First Baptist Church of Rahway, 177 Elm Ave., Rahway, New Jersey 07065 is a multi-cultural congregation that has a Blended English Service on Sunday Mornings, a Latino Service at 12:00, and a Service in Telugu at 3:30PM. For more information, call (732) 388-8626. Or click here to send an email. If you wish to help the Mission and Ministry of First Baptist financially click the Donate Button.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Why Am I Still Alive?
By Pastor Bill Whitehead
I have heard many times that caring for people is rewarding. I know this is true because I have seen first hand the rewards that people receive when they stand by an ill loved-one and care for her. I may not be able to document those rewards, but I know they are very real.
A friend of mine was seriously ill and has been given a bad prognosis by the doctor. She was dying and she knew it. My friend has had difficulty getting out of bed for a while and when I visited with her she couldn’t get up any longer. So she asked me a question, why am I still here? She said to me, “I’m stuck in this bed and I can’t do anything.” She wanted to know why she was still alive. This is the toughest question anyone can be asked. At first I fumbled for an answer and I lamely said, “God must have a reason for you to still be here.” That answer didn’t satisfy her and it didn’t excite me either. She wanted something a little more down to earth in order to explain her suffering.
Then I thought about the struggles that my wife and I had with my mother-in-law. We helped her through some tough years. She was in and out of the hospital many times. Once we thought she was going to end up in a nursing home. But God provided and her health improved. Every day either Betsy or I went to see her in the hospital. I used to visit her after work and before class at seminary. Talk about schedule juggling. When I thought about this I realized that Betsy and I received something in return for our service to her mom. We grew as individuals and as a couple. We became more caring and giving as a result. Those were some tough times but we were rewarded for our efforts.
So it turned out that I did have an answer to my dying friend’s question. I told her about my experience with Betsy’s mom. I said that the people helping her were being blessed. She was helping them by needing their help. She seemed to be satisfied with this answer. I don’t know where that answer came from, but I was pretty satisfied too. I knew that I was being blessed just by being with her.
Why respond to need? We gain by it. We gain by doing something that goes beyond ourselves. We gain by feeling good about ourselves. The rewards are not measurable. We cannot observe them through scientific observation. But there truly are many rewards for selfless living.
The Rev. William Whitehead is the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Rahway, in Rahway, NJ. He is an ordained minister within American Baptist Churches and a graduate of the New Brunswick Theological Seminary.