I have been thinking a lot about Beulah these days, she never lived through a pandemic in a stay at home environment, but she knew about “staying home” as a shut-in.
I learned to know Beulah in my teen years. She was a widow, Tom’s Mom, a great Christian woman, who “prayed around the world” every Sunday during the mass opening of Sunday School.
After retiring from a local college, she was hired for the front line task of church secretary. In both positions she was known for her organizational skills and loving, servant heart. In the church she was an amazing Bible teacher from whom I learned much. Because of diseased and very swollen legs, she became home bound. On several occasions, we took soup to share with her, and afterwards, she taught us the good news of scriptures.
My favorite memory of Beulah, however, came while visiting her during the Christmas season. Youth and a leader were divided into small groups, to connect with shut-ins. Prepared with questions to ask and carol books for singing favorites, we sat on the floor around her feet. As the kids began to introduce themselves, the beauty of this grace-filled hospitable woman emerged before our eyes.
“Oh, you’re Bradley, your parents are Tracy and Don, I pray for you the third day of every month; that’s the day I pray for the families in our church whose last name begins with ‘C.’ Oh you’re Alexa, your father is that dear doctor. I pray for you and your family on the 26th, your last name starts with ‘Z.’ It’s great to pray for you, as I go through our church directory. After day 26, I pray for nations and people of the world.
While this amazing woman had never met these young folks, she “knew” them and had communicated love to them through her prayers. The kids sensed it and hung on her every word; she talked about how her devotions now fill her morning, and afternoons are small tasks, notes or telephone calls to check in on people. “Faith has been my strength in life, and best of all—Christ has always been with me.”
She ended our time with a story of falling in her garage. “I lay for three days praying for help. And it happened; I knew the Lord would send help!”
Words from parents were their kids couldn’t stop talking about that night; years later it still impacts me. As I was preparing a lesson from Just Imagine, I was on page 37, “Guided Prayer”—Beulah came to mind.
- …Think about people who were faithful to shower God’s amazing love unto you: inviting, welcoming, including, teaching, or encouraging you to want and accept God’s love for yourself. Thank God for such love, and then thank God for those who shared it with you.
- Ask God the bold question: “With whom do you want me to share your love, so they too might come to know you?”
- Sit quietly and be open to names that come to you. Write them down and put them in your Bible so you will see them and be reminded to answer your calling.
A lifetime of reaching out in love to other people did not stop Beulah in her calling. Even as a shut-in she continued to take in God’s love for herself. And found the joy of God’s Hospitality overflowing with loving relationships–despite her permanent stay at home environment.
What God did through Beulah, God wants to do through us in every season. Such love has power to extend God’s love to those we don’t know—even years later.