Where was the husband I once had? It all seemed so unreal. Jim, the in-charge work-a-holic, now was unable to add numbers or take care of his own personal needs. It had only been three years since Jim was given the devastating diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Our fifty-three years of marriage seemed as though it had ended. Our relationship, once intertwined by adventures, life events, three children and ten grandchildren had now come unraveled. We were pulled apart by this disease that destroys brain cells causing a person to make irrational judgments and tearing the personality to bits and pieces. One of the hardest parts of this journey is not knowing what will come next. But one thing we are told is sure, it will get worse—darkness.
Four a.m. Fearing the worst, I awakened thinking about how Jim had fought the two caregivers the previous evening. Dawn and Christina were trying to get his wet briefs off to put dry ones on. He wasn’t having any of it and the caregivers were struggling. This was new. Jim had always been cooperative with those who came in to help in any way. Was this a new trend? Is he moving into a belligerent stage?
After warming a cup of milk, I sat propped up in bed with my Bible on my lap, looking for comfort. These were verses that brought comfort:
“God is love” “There is no fear in love” (1 John 4:16,18 NIV).
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
“God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind” (1 Timothy 1:7).
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
So many places in His Word God says, do not worry, do not be anxious. He wants us to trust Him at all times and through everything. He gives us peace. That peace comes from knowing He has everything under His control. He is Sovereign.
Charles Swindoll wrote about Job and why he didn’t become bitter through all his heartache:
1. Job claimed God’s sovereignty. “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” (Job 2:10).
2. He counted on the promise of resurrection. “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 2:10).
3. He confessed his own lack of understanding. “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand” (Job 42:3). “Job confessed his inability to get it all together. God would judge. The Judge would be right,” Swindoll said of Job. (P.648, Senior’s Devotional Bible, Zondervan Publishing House).
A.W. Tozer says regarding Proverbs 3:5 to “Trust Him in the dark.”“With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack? Surely we are the most favored of all God’s creatures.” (P.778, Senior’s Devotional Bible, Zondervan Publishing House).
Pondering this difficult part of our lives, I prayed, O God, surely there is a better way. I see Jim suffer and I don’t know what to do, how to help. As Job confessed his inability to put it all together, so I confessed my own powerlessness to make things right for Jim. And when I confess this inability to make things right I am reminded of Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” (emphasis added).
To trust completely in Him is the greatest challenge of our lives. But it is also the most rewarding when we are able to let go of our “own understanding” and acknowledge the power of God in our lives. He is able.
“…Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
The Infinite God guards us and carries us through our darkest night to the place where His light is revealed and we are no longer afraid.