by Betty Jackson
Caregiving is a sacrifice. Your loved one may be in a care facility, but you are still a caregiver with concern and expended energy. What do ill people need? What does the caretaker need? Besides the obvious physical necessities, spiritual food is required “to keep on going.” Endurance or patience is strengthened for it is “through the comfort of the scriptures, we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). However, there may be little time and energy to study in any depth.
Even brief (but frequent) studies can be powerfully beneficial to one’s spiritual health. In the previous article, I suggested that it would be wonderful to have some Bible study time with the “patient.” If the loved one is able, it is helpful to watch or listen to good sermons or Bible classes available through many outlets. There are links throughout this article for helpful topics. Some may be too long to for someone seriously ill. But perhaps you can glean something to share, without a lengthy study.
It maybe your loved one isn’t open to a formal devotional Bible study. Perhaps it is perceived as preachy, or condescending to them that they are unable to study for themselves. It may be that their ability to concentrate is hindered because of pain and weakness. After reading some scripture and articles share truths in casual conversation over a cup of coffee or tea.
There are topics that are especially encouraging and needful when one is suffering. Does God really exist? Does he care that I suffer? Why does he allow me to suffer? Be alert to subjects that are most needful to yourself and your loved one.
Sometimes things simply seem to be out of control. As death looks us in the face, a study of God as the Almighty provides reassurance. His power was demonstrated in the creation, in miracles, in providence. He is in control. He does care for we are created in his image. (See: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/327-creation-week-reflections-on-genesis-the; https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1519-created-in-the-image-of-god.)
Topics of suffering will be on your minds whether worded or not. One may puzzle over why he/she is lingering when there is an eagerness to go to be with the Lord. We wonder why suffering exists. Such a study surely will include meditation upon the suffering Christ. He died suffering, because of his love for us.
The historical reality of the resurrection of Jesus is a vital topic. Without his resurrection, nothing makes sense. His resurrection is a promise of our own (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23). There is comfort in the fact that at death we do not go out of existence for our spirits leave our bodies (James 2:26; Philippians 1:23. [Note that in Philippians 1:23 the Greek word translated “depart” is the idea of being loosed, thus loosed from the body]). It is also amazing that at the resurrection, we will be redeemed body, soul, and spirit. Our whole person will be redeemed from the consequences of sin; there will be no more tears, sickness or dying. Living with the Lord in heaven will be a peaceful place of full redemption.
Prayer must be recognized as part of your efforts to keep on a spiritual path as the needs of the flesh press you. Long prayers are not evidence of a spiritual person, necessarily. Keep yourself and your loved one close to God in prayer.
As you struggle with the limitations of the flesh while taking care of a sick person, may the Lord bless you for your willingness and determination to do this task. It may be needed by you one day. Do your best to be the influence you need to be to your loved one. You won’t regret it. If you are caring for one who has no interest in the Lord, your load is even heavier. But your service will not go unnoticed by our Father, nor others.
Never lose hope as you strive to meet each day. You may feel you have no life of your own presently, but that will not last forever. Stages of life are temporary. “Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time” (Romans 12:12; Easy To Read Version).
Perhaps you do not have the responsibilities as a caregiver at this time. I hope the previous article and this one will encourage you to take some time to help someone who is worn down by illness or caregiving. The Lord will bless you.
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