My mother-in-law sleeps a lot these days. Usually when I go to see her, she’s dozing in her wheelchair and I have to wake her up to visit. She used to encourage me to wake her up because she could sleep any time, but she didn’t get many visitors and didn’t want to miss a visit because she was sleeping. Nowadays she is more inclined to sleep. Once when I woke her up to visit, she actually told me, “Next time, don’t wake me up.” Usually, though, she does her best to be pleasant, but even then, after just a few minutes, she starts yawning and rubbing her eyes, her head starts drooping, and if she has a pillow propping her up in her wheelchair, she’s nuzzling against it to get comfy again.
Sometimes I am tempted to wonder if it is worth a 40 minute drive round trip to wake her up for 5-10 minutes of groggy conversation that she likely won’t even remember.
Sometimes I can do something that makes me feel more useful: get her a pillow, change her hearing aid battery, wipe her hands and face after lunch if the staff hasn’t had a chance yet, advocate with the staff for her concerning some need or oversight, bring her mail.
But really, visiting her shouldn’t be about making me “feel useful.” It’s about letting her know she’s loved and not forgotten and ministering to her in whatever way she needs.
I think of moms going over the same issue for what seems like the hundredth time with their kids, missionaries toiling away in a foreign country with few visible results, men working faithfully the same jobs to pay the same bills, teachers trying to impart knowledge and wisdom to those who don’t seem to want it. Sure, there are times to evaluate methods, ministries, job situations, etc. to see if there is a better way to accomplish the goal and to evaluate whether some change is needed. But sometimes the only answer is to keep going even though we don’t seem to be accomplishing anything. If we’re where God wants us to be doing what He wants us to do, we can rest in the fact that we’re being faithful no matter what the results seem to be. If we do everything we do as unto Him and for His glory, we are indeed accomplishing something good.