June 13, 2010

To Live is Christ — one day at a time

My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in her mid-seventies. The symptoms showed a few years earlier. She was a Christian, and I’m certain that her attitude toward her decline had its origins in the Holy Spirit. She was upset at the diagnosis, but after a day of wrestling with it, she said, “I suppose a lot worse could happen to me than losing my memory.”

She retained her sense of humor and her ability to accept the challenges of her life right to the end. I’ve often said that I want to be like her when I grow up, yet in saying that, I wonder if the same dementia will be my fate.

As it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
When I read this verse with that in mind, and with all that I’ve been writing about the past few days concerning this verse, I understand even more why God should be in charge of what I know about the future. Otherwise, knowing what will happen could be a burden as well as a delight.

The delight is that He does reveal good things. I know I will spend eternity with Him. I know that the struggle with sin and with the challenges of life will end. Revelation 21:3-4 says, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

A little further on in Revelation, God promises a river of life, healing of the nations, and no more curse. I will see the face of Jesus, and I will be like Him. What could be more wonderful!

The burden is the time between now and then. Aging is not for sissies. Getting old brings with it physical and mental challenges. Some go into their later years with good health in general, yet aches and pains because their bodies are wearing out. Others have memory challenges. My father had TIA’s or a type of stroke that took little chunks of both physical and mental strength.

My eye cannot see, nor does my mind know what lies ahead for me. Looking back, I’m glad that I didn’t know ahead of time what difficulties I have faced already. That would have been too much to carry. Getting out of bed in the morning would have been a challenge, never mind living in worried anticipation.

Yet I wonder. Will I go the same route as my mother? Or my father? Will my aging bring loss of memory and the inability to do anything that I now enjoy? I do not want to live now in anxiety about the future. However, that anxiety creeps in now and then. I’ll do the sensible thing and have my doctor test for various things. Medical science is constantly developing new ways to lessen the impact of the ailments of aging. Yet at the same time, the rest of that verse in 1 Corinthians is my anchor. It says that although I cannot see the future, it has been prepared for me by God. It speaks of my love for Him, but I know that all His plans are rooted in His love for me.

What then shall I say to these things? If God is for me, who can be against me? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for me, how shall He not with Him also freely give me all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for me. Who shall separate me from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things I am more than a conqueror through Him who loved me. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31–39, personalized)

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