As a caregiver of a loved-one with dementia, you are walking through the Valley of Dementia. It is a long expedition requiring much effort on your part. You may be feeling external pressures that nearly break you. In your despair you may ask God, “Why have you allowed this disease to slowly destroy my loved-one?” Or maybe when the load is especially heavy, the question will be more personal, “Why have you placed this burden upon me?”
It is important to realize we live in a fallen world. It is a world different than God intended for us. Illness and death entered the garden because of the sin of Adam. This is what Paul wrote to the church in Rome.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way, death came to all people, because all sinned. Romans 5:12 NIV
So, you are not alone. Every human on earth shares the result of sin. We will all have sickness, and we will all die. The apostle Matthew recorded these words of Jesus:
For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:45 NASB
In other words, good and bad things happen to good and bad people alike. That is why bad things happen to good people. Well, that doesn’t sound very encouraging does it? It probably doesn’t make you feel better to be reminded that we are all going to experience trials and difficult times. It seems especially unfair to see bad people live seemingly blessed lives while good people suffer. But, Paul did offer these encouraging words:
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Romans 5:17 NIV
Because of one man, Jesus, believers have a promise of abundant grace in this life. He will supply you with what it takes to get through the tough times. Furthermore, we can live a righteous life in a fallen world with the promise of eternal life someday.
You might think this is hard to understand. Why is it so mysterious? God seems to transmit on FM while we receive on AM. It is difficult to understand His ways. In Isaiah 55:8-9 NASB the scripture says:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways” declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
God’s ways are spiritual, and we are stuck in the physical world. We function daily in the dirty, messy, confusing, mortal life trying to understand God’s ways. A farmer with a hog confinement barn once told me, “You can’t check on the hogs dressed in your Sunday suit. The stink stays with you.” In the same way, we have the “stink” of the whole world around us. We live in it. But, the spiritual world doesn’t stink.
God dwells in the spiritual world, and His measure of us is spiritual. Someday your dementia-impaired loved-one will slip from this filthy world, and they will put on a clean, white robe and join the congregation of the righteous. Then they will better understand God’s ways while they await your arrival.
© 2018 Ronald Milburn