More from Virginia Ruth

by Upper Room Editorial on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

On the day that I received my copy of The Upper Room containing my meditation, my husband and I were attending our church’s small group Bible study discussion. Since our group had been privy to my call and decision to pursue writing, I shared with them the devotional.

That evening we were studying Hebrews 11. Because of our faith in God, we are called to live out the action of extending mercy. We perform works not because we need to add to our tally sheet of good works but out of response to the grace that God has given us.

Since writing “The Path of Mercy," I experienced the sudden death of my mother and the deterioration of health of my dad (pictured above with me). This past year has been centered on helping him with administration of the estate as well as the grief and adjustment of losing mom. Some days I experience the frustration of having to give up my plans, my dreams, my time, and my money to care and tend to his needs. I have had to sacrifice the beginnings of a writing career which I pursued in obedience to God. In those moments I wonder, Why did God call me to a writing career and then placed the care of my dad in my way? I think of the Good Samaritan who was on his way when the needs of an injured man were placed in his path. The story doesn’t detail the sacrifice the Samaritan made after he tends to the injured man.

Yet, as I learned that evening in our small group and as I am continually learning, I need to trust God's call to extend mercy. Sometimes those we love require as much extra resources and sacrifice as the stranger in the Good Samaritan story.

I am learning that extending mercy means I first need to have unwavering faith in God. Faith that God will give me the strength and courage to reach out to others. Faith that God will supply all my need, resources, time, and talent as I extend mercy. Faith that as I turn over my plans, my dreams, my time, and my money, God will provide.

I think sometimes God allows the frustrations and constraints on our schedules, plans, and resources to arise in order to draw us closer and to encourage us to trust more. We can extend mercy to others because, as it says in Hebrews, faith is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Even though I have delayed many of my writing plans, I still maintain a blog:  www.wellofencouragement.com.

- Virginia Ruth

17 Comments

Comment by Tom of Canal Winchester, OH

Well spoken, Virginia. Life has to be scattered with interruptions to 'our' plans so that we don't become fixated on those and become self-focused. You have it right that whatever God's will for you may be He will still bring that about as you remain faithful in daily tending to love and serve others.

Posted April 12, 2017 at 03:15AM CDT
Comment by Linawati

Thank you Virginia for the devotional. Thank you also for your sharing about your father. May God strengthen you with His power and mercy. God bless you and all your families.

Posted April 12, 2017 at 03:16AM CDT
Comment by Judy of Hershey, PA

My husband and I are involved in a care ministry program at our church, and we often are called to help several friends and neighbors. Recently we've been challenged by some of our own health problems that have made it difficult to get out and do things for others, but things are looking up now and we're eager to resume helping them. God gives us great joy to accompany us as we participate in His care ministries. Your writings today were encouraging to me, thank you!

Posted April 12, 2017 at 03:45AM CDT
Comment by Charlie of Powhatan, VA

God does lay many opportunities for growth in out path. We just need to choose to look at them as opportunities and not obstacles. Thank you for your wonderful devotional this morning.

Posted April 12, 2017 at 05:08AM CDT
Comment by Edd of Ocala, FL

Loved the moon shining through the trees, kinda like God peeking in on us to see how we are doing. God bless you and your father. God is Love for all.

Posted April 12, 2017 at 06:06AM CDT
Comment by joanmarie of jamison, PA

Your writing is lovely Virginia. In my church book club last night we discussed looking at obstacles as opportunities. Thank you Charlie for this reminder. When we are in the midst of our struggles it is good to be reminded and know through God's grace all things are possible. I have often reminding myself of that at my new job of almost a year. I see more opportunities each day to spread God's love that I did not see when I first started my job. I really struggled at times and asked if I was in the right place. I believe now that I am . Anyway, just some thoughts. Love jm

Posted April 12, 2017 at 06:17AM CDT
Comment by Karen of Jackson, MS

Thank you for your words of encouragement Virginia. Your right you never know where God is going to lead you and what trials he is going to bring in your life to test your faith and devotion to him. Thank God for Grace and Mercy they will bring us through if we just keep the Faith! Be Blessed!🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽

Posted April 12, 2017 at 06:30AM CDT
Comment by Les of Fort Myers, FL

Thank you for your honesty, it is an honor to care for our parents but also a challenge. Keep writing, God gave you your gift and these experiences so you could write about them and help others.

Posted April 12, 2017 at 07:29AM CDT
Comment by todd of austin, TX

Thank you for your inspiring story and for sharing it. I hope that living is a beautiful way of writing, though to a uniquely engaged audience.

Posted April 12, 2017 at 08:22AM CDT
Comment by Donnie of Royston, GA

Hi, Virginia. Thank you for your meaningful reminder today about showing mercy. Your blog looks wonderful. I will say a prayer that you will be able to find time to continue the writing that you do so well.

Posted April 12, 2017 at 10:54AM CDT
Comment by Annoo

Theory is to put the instructions in practice. So what, if you are not finding time to write spiritual blog? What you are doing is more valuable, looking after needs of your old and feeble dad. God loves actions than words.

Posted April 12, 2017 at 11:00AM CDT
Comment by Mimi of Anaheim, CA

Blessed by today's devotion, "more from the author", AND your blog! My father passed last year and left behind my severely disabled 53 yr old (today!) sister whom he was main caretaker for and my mother with a myriad of health issues. Newly retired, my husband and I often travel to their home 500 miles away to spend extended time and help support with the ongoing situations. We wondered what our "retirement ministry" would include... Yes, I think what you are discovering and sharing is extremely pertinent to a huge and support-needy population of "baby-boomers" as we try to assist as our parents/siblings/ friends/ neighbors caretakers. I'm thanking Jesus you have the time and skill and wherewithal to share. He will continue to bless you and yours abundantly as you trust. Thank you from one daughter to another.

Posted April 12, 2017 at 12:11PM CDT
Comment by Virginia of Towson, MD

Thank you so much for your kind words. I am truly humbled. Your encouraging words exemplifies how we are called into community with one another and are exhorted to encourage each other.
This meditation (and the kind words about my writing) came at just the right time when I have been questioning my call and my writing ability.
Thank you for taking the time to post a comment.

Posted April 12, 2017 at 07:10PM CDT
Comment by Kelley of Middletown , MD

Thank you Virginia for your writing. I never thought about it this way but since my Dad died and taking care of Mom long distance this too perhaps is like the Good Samaritan. We say that it is just family and feel obligated to do the right thing, even though we don't always want to or take the time, so making a decision to do so is very much like the story. Prayers for you

Posted April 12, 2017 at 08:31PM CDT
Comment by Matt

Virginia, I love your honesty, it is helpful for those of us struggling with where we are in our Christian life (and where we think we should be). Prayers for you & yours

Posted April 13, 2017 at 06:12AM CDT
Comment by judith of Lacey, WA

hi virginia,
thank you very much for sharing your thoughts of 'having plans' and then being interrupted.
After leaving in a house in Oakland, Calif.[where I raised my 2 children as a single parent], for over 30 years, my husband and I decided to move from California to Washington state- where we knew no one.
We had such hopes and dreams of 'a new beginning', 'of new adventures', and more 'action' and excitement in our lives. 5 days after driving up to Washington from California [with a car load of animals and 'valuable stuff' we didn't want to put in the moving van], I was struck with horrible abdominal pain, diagnosed with diverticulitis, and had to go through a 4 hour colon resection... I said "OK...I'll heal, and be OK"... It took a while to have the energy to start putting the house in order. 4 months later, I then had to have a right hip surgery, got a staph infection in the hospitial which lead to severe sepsis causing me to almost loose my life....Through all of this I was thinking : I felt lead by God to move here, why is this all happening to me ?- who all my life, I've been a runner & very healthy ?"...Was this a mistake moving here, 'leaving the old and taking a chance for the new ? Has God lead us here away from 'our comfortable, home' we knew & loved so well to a new place where we know no one and then just abandoned me ?"... I went through a long period of depression, but then started reading the 'Upper Room' each morning and I know now that God does not ever abandoned us...Sometimes, like you Virginia, our life gets 'put on hold' for reasons we don't understand, but we will in the end.. ["now you see through a glass darkly, then face to face"].... I know now that all of us struggle with 'something' and that God is by our side through it all- if we only reach out to Him and take all our needs to him in prayer.
Thank you again Virginia for sharing your story. This is a wonderful and important thing you are doing and when you Dad passes, you will only feel love and peace, knowing that you did the thing that all good children should do, that is, to love and care for their parents until the end. May the love of God be with you and your Dad each day.

Posted April 13, 2017 at 12:03PM CDT
Comment by Judith of Ft. Washington, MD

Hi Virginia,

Part of experiencing the fullness of your destiny is in understanding your detours. Far too often, we fail to understand our detours and, as a result, we wind up viewing them in a wrong light. Rather than allowing the detours to produce the development we need, they actually set us back spiritually thus setting us up with a need for more detours in order to grow. It can become a vicious cycle.

For example, when you were in school you would have to take regular tests. These tests let the teacher know where you stood on the material you needed to learn. If you were unable to pass these tests, then more assignments and more tests would have to be given. Have you ever known someone who “tested out” of a class or an assignment? This happened when they felt they had enough knowledge to pass the test without having to do the work. In this case, they took a test and if they scored high enough, they could skip the rest of the course.

I never “tested out” of a course but I know people who did. Most of us have to go through the learning process – unfortunately some of us more often than others – in order to gain a mastery on what we need to know.

God is not going to bring you to the fruition of your destiny until He knows you are able to handle it spiritually, emotionally, and physically. If you cannot handle it, you will lose it rather than use it for His glory. That is why He focuses so intently on our development as He takes us to our destiny.

My husband and I just came through a seven month journey caring for my mother-in-law under hospice care in our home. She is now resting in the "Loving Arms" of our Jesus Christ. Although, we sacrifice our time to care for her, caring for her was such a joy. She was the best Mother-in-Law, a woman could ask for. To God Be The Glory! I am still having my moments of tears, I will continue to trust God to wipe away my tears and give me strength to endure. He will lead and guide me to my destiny. I will stand on His promises.

Thank you so much for the devotional and may God give you strength to care for your Dad. Remember this season in your life is only a "Detour" With God, you will make it to your destiny that He has already prepared for you. I will be praying for you.

Posted April 14, 2017 at 06:52AM CDT