Joy is radiated when spirit fills the heart | Church Corner

“I know God is with me. I know God is with me.” These were the words she repeated over and over as she slid in and out of sleep, barely conscious. Her body was shutting down on her. She was confused.

This dear woman, at the very end of her life, was absolutely certain about one thing – “I know God is with me.” She had been transformed by Jesus. Not many nursing home residents in their 90s are infected with the abundant joy this precious woman had. In many ways the circumstances of her life “should” have silenced her joy. But her joy was not circumstantial. No, her joy radiated from an abundant supply of the stuff that had been deposited in her heart and continually refilled by the presence of Jesus.

All I could do was sit at her bedside admiring her life that had so clearly been transformed by the love and grace of Jesus Christ – so much so that even in her sleep she knew the truth about him – that he had been with her since the moment she invited him in, and he remained there even now as she wavered in and out of consciousness.

I had arrived in her room at the nursing home to celebrate communion with her and, although that was not possible, the spirit’s presence with us made for a great celebration of being in communion with Jesus and with one another. The gift Marjorie gave continues to encourage me and strengthen my faith in the one who was with us that day.

Marjorie requested Psalm 121 be read at her memorial service. It begins with, “I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come?”  She knew the answer to that question and on that day while I sat at her bedside, he provided Marjorie with all the help she needed – his gracious presence.

“I know God is with me. I know God is with me.”

It was with tremendous joy that I could proclaim the truth at Marjorie’s memorial service a couple weeks later. “The lord is your keeper… The lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.” Indeed.

Lord, may we too be so changed by your infectious and abundant joy, that even in difficult circumstances (and in our confusion!) we may be able to say with certainty, “I know God is with me and that is enough for now.”

The Rev. Little may be reached at