’s always been an introvert. (Interestingly, this fact seems to be about the only thing her fuzzy little brain can’t seem to forget.) So two things are true. One, she doesn’t want to leave her room. And, two, she’s REALLY lonely (even though my wife & I drop in on her three to four times a day).
The other day I did what any good son would do: I put her in her wheelchair & rolled her down to the dining hall to play Bingo.
She was nervous, but there we sat, amidst the walkers and oxygen tanks. Listening. “B5 (long pause)…O62 (long pause)…N34. On and on it went.
On the “excitement scale” of Bingo sessions, this one was exceptionally tedious (which is quite a statement). But one thing stood out. After each cry of “Bingo!”, one of the residents (a friendly, adorable older woman with Down’s Syndrome), would jump from her seat and grab hold of a cart stacked with prizes–soft drinks, chips, cookies, even stuffed animals. Then she would eagerly navigate the cart over to where the winner was seated. There, with great delight, she would award a prize. She seemed to get far more joy from doling out these rewards than the recipients got in receiving them.
This all happened a week or so ago. And I forgot about it…until this morning.
I woke up thinking about faith–what that word really means, how hard it is to trust a God you can’t see, how small my own faith often is. And I ended up in Hebrews 11:6, a Bible verse that says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (NIV)
I bet I’ve read that verse a thousand times or more. But for some reason, when I read it today, the word that jumped out at me was the word “rewards.” God rewards people who exercise faith. God is a rewarder. I don’t know that I’ve spent much time contemplating that thought.
Suddenly I remembered my recent Bingo experience. The thought hit me: what if God, so to speak, has a big cart full of prizes? And what if when He sees, not a blacked-out Bingo card, but a needy heart, a seeking heart, a heart that is truly dependent, even expectant…what if God yells “Bingo!” then eagerly grabs His “cart piled high with goodies” and comes close? And what if He gladly, joyfully doles out good things…really good things like peace and fresh hope, maybe even a little bit of light for the darkness we face? What if when we seek God’s presence and fully trust His promises, we really are rewarded?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.