A Soothing Touch for Our Parched Soul

I sat with her as she lay dying. The machine behind me pulsated, providing oxygen to sustain her in these final moments. She could no longer swallow and her voice was barely audible, yet occasionally she was able to say a few words. I held her hand and told her, “It’s okay, it’s okay.” Even though she was very weak, she managed to lightly squeeze my hand. The cancer had ravaged her body, taken away all her strength, and now it was taking her life. She was no longer able to sit up and had been bed-ridden for more than a week. But now I sensed the end was near.

I gently pulled the hair away from her face and slowly caressed her head, trying to sooth her. “Water,” she managed to utter. She was no longer able to drink with a straw. I picked up the small sponge on a stick, dabbed it in the cup of water by her bed, and moistened her mouth with it. She sucked on it and I could see the relief on her face as the water refreshed her parched mouth. I set the sponge down and held her hand. “Thank you,” she managed to say with a raspy voice. “It’s okay,” I repeated to her with my mouth close to her ear. “God loves you,” I added.

As difficult as it was to sit with her, I had a sense of peace. I couldn’t help but think of this as an image of God and how he tends to us with a loving touch. In the midst of our difficulties in life, when we feel weak and helpless, he is there holding our hand saying, “It’s okay. It’s okay.” He dabs our parched soul with living water to refresh us. He is there by our side each step of the way, gently caressing our head, soothing our weary soul. We only need to take his hand and say, “Thank you.”

After a few hours of sitting with her, a family member arrived and took over the vigil. A few hours later she died. I thought of what a privilege it is to serve God; how he calls on each of us to serve him in a special way. No one act of service is any greater than any other in the Kingdom of God. We all have our own calling to convey God’s love to others in need of a loving touch; people who need their parched soul moistened with living water. As followers of Jesus Christ it is a privilege to be his hands and feet in a world full of need.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28 (NIV)

“…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt. 28:20 (NIV)

© 2018 CGThelen

This #ThrowbackThursday post commemorates a good friend who died a year ago on August 17. Originally published August 21 2018, this post reflected on the experience of being there that day.

16 thoughts on “A Soothing Touch for Our Parched Soul

  1. Beautiful but difficult gift to be with your loved one who is dying. Comforting knowing that God is there through it all quenching our thirst as we grieve and seeing our loved one to their eternal home.

  2. Sometimes there are no words that to convey love in the way that our presence gives them assurance that God is also near. Blessings and thanks for sharing.

  3. People show us their spirit of faith as much in the process of dying as they do in the process of living … in fact, maybe more so. It is a privilege indeed to be there with a loved on as s/he transitions into Eternity. God bless you! ❤

  4. I can totally relate with this 😞 Five years ago, my grandmother died from cancer and on her few days on earth, both her and I prayed together; I sung songs for her; lead her to worship our Lord. It was beautiful and it was heartbreaking at the same time – knowing that time, anytime, God will bring her to heaven. As I am typing my comments here, I am sobbing. Because I am just human, missing her but she is with the Lord and being kept reminded that one day, we will all go to our permanent home.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. This recent experience reminded me of sitting with a family member as he died. That was six years ago and the tears still flow. Praying for the peace of Christ Jesus to surround you as you continue to grieve.

  5. There’s something about being with someone at the threshold of eternity that changes the way we see things. If you haven’t read it already, please see my post, “Royal Wedding.” It’s about a similar experience I had, with a slightly different perspective given to me in a dream.

  6. My brother got to hold my father in his arms when daddy died. He told him that all five of us children love him and it was okay to go to be with God. Then he breathed his last. It was quite an experience for my brother.

    1. It is such a difficult thing to be there in those final moments, yet such a blessing to be able to bring comfort to the dying. I pray you and your family continue to feel God’s peace as you grieve.

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