Today's daily devotion

The Commander

See, I am doing a new thing!—ISAIAH 43:19 [NIV]

My wife, Sandra, and I were living in her folks’ basement as their personal caregivers. Her mother had fallen and suffered a series of ministrokes. Sandra’s stepfather, Dale, a retired Army career officer, was also dealing with increasing cognitive challenges.

One morning I woke up to Dale standing at the foot of our bed. “I have a request,” he said in his formidable military commander voice. He suddenly pulled a small knife from behind his back. I got up in a flash, with no idea why he was brandishing a weapon.

“My toenails need cutting!” he said. “Your mother-in-law uses this knife on all her vegetables. It should help you complete your task.”

I realized that my father-in-law, the commander, was not out to frighten me or gross me out with the thought of repurposing a knife used for our meals. His soft, pleading eyes revealed a cry for help. It was at that moment that I saw beyond Dale, the commander. He was an elderly soldier reaching out for help from a member of the troop, the caregiver.

“It will be my honor, sir,” I whispered.

Later that morning, with actual nail clippers in hand, I began a weekly routine with Dale. We had both entered a new chapter in our son-in-law and father-in-law book of caregiving.

Dear Lord, help me be sensitive to those I love, and better able to discern their needs.

Adapted from
Strength & Grace Magazine

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