My cousin and I have always been close. There have been times in our lives when we have talked daily and seen each other often during the week to encourage each other and share with one another. Other times we both stay busy with family, jobs, and everyday life so that we keep in touch just by phone and the occasional get together.
Then one day I felt the nudge. From God. Ask your cousin to join you at Bible Study.
“But Lord, I’m not even sure I have the time to commit to my church’s Bible Study…. Besides, she won’t want to come – she likes to keep her evenings at home and I can’t do mornings…. And she may already be involved in a study at her own church….”
Again, the nudge. Ask your cousin to join you at Bible Study.
It was early January and besides Christmas greetings and holiday talk; we hadn’t had any lengthy conversations in a long time. It was going to feel weird and awkward to ask her to join me in a Bible Study that would start in a few weeks. I needed time to rekindle our relationship to a deep level before I approach the Bible Study level!
I really didn’t think my cousin would entertain the thought. Her children were all older and had lives that she was involved in and she guarded the time she had in the evenings with her husband. Her mother was at the end stages of Alzheimer’s disease and her extended family had made a tough decision recently to put my aunt in a nursing home. My cousin made one, sometimes two, visits daily to take care of her mother. She also was involved in church. She was much too busy to think about coming to my church for a Bible Study.
But God wanted me to ask. What would I do? I said Yes To God. I was only responsible for asking, not for her answer. So I invited my cousin to a Bible Study — and to my surprise she said yes.
Why was I surprised? Was this not God’s plan? However, I didn’t see the full impact until later.
During the next few months :
• We completed two great Bible Studies
• We met an awesome older lady in our Bible Study who we would pray with
• We became very close during this time- sharing daily and having many deep conversations
• I visited her mom (my aunt) at the nursing home at least weekly
Then one spring afternoon at her kitchen table, my cousin grabbed my hand and with tears in her eyes she told me what I already felt within.
“You know why God has brought us close together again—I need you to hold my hand when my mom goes. You have walked that path before me and I am going to need you.”
And she was right. God was preparing her and preparing me for her mother’s passing.
Less than seven months from the time I felt the first nudge from God and said Yes to Him, my aunt passed from this life to everlasting life. I was there to hold my cousin’s hand and comfort her with the comfort of God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
More of God’s comfort came a week later when both my cousin and I received cards from our older Bible Study friend. The cards were handwritten notes of encouragement.
A few months later I saw her and thanked her for the thoughtful cards that had come during our time of grief. She was unaware of my aunt’s passing! God had laid us on her heart and so she sent us the cards. She had listened to the nudges of God and obeyed.
…God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort…
Why should I be surprised?