“Therefore, since we have this ministry,
as we have received mercy,
we do not lose heart.”
2 Corinthians 4:1

“Therefore, since we have this ministry…”

It took me a while to get here; in fact, it took 55 years. I minister to the dying. I am a hospice chaplain. Every day, I look into the eyes of patient’s whose time on this earth is drawing to a close, and sometimes even more difficult, I look into the eyes of those loved ones who will remain. And I try to bring them a measure of comfort and closure.

In my wildest dreams I never anticipated being here. Being a missionary? Possibly. (I did that for a while.) Being a minister of music? More than likely… (I did that too.) Becoming a chaplain? Interesting new direction… Becoming a hospice chaplain? Totally unanticipated…

But isn’t God like that sometimes? And 99% of the time I can say with all honesty – there is no place I’d rather be. I feel as though God has called me to this ministry at this time.

“…as we have received mercy…”

Compassion, pity, clemency, forgiveness, kindness, sympathy, understanding, leniency – synonyms for “mercy.” Yes, I am the recipient of them all from a God who is more than gracious. Once we understand, at least a little bit of the mercy that God has offered us, then, we are able to offer that grace to others as well.

“…we do not lose heart.”

My guess is that hospice workers have an overwhelmingly high rate of burnout. The emotional toll is staggering, added to the heavy case loads carried by each of our disciplines – the nurses, aides, social workers and chaplains. Two issues are primary and essential – organizational skills and empathy with the ability to grieve effectively.

Yesterday during one of my patient visits, I anointed the patient with oil and read her a beautiful devotion written by Max Lucado. It speaks of the Shepherd, searching for His lambs – scaling the cliffs, traversing the fields, exploring the caves. “He cups His hands to his mouth and calls into the canyon. And the name he calls is yours… He’s listening for your answer.”

Powerful. And God called her name less than an hour later, with her daughter by her side, and, hopefully, the words of blessing and peace in her heart.

It is a fact. At some point, each of us will hear God call our name. It is a privilege to share that time with my patients and their families. So, no, although it is difficult – beyond difficult at times, no… I will not lose heart.

Kim W. Chafee

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Kim Chafee

I am a lover of the God who sings! I am a Christ-follower and an ordained minister married to the other Rev. Chafee (Scott), with two grown children and a multitude of pets. And, I love chocolate. Read more about me and the reason for this blog on my ABOUT page.

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