Cemeteries seem to have coined and cornered the use of the term "perpetual care" these days. However, to me, it means more than the promise of a clean grave site and dignity in burial. God's care is constant.
I read a simple and encouraging poem recently that puts it like it is:
Yesterday God helped me,
Today He'll do the same.
How long will this continue?
Forever -- praise His name!
Care for the hurting has been a constant challenge in my quarter-century of ministry. Though I've made thousands of hospital and home visits and preached hundreds of funerals, the sting of death still burns. However, the grave site can be a reminder of God's care for us.
Yes, the same God who helped us yesterday and who is helping us today will go on helping through our tomorrows and into eternity. David put it well in Psalms 54:4, "Behold, God is my helper!"
I confess I have a big problem (and I suspect you do, too). Often my memory malfunctions. Too often we remember what we are supposed to forget, and we forget what we are to remember. God says, "Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Paul wrote, "Forgetting those things which are behind," and yet so many of us are shackled to the failures of our past. We should ask God to give us a poor memory of the forgiven past sins and bury those burdens.
Let's ask God to help us with a good memory for his continual and perpetual care. His promise is true! He will "never leave you or forsake you." When Moses addressed the Israelites before entering the Promised Land, he said, "Thou shalt remember all the way in which the Lord has led you..." Basically he stated what we need to remember: there is no problem too big for God!
It has been wisely said, "Never doubt in darkness what God has told you in the light." The Bible makes it clear that God cares for his own. Not an easy path are we promised, but a sure one.
God will not abandon his children, now or later. We hold tight to his word. "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39). Even when our faith wavers, God remains faithful.
Dr. John Bryan, former pastor of Curtis Baptist Church, is ministry resource consultant for the Georgia Baptist Convention.