It was a horrible time in the life of my husband, but through it all, God was teaching me valuable lessons on surrender and patience. Nonetheless, as time went by and the promised healing didn’t happen, it became harder and harder to cling to the promise. I even found myself at times saying, “God, You’re through teaching me, now let’s just get to restoring his cognition!” Okay, so as my prayer would indicate, maybe I hadn’t yet learned all there was to learn about patience…
Nonetheless, I couldn’t shake the doubt. Especially after two years went by and my husband lost his ability to work to navigate email and webpages. I felt so bad for him! And the anger kept trying to creep back in.
I did have the sense to take my doubts to the Lord. And as an aside, that is exactly what we are called to do with our doubts. God knows we will have them, He is big enough to accept that we might have trouble believing in promises when we don’t see their fulfillment even two years later! Many people feel that it is wrong to complain to God, that it is wrong to lament. Those who believe we shouldn’t lament have never read the Psalms. They are full of laments! No, it isn’t a sign of disrespect or lack of faith for us to take our doubts and complaints to the Lord. Rather, it is a sign of faith, that we trust God enough to help us through our doubt!
And that’s what He did with mine.
I wish I could remember how many times God reassured me of His promise for my husband. He sent me Bible texts about faith, He sent me rainbows, He sent me my son who encouraged me, He sent me messages about how long it can take sometimes for the promise to be fulfilled…
I was yet another time crying out my complaints to the Lord about the fact that my husband hadn’t yet received the fulfillment of God’s promise when He gave me the story of David.
David was probably a young teenager when the prophet Samuel anointed him with oil and made him the next king of Israel. Yet according to 2 Samuel 5:4, “David was thirty years old when he became king…” (NIV). And even then, it would be another 7.5 years before he reigned over all of Israel: “In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.” (2 Samuel 5:5 NIV). We also know that during that waiting period of at least 17 years if not more, David mostly lived on the run from Saul, ever fearing for his life! We know that things got so bad that he moved to Gath (See 1 Samuel 21, 27) to seek protection from Israel’s arch-enemy, the Philistines! Nonetheless, the promise was still fulfilled.
Wow, and I was complaining because I hadn’t seen the fulfillment of the promise in only 2 years, and although my life was a lot harder because of my husband’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, I certainly wasn’t running for my life! If I had been David, would I have lost faith? Would I have given up?
God’s message was clear: My job was not to ask “when”, my job was to simply put my trust in His promise to my husband.
But there was one more thing that God wanted me to learn from David’s story. David didn’t just cower in a corner, scampering away anytime danger came near. He was often engaged in battle during this time. He continued to fight Israel’s enemies.
I realized then that God was calling me into an active role in my husband’s healing. He expected me to rise up in the power of His name. He expected me to yield my Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (See Eph. 6:17). He expected me to don my readiness boots of peace (See Eph. 6:15) and to raise my shield of faith, the same one that would extinguish any fiery darts of doubt from the enemy (See Eph. 6:16). He wanted me to, “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Eph. 6:10-11 NIV). He wanted me to enter the fight!
Just how is one supposed to fight against Alzheimer’s? I had already tried the cognitive stimulation route, and it hadn’t helped…But Ephesians 6 also tells us this: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV). Perhaps God wanted me to fight the spiritual battle!
When I asked Him, He was clear: I had it in my power, as a Spirit-filled believer in the One Living God who sinlessly went to the cross in our place, who died for our sins, and who rose again, conquering once and for all the power of darkness! After all, “…and having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross…” (Col. 2:15 NIV)!
And so that is what I began to do. It was difficult to remember at first; but God began to bring it to my memory in the right moments, and by His grace, He gave me the faith to stand up and fight!
Instead of getting frustrated at my husband for walking around with his hands behind his back with nothing to do, I began renouncing in the name of Jesus the evil spirit that was taking away all ambition and initiation. Instead of getting impatient at being pulled away from whatever task I was doing to run and help him on the computer, I began renouncing, by the power of the blood, the evil spirit of poor visual perception and poor new learning and memory. Instead of raising my voice when he didn’t understand, I claimed the resurrection power and began rebuking the evil spirit that was robbing him of his comprehension. Instead of getting angry with his incessant questions about when something would happen, I reminded the evil spirit that was robbing him of proper orientation that he was defeated, that we didn’t want him in our home, he wasn’t welcome there, and by the power of the cross, he must leave!
You know what? It felt good to be able to participate in this spiritual battle!
Have you been given a promise, but you continue to await its fulfillment? Remember David! Don’t lose hope. Instead, join the battle! Raise your Sword of the Spirit and your Shield of Faith! Put your trust in the One who keeps ALL His promises!
In His love,
(To access the entire “Living With Alzheimer’s” devotional series, please click here.)