Over the course of the first five parts of this devotional series, we have looked at how someone with Alzheimer’s feels, we have seen things from a spousal perspective, we have looked at lessons that God can teach us through the valley of Alzheimer’s, and we have discovered that God wants us to be part of the fulfillment of His promise, He wants us to stand up and fight! There is just one more thing that burns on my heart before this series is completed…
We didn’t really tell too many people about Rob’s diagnosis. This was, of course, because we were very aware of how people tend to react when they know someone has Alzheimer’s and we didn’t want Rob to be “labelled” and shunned. This all changed, however, when he was given the promise of restoration. We knew the good news had to be shouted to the world, and we asked our pastor if Rob could give his testimony in our church. This was very well received, and upon hearing his testimony, someone in the audience was immediately healed. As an aside, that is the power of testimony! When God does something for us, we must shout it out, for in so doing, not only may we be assisting in strengthening someone else’s faith, but our testimony may also result in someone else feeling the touch of God!
The only problem was, we were not yet seeing the fulfillment of this promise! So just how do you give a testimony of healing when you are still waiting for that healing to happen?
Through this all, Rob’s faith was rock-solid, and following the testimony at church, he continued to tell people of his healing. Of course, as I’ve previously documented, my own faith was all over the map; and as he repeated his story, I kind of cringed on the sidelines, for his overt communication difficulties, even in the telling of his story, seemed to be in contradiction to God’s promise, and I was witness to many looks of pity in the eyes of those who heard the story…
I do not judge these people. My reaction in their shoes would likely have been identical; however, it all made me think… How do I react to people who say they have been touched by God, but I can’t see the physical manifestation of the promise’s fulfillment?
There was a man in Jesus’ day. His name was Jairus, and he had a very sick daughter. His story, recorded in Mark 5, tells us that when Jairus reached out to Jesus, Jesus immediately set out to heal the man’s daughter. Unfortunately, “While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ they said. ‘Why bother the teacher anymore?'” (Mark 5:35 NIV)
The Bible doesn’t tell us how the father reacted to the news. We only see Jesus jumping in with, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5:36 NIV).
In a way, I was in the position of that desperate father, wasn’t I? We called upon Jesus to heal Rob’s Alzheimer’s, but just like Jairus’ daughter continued to get sicker, Rob’s cognition continued to slip. But just like Jesus reassured the people, He had given my husband a promise!
We know that Jairus’ daughter was still dead when Jesus finally arrived at the house, for: “When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.” (Vs. 38 NIV). In the same way, Rob’s cognition didn’t improve immediately after Jesus’ promise of restoration.
Jesus wasn’t affected by the reaction of these wailers and mourners. He told them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” (Vs.39 NIV). I believe their response was classic: “But they laughed at him.” (vs. 40a NIV). Not so with the parents. Not only did the dead girl’s parents have faith in Jesus, but they took hope in Jesus’ assurances. When Jesus invited them to come into the room where their little girl’s body lie, they complied; and as a result of their faith and the hope in Jesus’ reassurances, they were witness to a real miracle: “Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around.” (vs. 42a NIV).
The Bible does record that the parents were “completely astonished” (vs. 42b). (Wouldn’t you have been?) I, for one, take comfort in their astonishment. This indicates that although they had explicit hope in the One who could raise their daughter back to life, they were still harbouring little doubts, and despite those doubts, their daughter now lived!
What did all this mean for me?
Just this: I couldn’t let myself be influenced by the unbelief of those around me. Despite my own struggle with disbelief, I had to keep my eyes on Jesus, the Miracle-worker, the Promise-keeper. I had to never, ever give up hope that the God of the universe, the One who took time out of His busyness to pour out His love upon us by giving us the promise, that in His time the promise would be realized!
What is it you are facing? What unfulfilled promise have you been given? Take heart, give your disbelief to Jesus, keep your eyes on Him, and wait until He moves! For He surely will!
God bless you as you continue to keep your eyes upon Him, despite what people are saying, despite your own doubts, as you await the manifestation of the promised miracle. Take heart! God keeps ALL His promises!
This is the last part of the “Living With Alzheimer’s” devotional series. We invite you to view the entire series online by clicking here. If you have no access to the internet, let me know and I can forward you any missed parts to this series.
In His love,
(To access the entire “Living With Alzheimer’s” devotional series, please click here.)