Promises in Suffering

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Alzheimer’s disease has been on my mind this past week.  On Monday I received the annual call from a university which is doing a study on my paternal family. They asked a few questions to check on the status of my memory.  It only took about 15 minutes, and I came through with flying colors, as expected.  Alzheimer’s doesn’t usually affect my family until approximately age 80, so I’ve got a few more decades to go. 

Both of my grandmothers died with Alzheimer’s.  My paternal grandmother was one of nine children. Six of them developed Alzheimer’s.  My maternal grandmother was one of three sisters who lived past age 20.  Two of them also succumbed.  A 2:1 ratio is not good. 

Two years ago my mother’s sister died with the disease, and now my father’s sister has been diagnosed with it.  We watch for signs in family members in order to get them the help they need as soon as possible. 

Alzheimer’s disease causes the loss of memory.  Completely. Eventually those with the disease lose the ability to navigate familiar surroundings, eat, go to the restroom, or any of the other things we take for granted.  Both my grandmothers ended up in the fetal position before they died.  It’s a cruel disease.

Assuming that no cure is found within the next few decades, odds are good that I will get it, too.  Yet, here, now, I can rest with that knowledge because God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)  Regardless of what goes on, He will be with me all the way.  Even if my brain becomes so gnarled that I can’t remember Him.

God says in Isaiah 49:16, Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”  Though I may forget, He will not.

No doubt, when a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s comes, there will be much distress and many tears.  That’s when the body of Christ comes alongside to remind one another of His promises.

The forgetfulness will last but a moment compared to eternal life with Him.  John 3:16 tells me, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Then we will all proclaim together, when all the tears are gone, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”  (Revelation 5:13)

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Posted on April 3, 2013, in All except books of Bible, Suffering (Depression, Alzheimers, Illness) and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thank you for sharing your family’s story of “struggle” with this most selfish of diseases–if you ever look at the “about me” bio on my home page, you will see that I retired from teaching as my dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s– I thought it best that I should be able to adjust my time and be flexible as he may need me to be. I’m glad I’ve found your site–I love your story about Chester as I just wrote about “my best friend” yesterday–Percy.
    Thank you for sharing your faith with me and with all of the other folks out there–Peace and Grace—Julie

  2. I’d just read your “About” section when I saw your comment here. Your willingness to leave your job in order to care for your dad is admirable. He is blessed to have you as his daughter. Reach out for support as you need it.
    I’m looking forward to reading about Percy!
    Blessings,
    Elizabeth

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