It’s a Sunday morning, tranquil and lit with a cool winter sunshine.
Ben is upstairs napping.
I rise wearily from the floor where I had been sitting with Katie, both of us still in our pajamas.
In the background, truth is sung quietly, musingly, although the volume is turned up as usual.
I’m not familiar with the words of this one and am only half listening.
In haunts of wretchedness and need,
On shadowed thresholds dark with fears,
From paths where hide the lures of greed,
We catch the vision of Your tears.
I hear that word.
I’ve shed many tears lately.
Tommy is in his feeding chair, receiving a tube feeding. I stop at his side.
Because he is well hydrated now, drool is often dripping down his chin.
Because of his tongue thrust, a crust of dried drool is often forming on his tongue and upper lip.
Because of the decay present in his mouth, both the drool and the crust are as foul-smelling as his breath.
For the dozenth time that day, I use a damp cloth to wipe the drool from his chin and work at the crust clinging to his skin.
I gaze mutely downward into the chocolate brown eyes of my son and he gazes mutely back up into mine.
Suddenly, my ears hear every word and the eyes of my understanding spring wide open.
From tender childhood’s helplessness,
From woman’s grief, man’s burdened toil,
From famished souls, from sorrow’s stress,
Your heart has never known recoil.
“When you minister to him, daughter, you are ministering to Me.
When you wipe his crusty, drooling mouth, you are doing it to Me.
This is what it looks like, daughter, when I come to live at your house.”
The cup of water given for You,
Still holds the freshness of Your grace;
Yet long these multitudes to view
The sweet compassion of Your face.
Now my tears are streaming.
This task I have performed countless times without thinking is a holy privilege, as though my wounded Savior is allowing me to look into His eyes and wipe the crusted blood and stinking sweat from His face.
I wipe my tears on my shoulder and look downward into the chocolate brown eyes of my son, and he looks back into mine.
A strange joy mingles with the deep grief in my heart.
Welcome, Lord Jesus.
Only His wounds can heal the broken,
Only His wounds can save us from sin,
Only His wounds give faith to the faithless,
Only His wounds can restore us again.