As most of you know, I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 4 years ago. I was only 60 at the time, and since then, I’ve progressed rapidly to what is considered a “moderate” cognitive decline. This has been devastating to us as a family, and were it not for the promise of healing God gave me right at the beginning, I don’t know how we would be able to go on.
I will admit that even with the promise, it is easy enough to get discouraged. Oh, there have been times when my cognition was better, and we’ve thanked God for beginning the healing process. But these have to date always been followed by times when it just dropped off more and more. Sometimes I’m even tempted to think that God meant I would be healed in Heaven rather than on Earth.
My cognitive difficulties have covered a broad spectrum of areas; but perhaps the area that is the most bothersome to me is communication. I can’t think of the simplest word, and I swear my family has started peppering their speech with Greek, because I usually have no idea what they are talking about. My wife may be pointing to the fridge, but what comes out of her mouth is certainly not “fridge” to my ears! My writing has been affected as well, and it is only by the grace of God, along with word-finding help and editing from my wife, that these devotionals can come to be. As a result, it is incredibly frustrating for me to have to take part in a conversation or a phone call, and I tend to stand back quietly and let my wife do the talking.
Imagine my distress Easter Sunday of last year when I was left alone with someone I hardly knew…
My wife had packed up Easter dinner and put it in a cooler, and we had gone to visit our son in another town. We planned our trip to arrive in time for church, and because it was still during the COVID crisis, we were planning on watching the church service online. Our son’s girlfriend was also there for the day to celebrate with us. She is a beautiful girl who has a special talent for making people feel comfortable; nonetheless, when my wife and son went to their respective cars to retrieve things and I was assigned the task of helping her set up the electronics for the online church service, I couldn’t stop the feeling of panic from rising. What if she asked me something? What if I didn’t understand her? What if she needed an answer and I couldn’t give her one? What would she think of my total inability to communicate?
And so it was with great fear and trepidation that I followed her into the living room with the computer and projector in hand, whispering a prayer as I went. To my relief, instead of trying to start up a conversation, she began playing a video she had found on YouTube from Belgium. As it turned out, it was actually a video of the dike in my hometown of Ostend! The same dike I had ridden my bike along as a child, running beside the same beach I had so often played upon! I was absolutely thrilled.
But then things turned sour. She began asking me questions about my hometown, about the dike and the beach… Oh no! My wife wasn’t there to answer them for me! What would I do?
Swallowing to hide my panic, I breathed a simple prayer: “God, help me!”
And the words flowed freely.
She then began asking me about the languages spoken in Belgium, and to my utter amazement, I was able to speak to her in both French and Dutch, as well as English!
It felt so good to not have to struggle to find my words, and it felt equally as good to be able to understand her questions.
God truly came through for me that day. God hears and answers our prayers, and He does so at just the right times. But why not? Doesn’t He promise to do just that when we ask? “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7 NIV). Could it be that part of my problem is that I simply don’t think to ask?
I don’t know when He will heal me completely. It may not be in my time, but the Bible teaches: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Eccl. 3:1 NIV).
Perhaps what I need to do, more than anything else, is to ask for His help … ALL the time!
In His love,
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries